It is 2012 when I meet Ibrahim Mustapha at a Youth Leadership Conference. Mustapha was one of the volunteering student team members. I was there to facilitate a 3 days “Social Business Challenge” for the 300 high school students.
Sometimes you just remember someone. Not because what he/she said or how much he/she was in your direct environment. You remember someone because of the silent and consistent contribution to the success of something. The silence of someone who is loyal, trustful, responsible, dedicated, doing exactly what is needed in every moment and focussed on serving the common goal.
Servant leadership. That is how I remember Mustapha’s contribution at the leadership conference. He is a great example of ‘hidden potential’. Because beyond the above characteristics, he has grown to be a public & motivational speaker in only a few years. And he is author of a book about public speaking, that is supporting people to built their self-confidence in doing it. A fear for public speaking is one of the main challenges many (young) people face, because they were never encouraged to speak up and/or got punished if they gave the wrong answer in school.
Today, I was on ‘a journey of discovery’ together with Mustapha. Visiting his ICT center where he supports young people in developing ICT skills. Being a guest in a radio program around the topic “How to sustain a business after starting it”.
And we had a great conversation around Mustapha’s vision towards the future. How he is working towards his own brand as a motivational speaker. How he recently organised an online community of 100 speakers accross Africa, who are now uniting themselves to use ‘speaking’ in driving change on the continent. Amongst others.
You should see the sparkle in his eyes when Mustapha talks about his drivers to do all what he is doing. And how his eyes lighten up even more when he talks and simultaneously seems to feel and see the potential that lies ahead of him. The potential to really transform on a bigger scale together with like-minded people in Africa and accross the world, using online platforms.
It is so great to be able to follow and re-connect to the young people who crossed my path in all these years in Ghana. My motivaton to move together with them is growing stronger by the year, because I witness from close by how they thrive, once they are touched and feel their full potential.
These days, I follow the discussions about the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. I support it, because we need a worldwide, common focus towards the future. A focus that is carried and shared by all world leaders.
But it’s also knowing that bulks of money will go to the old systems, to big organisations, doing big projects including a lot of office work abroad, doing lots of politcs and power games, doing lots of talking without concrete results.
I cannot help but to compare the image of all the world leaders talking about it for days, with the so many unknown young people on the ground in Africa, just doing it during these same days. Young, talented and motivated entrepreneurial leaders who need so little to realise so much in practice in a very short period of time.
Who know exactly what is needed for sustainable development. Who are setting up their own succesful initiatives without direct access to financial support. Who are dealing with any challenge they face, consistent as they are in contributing to make the world a better place for all of us. Who are role models reaching out to new and other young people in their society.
It is people like Mustapha I believe in, if we talk about worldwide and sustainable development. He needs so little to inspire and turn so many lives into the right direction: the call of their heart.
Hopefully the world leaders will hear the voices of Africa’s Mustapha & co, finally listen to their own hearts and for once and for all do something useful with all these calls, coming from bright minds, wise hearts and a strong desire to act accordingly.
Follow the call – Ibrahim Mustapha