Catching up with Cedric Dzelu of Ghana: Mentors and the YMCA Movement

Cedric Dzelu of Ghana is an accomplished young leader in the YMCA Movement. Last year, the Change Agent graduate spoke eloquently at COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland, the annual United Nations climate summit. 

He has not slowed down a bit, as he continues to represent the voices of young people on climate action and more. In September 2022 he was honoured in Ghana with a plaque and citation as the Africa Role Model in Youth Development and Climate Change by the Young Professionals and Youth Coalition. Additionally, he serves as the Executive Director of Hope Performance Tennis, a nonprofit tennis organisation for the young people of Ghana and the sub-region focusing on tennis performance and academic excellence. In addition, he also is the Director of Administration and Finance at the African Youth Commission, an independent Pan-African youth network founded by youth leaders to foster synergy amongst young people and youth organisations. 

He recently reflected on how current and past leadership at Ghana has shaped his path and what the YMCA means for him. 

Cedric with current YMCA Ghana Executive Director/National General Secretary Koby Nketia and former President Reynolds Kissiedu.

Mentorship

Current YMCA Ghana Executive Director/National General Secretary Koby Nketia and former President Reynolds Kissiedu were instrumental in getting him involved in the YMCA at an early age. 

“They have been great mentors to me on my YMCA journey”, he said, as he was appointed an S2C (Subject 2 Citizen) Ambassador of the African Alliance and then as a Change Agent and global leader. “They have collectively provided me with training and leadership opportunities which have enabled me to grow in a leadership capacity and better serve young people”. 

The YMCA Movement

Cedric said he became a YMCA member in 2010 after being asked “repeatedly” to join. There, he found a Movement with ‘space for my aspirations and the capacity to provide me with the support system I need as an emerging leader to contribute to society”.              

Today he is the vice president of the Prampram Branch of YMCA Ghana. In addition, he serves the Greater Accra Regional YMCA and YMCA Ghana in various voluntary capacities ranging from mentoring and training youth leaders and championing the implementation of projects and programs.

“I have no doubt that I shall be a member of the YMCA for life”, he said. 

Favourite YMCA moment

He cited a time in Senegal in 2014 at his first YMCA international training as an S2C Ambassador and Change Agent as a precious memory. 

Speaking at COP 26, Cedric said he carried with him the dreams and voices of young people from Africa.

“It was here I appreciated diversity fully, met great minds from different African countries and was inspired by our trainer Gil Harper, who said, ‘One single event could change your life forever, so my dear Change Agents, take this moment seriously’. I was determined to make the Senegal event the defining moment, and it has been so far”, he said. 

Cedric added the training in Senegal coincided with the YMCA Africa Ordinary General Meeting, and here the YMCA ‘shined a light’ on his ability as a public speaker, writer and negotiator. “I look back with nostalgia on this event, and I realise how lucky I have been”, he said. 

With the United Nations’ International Volunteer Day celebration on 5 December 2022, Cedric is calling on all young people to consider volunteering their time or skill to causes that serve the greater good of society. That practice, he said, is what has brought him onto the global stage.