Doors to the future – educational activities at schools and for informal female groups in Shama, Ghana
The project was carried out from 9 June to 31 December 2011 in the Shama district, Ghana. The party responsible for project execution was One World Association, and the local partner (the organisation hosting the volunteer) was Integrated Action for Development Initiatives (IADI).
The general aim of the project is the improvement of women’s situation in the Shama region, Ghana. One of the aims of the Shama region educational strategy is increasing the threshold of passed exams from 30 percent to 50 percent. Poor performance is tied to poor English skills among the students. The volunteer, cooperating with the local authorities, co-created reading and writing clubs in English at 18 secondary schools. Free classes in the clubs, conducted in an informal atmosphere, became an attractive educational offer for the youth. The teachers from the schools where reading and writing clubs were opened, took part in a 24-hour training session in how to approach the youth, informal teaching of youth, and interactive English teaching methods. The teachers prepared action plans for their clubs. The volunteer prepared and conducted the training session in cooperation with the Formal Education Department in the Shama region. The Department chose the schools and teachers to participate in the project.
The volunteer worked with trained teachers, offering them individual assistance (club visitations, supervision of classes, talking to teachers about the problems and challenges, mutual solution search, help with preparing attractive syllabi for students). The matter of particular focus during individual consultations was the situation of girls and ways to provide them with special support.
In the villages, where the level of illiteracy is higher, the volunteer held consultations with the teachers conducting reading and writing lessons for informal groups of illiterate women. The classes were organised by the authorities of the Shama district, in cooperation with the Informal Education Department.
One of the project’s aims was the support for the local leaders education process in the Shama district in order to increase the participation of women in social life, the level of which is low in Ghana. The volunteer prepared and conducted three 24-hour training modules (72 hours in all) aimed at leader competence development among junior high school girls. 19 girls from 15 schools took part in the training.
The volunteer prepared and conducted 25 hours of classes, in which 16 multiplicators took part – teachers conducting lessons for illiterate women and non-governmental organisation workers working with women.
Over the course of the training, the women honed their leadership and entrepreneurial skills in a difficult economic and educational milieu. A manual outline for multiplicators was designed. The manual for multiplicators was published in 50 copies, and was also available in the digital format. Under the educational framework, a book entitled Women’s Voices: Ghana, Guatemala, Poland was written. It was a joint undertaking of the volunteers taking part in the Volunteering Polish Aid project, coordinated by the One World Association in 2011. The aim of this educational initiative was to bring Poles closer to global reality problems, presenting the cultural and social lives of women in various parts of the world.
The publication, in a unique way, informs the Polish society about the situation of women living in Ghana. It is a remarkable record of their dreams and aspirations. It describes how they view developmental cooperation. Thanks to the publication, a wide spectrum of readers – be it of paperback or digital versions – familiarised themselves with everyday struggles of Ghana women.
The volunteer conducted five interviews with chosen women from Ghana (different ages, different education), who talked about their life, their dreams and development prospects for Ghana – as seen through their eyes. The women also talked about their understanding of developmental aid and what kind of help they were after. The women’s stories were recorded on Dictaphones, written down in the original language (English), authorised by the authors, who agreed to publication of their stories and a portrait picture. Translated, redacted and graphically polished, the women’s stories were published in the second chapter of the publication titled Women’s Voices: Ghana. Guatemala. Poland.
The publication was issued in 500 copies, and it is also available in the digital format on the website of the One World Association and on the www.opowiadaczeswiata.org.pl website (open Creative Commons Polska 3.0. licence).