Over the past couple of weeks we have visited Berekuso primary school and Berekuso junior high school to deliver our curriculum. Berekuso is a small community about two hours outside of Accra where the majority of adults work in agriculture. The school's modest classrooms are arranged in two long parallel rows separated by a grassy field in the middle. Headmistress Margaret explained to us that teen pregnancy is a big problem in this community and last year alone five girls (one fifth grader, one sixth grader, and three junior high students) dropped out of school after becoming pregnant.
We have so many great photos from these schools that we decided to share them in one giant post. We hope you enjoy them and get a better idea of what our program looks like on the ground.
Above: Eva teaches her first Power2Girls class to the Berekuso fourth graders.
Above: Adam and Eva work with the Berekuso fifth and sixth graders.
Above: Joyce filled in for Eva to teach Berekuso's junior high students along with Adam.
We are pumped to announce that next Wednesday, October 12, we will be participating in the Day of the Girl Child Expo hosted by USAID Ghana at theUS Embassy Ghana . It is an honor to be included in the event which will also feature organizations like Camfed, Girls Education Initiative of Ghana,Levers in Heels, TECHAiDE, World Education, and threesixtyGh. We look forward to sharing our story with these organizations as well as learning from them.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of excitement, overcoming challenges, and long hours of work. Between meeting with communities and working with our staff to adapt our curriculum and develop our monitoring and evaluation plan, we have fallen behind on keeping you all updated on what we are doing.
Since our last posting, we hired an amazing staff: Eva, Adam, Joyce, and Sam (you can read more about them on our “Meet our Staff” blogs). They have been working diligently with us to take the UNICEF developed sugar-daddy awareness program and localize it for Ghanaian youth. This means making big decisions like determining how to approach the topics of sex and condom use with elementary and junior high students, as well as small decisions like figuring out that it is more appropriate to use the word “age-mate” when referring to a classmate or peer.
Last week we finalized the list of schools that we will be working in. Over the next month, we will be visiting 7 schools in 3 communities to deliver our curriculum to more than 1000 students. We chose these schools and communities for two reasons:
- We have established local partners who work in these areas. These partners have been vital to us and, as a new NGO with limited time and funding, we could not have done it without them. They have helped introduce us to the head mistresses, assemblymen, school district directors, and, in the case of Berekuso, the Chief.
- There is a need. We recently received updated data from Ghana Health Service stating that older men in Ghana are 9X more likely than younger men to be infected with HIV. In addition, because of the power imbalance between a young girl and an older man, the girl is unlikely to be able to negotiate to use a condom with her partner, leading to higher risk of HIV and pregnancy. In a focus group we conducted at Berekuso, 4 of the 7 junior high school girls we spoke with knew age-mates who were dating older men, whose ages ranged from 24 to 48. This is the reason we are here.
The need to a provide sugar-daddy awareness program was confirmed for us last week when we had our first PTA meetings at Berekuso primary and junior high schools and Fidelity Juvenile School. While many parents agreed that sugar-daddies, HIV, and teen pregnancy is a problem in their communities, most said they did not talk with their kids about it. We hope that by providing our curriculum to the parents and teachers as well as the students, we can change that.
Today marks the beginning of #GlobalGoals week, a week dedicated to the promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals. In honor of this and to show our dedication to #GlobalGoal number 5, Gender Equality, we decided to make a video. Enjoy!
The Ghana team is now complete with Emily’s arrival on Tuesday night. We hit the ground running on Wednesday morning with a meeting with Grace Amponsah, founder of the Ghanaian NGO A New Dawn and graduate of Ashesi University. Grace is the newest member of our board of directors and we will be partnering with A New Dawn to help us mobilize communities in the Berekuso area.
Check back here for more on Grace and A New Dawn. She has agreed to be a guest blogger for us later this month. For now, check her out on facebook.
Applications for our two change agent positions have been rolling in and we began the interview process this week. It’s been exciting to meet with many young Ghanaians who are equally passionate about empowering girls. They are all very talented and accomplished in their own right and it is going to be a tough decision.