Archive for 23 August 2016

Can we afford not to invest in education?

Read the latest post from our blogger Joely Harris about the importance on education in reducing inequalities.

This summer I joined four staff and twenty five children in a three week expedition in Madagascar. We were blessed with hugely knowledgeable guides, including the self proclaimed “bird nerd” who had mastered over 100 bird calls and was David Attenborough’s very own guide. Theo the “bird nerd” had once been part of a naked tribe that had lived in the national park before it gained its status as such. He educated us on the traditions of the Madagascan tribes and their need for the wood that exists inside the National Park. Deforestation is a humungous issue in Madagascar with one half of its forests disappearing between 1950 to 1985 leaving a meagre 11% of rainforest left today. Theo’s overarching argument as to how to fix this was, (you might have guessed it) education!  Due to being taught how to guide in the national park he could provide for his family without resorting to cutting down wood from the forests. His cousin and nephew are also guides in the forest.

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First Week of Summer School

Our third blog from Steph describes how the St Cecilia Summer School is running.

Last week marked the beginning of Summer School at St. Cecilia’s primary school. The Summer School, which is for pupils in class five and class six, is running throughout the month of August and involves both volunteers and Ghanaian teachers. Each day, pupils have lessons in their core subjects of Maths, Science, English and Citizenship, which are taught by their usual teachers. These lessons are essential as pupils are preparing to take their entry exams for the Junior High School: pupils who don’t pass are held back. Alongside these lessons, pupils also spend up to two sessions per day with the national and international volunteer groups, developing soft skills such as cognitive skills, language and communication and physical development. This year, each week of volunteer sessions has a theme, and last week that was My World. Pupils were able to design their own planets, think about their ambitions for the future and play lots of fun outdoor games. This week we’re looking at Outer Space, and so far pupils have taken part in a space crusade, written songs about the planets and even designed their own rocket ships.

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Alongside the Summer School, there is also the Reading Club, which I am lucky enough to be volunteering in throughout the month. During these sessions, pupils work in small groups with a local or national volunteer, using stories to develop their reading skills and play word games. They also have the chance to take part in one-to-one reading sessions. Volunteers have really enjoyed working on this project, and helping the children to improve: as English is an official language of Ghana, it is crucial that children are able to use and understand it effectively.

As if volunteering in both the Summer School and Reading Club wasn’t enough, Joe, Estefania and Gareth are also running football coaching sessions in the afternoons. They are working with both the local boys’ and girls’ teams alongside their local coach, to help develop and improve their football skills.

On Friday evening, we headed down to Kokrabite for the weekend to relax on the beach, enjoy some reggae and eat a lot of pizza! It was a wonderful way to round off a really busy and successful first week.

Introducing the volunteers

Read our second blog from Stephanie who met our latest bunch of volunteers last week.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks preparing for the Summer School, and most of our international volunteers have finally arrived in Ho! Alex, Amelia, Estefania, Joe and Gareth are all students at Leeds Beckett University, and they are joined by Shoshanna, who studies at University of California- Davis in the US. I had a fun couple of days in Accra going to meet everyone.

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Introducing our Action at Home Coordinator

With funding from LSE Careers, as part of the Santander Universities scheme, KickStart Ghana has appointed Richard Yeboah, BSc in Economic History 2017, on a four week contract as our first Action at Home Coordinator. Richard will be blogging about his experiences during his time with KickStart Ghana.

I came to first hear about KickStart Ghana through a conversation with Dave (co-founder), during an LSE networking event. He gave me a brief insight into the amazing work they do in the Volta Region and immediately I became fascinated by their vision to equip Ghanaians with the resources to fulfil their potential and have every opportunity to succeed.

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