Education: B.Sc. (Agriculture),Graduate Diploma (Management Studies), Diploma (Credit Management)
Please describe your vision of a world that works for everyone.
I am not an advocate of an egalitarian society. However, I believe that every man in this world must live a decent life. Every man needs to be resourced to make a meaningful contribution to this world for the benefit of him or her and the bigger society. I want to see a world where people who are strong in the sense of economy, rise above their selves and create opportunities to empower the weak and resource them to be able to make positive impact on their lives and the community within which they live. A world where the only difference between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ will lie only in one’s own deliberate attempt not to stretch his arm to grasp the opportunities that lie arms’ reached.
What do you see as the most pressing problems facing the world today?
Mankind has never been kind to the earth that does all things for us. I have just expressed my desire to see the rich extend helping hand to the poor. Providing resources to empower them. If the poor is resourced, the world’s two most pressing problems according to my perspective; environmental degradation and food shortage will be problems of the past. The suburb I reside has a very serious environmental problem. Houses have been built in water ways. There is severe flooding when it rains. People lose their personal belongings and human and livestock lose their lives. There is no refuse dump and domestic wastes are thrown about anyhow without any care to the environment. The problem, I believe replicates itself in the entire city of Kumasi, the second capital of Ghana, the entire nation, Ghana, Africa and many, many parts of the world. The recent flooding in parts of Ghana and some parts of Brazil and Mexico are the few I can mention offhand. E-wastes from advanced countries are becoming one of the worst causes of environmental degradation. Condemned, faulty and outmoded electronic gadgets are dumped into Ghana and it is so in many third-world countries. These electronic wastes are non-biodegradable and the countries that receive them do not have the facilities to recycle them. The forests are being destroyed without any deliberate attempt to resuscitate them. The soil has never been spared, yet we expect it to supply food for the ever increasing global population. I watched a news item not too long ago on a private television station in Ghana. It was amazing to see large number of children suffering from malnourishment. A region in Ghana was going through food crisis. Children had no food to eat. Women were in a struggle to look for food for their children. In 2007/2008, there was a global food crisis. The aftermath is pending and experts still believe that without mankind’s kindness to the environment sooner than later worst form of food shortage is imminent and many lives will be lost as a result.
How do you feel these problems could best be solved?
The world’s deliberate commitment to these problems is the only way to address them. As I have indicated previously, the developed nations must always be there to support the developing nations. It is amazing to know that those who suffer most from the harm caused by environmental degradation are not the worst culprit of this wrong doing. Countries who move to poor countries to mine or drill oil must be regulated by the host nations and international environmental laws, so that they put in planned effort to make sure that environment is protected. There should be concerted effort by nations across the world to educate their citizens on the need to be kind to the earth.
The problem of food shortage and hunger demand multi-national interventions. It is shocking countries that have vast arable lands cannot produce enough food to feed themselves. It is high time leaders of this world begin to appreciate the need to encourage mechanization and environmentally friendly methods of farming. Technical and infrastructural support should be given to nations which are less endowed by countries that abound in these resources. Rich nations should give financial support to developing nations so that they can subsidize agriculture. This will motivate the farmers who are mostly peasant and subsistent to produce more. Their produce can compete well globally and this will keep them in the business of tilling the land.
I am Mark Afriyie, a senior high school teacher in a purely girls school and a graduate of University of Cape Coast, Ghana. I graduated in 2003 and holds Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture. I have since been teaching. I am the eighth child of my parents.
Though not a trained teacher, I really enjoy teaching. I never thought of becoming a teacher whiles in school, however, my six years experience in teaching has taught me one thing. That teaching could be godly work; it gives one the opportunity to serve as a role model, a leader with many protégé (the students). Though the profession is not rewarding, I can count a number of students who have passed through my hands and are well pruned, tutored, mentored and well resourced to face the challenges of life. This in itself is motivating indeed.
I have not had the opportunity to lead a major group or organization. In instances where I was selected as a leader, I was barely known as one. Fear, fright and shyness were the only tools I knew in leadership. I was a sectional leader in basic school and an organizing secretary of an old students association at the university. I am glad to say that teaching has helped improve my leadership and interpersonal skills to some degree.
I have a lot of interest in food and environmental issues. My background in Agriculture brought me closer to these issues. Now these two issues have become global cases for daily discussions. I read a lot and listen to people who hold much authority in these subject areas.
I have a goal and my goal is to teach. I know that that is what I can do best. May be in the form of advocacy. Having the platform, big or small to advocate for better care of the soil and the environment as a whole. I wish to take further courses in Agriculture and Environmental sciences to make me better informed on these subjects. This will make me fulfill the dream of going back to my village and leading the subsistent farmers to learn how best we can manage the soil (land) for sustainable agriculture; the dream of leading my neighbours to clear the streams of filth, remove choked gutters, talk to people to stop dumping rubbish into streams.
Back in the University, I undertook a project on cassava processing into “gari”, an important staple food obtained from pressed and roasted cassava dough. Farmers and processors had doubt about the suitability of a new high yielding cassava variety for processing into “gari”. They believed the cassava contained a lot of water and would not give them high yield of gari. I had a project to compare the two varieties. I practically went through the processing stages with the processors and we finally came to the findings that the new cassava variety would give higher amount of “gari” than the old one. Now the cassava has been adopted on a very high scale in communities around the University of Cape Coast and the entire nation.
I enjoy reading African novels and lately motivational books. I find articles on environmental and food issues very interesting to read. I watch African movies and Hollywood movies of no or few violent scenes. Investigative or detective movies will do.