When the COVID 19 pandemic hit in March 2020 and schools in Ghana were closed we worked together with RAINS, our in country partner, and the local communities to adapt the CASE project in response to the effects of the pandemic.
In the video above you can hear the outcomes of this response as our CASE Project Manager Anna interviews Munira from RAINS (Oct, 2020)
Our first UK Aid Match campaign, where every pound donated by the UK public was matched by the UK government, enabled us to launch our 3-year programme Community Action and Support for Education (CASE) which ran between April 2018 and March 2021.
By the end of the project CASE had improved access to education and quality of teaching practice in schools for 1,400 children in West Mamprusi, in the North East Region of Ghana.
Education outcomes for children in the area are poor; many children are subject to exploitative child labour, and child marriage is still common for girls. In partnership with local organisation RAINS, we delivered an integrated community-based programme working directly with children, parents, teachers, community elders and government officials to drive long-lasting change.
CASE has achieved many important outcomes through both practical interventions and sensitisation activities across 4 rural communities and with responsible government agencies to increase awareness and change behaviour. By the end of the project:
200 children across 2 cohorts had completed a 9-month programme of transitional classes aimed at supporting their return to mainstream education.
100% of the children who graduated from the transitional programme then enrolled and remained in mainstream education. This success rate has been commended by Ghana Education Service, especially as the second cohort of transitional classes was interupted by the pandemic.
120 children at high risk of dropping out of school, including some of the transition course graduates, had received school uniforms to help them stay in school.
180 children had received sets of books, pens, pencils and other essential learning materials to motivate and enable children to afford to stay in school.
180 teachers and Ghana Education Service officials were trained and provided with ongoing practical support to embed child-centred learning methods to improve educational outcomes and help more children to stay in school.
626 women registered in Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) to reduce financial barriers to children’s education. This provided mothers with the means to save money weekly and invest as a group in education and other poverty-reducing activities as well as their own small enterprises.
101 women completed business skills training and as a result 98% established or extended their small businesses. During the COVID-19 pandemic the project enabled these women, and others that they trained, to sew 5000 face masks, produce 1000 bottles of soap and 1000 bottles of hand cream by paying for materials and supplying a workwomanship fee.
Over 1200 children are now involved in weekly Children’s Clubs to keep them focussed on staying in school, using activities and games that help them understand their rights and the mechanisms they have through which to claim them. Children elected from within the clubs promote child-led advocacy through Child Assemblies to challenge and raise issues which affect them with community and local government agencies.
For example, when we asked children elected onto Children’s Assemblies how they intended to address some of the challenges they face they responded, “we will organize community meetings to engage parents on issues of kayaye (child migration) and school dropout”.
550 girls met quarterly to effect change through Girl Clubs. Specific issues in communities disproportionately affect girls, such as sexual violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights issues. These girls only clubs built confidence and skills for girls to advocate for their rights. The girls then work with representative Children Assemblies to develop action plans to tackle issues of concern.
CASE is delivered practical support for girls included providing training and materials to make reusable sanitary pads for improved hygiene and health.
Children developed and published quarterly newsletters to highlight the issues affecting them – one edition focussed on inadequate teachers, lack of teacher’s quarters and the poor condition of local roads to shine a light on wider issues of education, health, road infrastructure and sanitation. Consequently, 11 children were invited to meet with heads of state institutions (the Ghana Education Service and The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice) to present the newsletters to them. Representatives of these institutions offered their commitment to helping children address some of the issues raised.
Child-led Radio Campaigns with local community radio stations provided another important vehicle for children raise concerns and advocate for child rights including directly engaging with the local authorities through panel discussions. The radio campaigns also offer a wider reach to other communities who were not directly participating in the project. During the COVID-19 pandemic the radio campaign was adapted quickly ino health-based programming led by experts from the District Covid-19 response team. This life-saving community-based activity reached nearly 290,000 listeners.
Children’s Dramas for Community Sensitisation - enabled children to get key messages across to the adults that care for them and other community members which increased awareness of child rights, the importance of girls’ education and challenged harmful practices such as child marriage and exploitative child labour. In total the children performed 4 community dramas, each involving 15 to 20 children and attended by about 200 people in a community.
4 assemblies were established through which children elected by their clun can engage with and influence the adults and leaders in their communities as well as local government agencies. The children's assemblies were particularly active in ensuring that all children returned to schools when they reopened after the COVID-19 lockdown.
It is testament to the project that the clubs and assemblies will continue. Change makers will run the clubs while the assemblies will be organised by the children, with the support of the change makers.
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