From A Broken Home to Being the Inspiration of Many in Nandom; Meet Jacob Kuutuome.
Jacob Kuutuome was born to Mr. and Mrs. Kuutuome Tang and Marciana respectively in Kumasi and spent all his early childhood development and education in his hometown Nandom, in the Upper West region of the Republic of Ghana.
Owing to her mother being a government worker with eminent transfers from one school to the other, he attended many public schools ranging from St. Francis of Assisi Day Nursery, Jirapa in the early 80’s through to Puffien D/A Primary, St. Paul’s Primary Schools both in Nandom District and subsequently had his Junior High School education at the St. Andrews Junior High School, also in Nandom. He further had his secondary school education at Nandom senior high school. From there, he went to Takoradi Polytechnic to read HND in Purchasing and Supply and graduated with a first class. At the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, he read BSc. Logistics and Supply Chain Management and subsequently had MPhil Logistics and Supply Chain Management from the same university.
He is currently married to Regina Kuupol with two children, a boy and a girl. He is currently working full time with St. Michael’s Hospital as the head of procurement and supplies and also a part-time lecturer with St. Margaret University in Kumasi. He also lectures at the KNUST Business School Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport program and a lecturer with same university business school weekend programs currently assigned to the Koforidua center.
He is also a social entrepreneur, founding Nandom Youth Development Organization (NYDO Ghana), a youth empowerment and development organization headquartered at Nandom in the Upper West region of Ghana.
Growing up from a typical catholic environment, he had developed the interest to be a religious brother or a catholic priest because of the respect and reverence he had for people in such calling at the time.
That dream never materialized due to change of environment and other circumstances he found himself in when he left the dominant catholic environment and travelled to the southern part of Ghana which was cosmopolitan in nature in pursue of further education and decent career.
“I realized that I had a lot to do in life outside the religious life judging from the opportunities and career path I had chosen for myself and also my passion to serve the poor and vulnerable”, he revealed.
Service to Community
Before he founded NYDO Ghana, he had been actively involved in community development issues especially in the areas of education and health where there are serious gaps in terms of development and access. He facilitated scholarships for young students in his community from the basic to the university level. Some of the scholarships were self-funded whiles others were secured from very benevolent people and institutions that he spoke with. He also donated teaching and learning materials to schools in his community through partnerships with individuals and organizations. He recently, through his own organization, facilitated the sponsorship of the training of nearly 3000 young people in Nandom community on entrepreneurship and other skills that will make them become innovative and create their own livelihood.
His organization in June this year organized and executed one of the biggest health screening and education programs in Nandom which saw the screening and education of over 3000 people on the deadly hepatitis B and C virus which are seriously affecting and causing most deaths in his community.
Jacob’s motivation stems from his passion for development and supporting the poor and vulnerable.
“I find it extremely difficult to refuse any request for help from people even to the extent of sacrificing my comfort and convenience just to ensure that my fellow human being is okay and kicking,” he said.
“Of what use will it be when you have what it takes to help others and you keep that talent and blessing from God to yourself”, he asked.
“That will be sheer greed and God will punish and take it from you in a way that you wouldn’t understand”, he added.
Jacob’s immediate goal is to acquire a PhD that will prepare the grounds for full time academic work. He wishes to also professionalize most of his activities by way of joining, through examination and certification, most of the professional bodies like CIPS, CILT, etc.
Jacob shared with us what he considered as the lowest point in his life:
“Personally, the lowest moment in my life was when I was torn between my mum and dad separating as husband and wife with me and my future on the line. The reality was so devastating that I was going to live an incomplete home with all its associated challenges especially because I was still very young and needed both parents care. Who to now live with was a problem because my dad offered security and mentoring and my mum on the other hand was the one polishing whatever coaching my dad was giving me as well as discipline and my Christian faith”, he recalled.
“Here I was with big dreams of becoming a priest or a reverend brother. By this incident, that dream could not be achieved, triggered by change in environment and other issues and I had to move on from being a religious brother or priest”, he said.
“Going forward in my career and passion driven to social entrepreneurship, the lowest level of my career has to do with some politicians and very senior citizens in my community who attempted to sabotage my good intentions for my community and seeing me as a threat to their political ambitions or other reasons best known to them. They therefore, frustrated and committed a lot of energy into aborting my programs. This was an incident that almost let me give up my social entrepreneurship works,” he added.
“Politics in Ghana and Africa unfortunately have been misread and misunderstood in our society to the extent that, we are failing and losing our sense of objectivity and communal ownership of projects and other developmental activities. If you want to engage in any development venture in the community without the politicians, their cronies will find a way of stopping or frustrating the successful execution of the program, even NGO programs are politicized which is not helping our people.
“Some politicians want all the glory accorded them but sadly they do not want to invest in the people and when someone is trying to do it too, trouble and you see all kinds of political oppositions tagged on you. This really make me sick and wanting to give up”, he lamented.
People Who Influenced his life
Positive thinking, dedicated, hardworking and successful people across the globe inspire and motivate him to work hard in life, he revealed.
“I always tell myself that, if these people are doing well in their respective careers and businesses why can’t I get them. I just have to learn about how they made it and align with my capacity and talents and also create something of my own and move with it with all the lessons and difficulties that such moves come with”, the young entrepreneur said.
He added that he does not envy people who have made it in life but rather try very hard to emulate their shining and good examples to better himself.
Advice for the youth
Jacob Kuutuome had some advice for the young people who wish to walk in his stead.
“It (life) has not been a smooth one. The path to success is bumpy and curvy with lots of humps and if you do not take care, you won’t survive it. Only observe, learn the good deeds and align that to yourself and your capacity and hey, you will even rock and vibrate harder than I am and for me, that’s the most important thing”, he said.
“If you are copying somebody, you don’t copy everything because your situation and capacity are not the same. Copy what suit your situation and environment and move with that. The road to success is not easy. It requires hard work, sacrifice, and determination and above all, you need God almighty and his Word for direction, anything short of these, trust me you are not going anywhere with your best of ideas stacked in your head,” he concluded. Morning