"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela.
In Nkwanta the Ghana Education Project is trying to live up to Mandela's ideal. the charity aims to help the whole community to a strong, heathy and economically viable future through education and training. We work closely with other charities, NGOs and the local regional government to ensure that all our efforts not only achieve the maximum positive effect but are also sustainable.
The School for Girls
Our latest and most ambitious capital project is the new Girls' School, which will address the inequalities in education for women in the Nkwanta region. In its Platform for Action document the United Nations said: Literacy of women is an important key to improving health, nutrition and education in the family. Investing in formal and non-formal education and training for girls and women, with its exceptionally high social and economic return, has proved to be one of the best means of achieving sustainable development and economic growth
The school now well on its way to completion. The main buildings are in place, on land donated by the local community of Krontang.
Work has begun on ceilings, electrics and plumbing inside the buildings, thanks to the generosity of the Ghana International Bank. Other internal work such as doors and frames, floors, and painting walls will be completed as funding becomes available. It is hoped that the school will be up and running shortly. We've already received donations of classroom equipment from schools in the UK, which will be shipped to Ghana. We would be most grateful for further donations of school furniture and equipment.
We're also fundraising for a science block which will be an essential part of the school. The foundations for this building are already in place.
Once opened, we will be offering places to local girls, who would not otherwise have the opportunity to learn. We will be actively seeking for sponsorship for these girls to cover six years of education.
The Kyabobo Centre
The Kyabobo Centre stands as a fantastic example of how dreams and plans can be put into place by dedicated fundraising and voluntary support.
The centre offers a venue for training children and adults in basic crafts such as weaving, pottery, carpentry and painting. The local District Assembly is working to promote the Kyabobo National Park as a strongly viable tourist attraction, which will in turn create an outlet for these crafts.
It is also a centre for sports activities for the whole community. Currently, none of the schools in the region have any sports facilities.
The Centre has an important role as a conference centre, and is used as a hired venue for local concerns and as a location for training courses such as health & hygiene, nutrition, etc.
Barclays Bank (Ghana) has sponsored the construction of a secure fence around the site. This gives greater security and has allowed us to take in rescued animals which roam in a comparatively free environment.
The Kyabobo Centre is the only facility of its kind in Ghana, outside the capital city.
The Guest House
An important addition to the Kyabobo Centre, where paying visitors can stay and see for themselves the changes occurring in the region. It provides valuable revenue for the centre.
Supporting Local Schools
The first step in providing education is to have trained, knowledgeable and inspired teachers equipped with the resources to support them. We have been working hard to assist the teachers in the region, 52% of whom are not trained.
We run frequent workshops for teachers in as many fields as possible. To date these have included science, English, literacy craft, personal development and literacy, with supplied materials to encourage teachers to use a variety of teaching methods.
One of our earliest initiatives was to build and equip a Teachers' Resource Centre in Nkwanta which now provides educational worksheet, books and materials, covering a wide range of subjects across the curriculum. We have shipped several containers filled with donations from schools and idividuals in the UK which have enabled us not only to equip this centre but also distribute text books, stationery and educational tools such as calculators to local schools.
Ghanaian Children are taught in English at secondary level. In any class in Nkwanta there may be up to 7 different languages spoken, few parents speak English and many are completely illiterate. The schools offer the only opportunity to learn English and make progress.
GEP has produced a bank of stories written by school children for use in class. As there are few suitable books for reading this resource has been invaluable. For the first time in Nkwanta, young children have reading material in simple English, that they can relate to and enjoy- and of course those students who have contributed to the packs can take pride in seeing their work reproduced
Working with a team of experienced Ghanaian teachers, we have produced lesson plans for the whole English syllabus and are currently working to do the same with the science syllabus. These resources are of great support to the many untrained teachers in the regional schools.
Our work to achieve basic English literacy is already enabling the children of Nkwanta to participate in education at secondary school level with a greater degree of confidence.
The Nkwanta Award
The Nkwanta award scheme was instigated in 2005. It is based on the Duke of Edinburgh Award, a UK based scheme for young people which aims to develop the potential of every individual.
Participants are required
- to take part in some form of sport such as volleyball, soccer, netball or table tennis
- to develop a new skill such as carpentry, batik work and basket work. This involves working with local crafts people and develops community involvement in the scheme.
- to take part in an expedition - this usually means a camping trip to the Kyabobo NATIONAL Park, Although the park is nearby, without the support of GEP, few children would have the opportunity to stay in the park and learn about their own natural surroundings. The children undergo some training with wildlife OFFICERSto learn about national parks. There is little understanding of conservation. Wood is scarce and meat is expensive. People keep animals as an insurance to sell if they need money rather than to eat.
Every child also learns about their community and how it is managed. They learn about Police work, Forestry, Social Welfare, Environmental Health All the children are encouraged to consider ideas for the development of their district in the future.
The award has proved very popular and achieved considerable success, with hundreds of children taking part.
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FAO: Richard Tribe
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