A new post from our blogger Emily Laramy on girl’s rights and why they are so important.
Across the globe, girls’ rights are threatened.
Worldwide 250 million girls live in poverty. Growing up in poverty exposes girls to multiple vulnerabilities, in fact by the age of 12 a girl in poverty is at high risk.
In the developing world, one in seven girls are forced into marriage by their 15th birthday. Marrying this young makes girls 5 times more likely to die in childbirth. Girls are also vulnerable to domestic and sexual violence with nearly half of all sexual assaults worldwide taking place against girls aged 15 and younger.
Today is International Day of the Girl. Not only am I deeply passionate about protecting children’s rights, I am also a fervent advocate for women’s rights. I strongly believe that if we invest in girls we can create an incredible ripple effect that will bring about a powerful lasting change.
Providing a girl with access to education, vocational training, health care and a safe environment free of violence, gives her the potential not only to raise her standard of living , but also that of her family and her community. Whether it is deciding how the household income is spent or determining how the country is run, women have the right to an equal say in all matters that impact on their lives and how we invest in girls is key.
In the developing world, 1 in 5 girls don’t currently attend school. Through KickStart Ghana’s work, children receive educational opportunities, including access to better school facilities, literacy skills, and equipment. Studies show that if a girl receives 7 years of education, on average she marries 4 years later. Furthermore, for every year of schooling her earning power increases by 10% to 20%.
Want to change the world? Invest in the lives of girls, making their education a top priority.
Every child deserves a chance of a bright future. For a child in poverty the stark reality is they may never have that chance. Worldwide an estimated 600 million children live in extreme poverty. For these children it’s not just their physical situation that negatively affects them. Poverty tells a child they are worthless, unloved and forgotten, robbing them of their hopes and dreams. Depriving them of a childhood.
Sport is a fundamental part of many cultures and is intrinsically linked to childhood. Sport has an ability to break down barriers, allowing even the poorest, most vulnerable child a chance to have fun and the ability to regain their childhood. Sport is by no means the single solution to ending child poverty however it can be a powerful tool if used within a wider toolkit.
The benefits of sport reach well beyond physical wellbeing. Through sporting activities children learn skills such as self-confidence, teamwork, fair play, respect and self-esteem. This in turn impacts on their education. Studies show children who participate in physical activities preform better at school and are more engaged, staying in school for longer. In a country such as Ghana where over 35 percent of children drop out before they reach junior secondary this is truly significant.
Student Engagement doesn’t just end in the classroom. Children who play sport are also more likely to be community minded, engage in community activities and go on to be leaders within their communities. During the time KickStart Ghana has been working in the Volta region we have seen children from our programs go on to lead the training sessions and coach younger players. This is all made possible though the commitment from the local communities and volunteers who have dedicated thousands of hours of volunteering and fundraising over the last seven years.
For many children in Ghana and across the world, sport gives them that brief moment to escape from the reality of poverty, giving them an opportunity to be a child again. The power of sport cannot be underestimated and it is why it is at the heart of what we do here at KickStart Ghana.
KickStart Ghana are taking strides to ensure that the people of the Volta Region, in Ghana, can fulfil their potential and have every opportunity to succeed. We are doing this through the promotion of education and physical activity.
We are extremely pleased with the work of our staff and volunteers, both in the UK and Ghana and we can’t thank our supporters enough for their work over the past year.
Last summer we ran our first summer school in conjunction with St Cecilia’s School. We were delighted with the results and so were the school management. We spoke to headmistress Madame Al’orbi (recently retired) about her thoughts on how the school had gone.
What do you enjoy about teaching?
I have been teaching for 41 years! I have enjoyed teaching students and I like it when they become useful citizens of society and when I see them achieve their dreams. It gives me joy and satisfaction. This means my input has given a very good dividend.
How do you think that the summer school has gone and why?
Very well! It has been full of activity especially from the KickStart Ghana end. It has been activity orientated, exciting. People are psychologically present in the classroom. That is reflected in the attendance.
My teachers’ methodology has learnt from your volunteers, especially how they present their lessons. We have learnt from them. They have a lot of learning and teaching materials, the lessons are rich. Read more
One of the lessons at the KickStart Ghana summer school focused on aspiration setting. Our volunteers led the children on a creative session where they designed posters and diagrams detailing their thoughts on the future, both personally and from a career perspective. When they had finished they had to present back to the class what they had created and why. We found that the children really engaged well with this task and we were really pleased with the wide range of potential opportunities they had given consideration too.
Please take a look at our Facebook page for more photos from the class.
Chris was KickStart Ghana’s Assistant Volunteer Coordinator for the summer of 2013. He spent almost three months in Ghana and his work ranged from managing volunteers, conducting interviews, helping organise the summer school, coaching at Dynamo FC and assisting the financial administration. We couldn’t have asked for someone better and we were delighted with his work and attitude. We caught up with Chris to find out his thoughts on the summer.
Q. Why did you choose to volunteer with KickStart Ghana?
I chose to volunteer with KSG for a couple of reasons. Initially, it was a bit opportunistic because I was at a loose end after I finished my degree and was looking for something to do for the summer. However, as soon as I saw that there was an opportunity to work with KSG I jumped on it. I knew if I went with KSG the summer would be extremely worthwhile, both in terms of my own personal experience and in playing a role in carrying some extremely helpful work in a community that it benefits. Read more
Anna Gilthorpe recently returned to the UK after volunteering for three weeks at the kindergartens’ of the Regional Model School and St Cecilia’s, assisting the teachers with their work. Below are her thoughts on her time volunteering with KickStart Ghana.
Q. Why did you choose to volunteer with KickStart Ghana?
I chose to volunteer with KickStart Ghana as I have seen fantastic things about their work from following them on Facebook and heard from previous volunteers about what an amazing and rewarding time they had working for them. Read more
Apologies for the delay in the latest blog post, but since I last wrote seven new volunteers have arrived and five of those have left. They’ve been completing a large variety of work. Chris Minch has settled in well to the role of Assistant Volunteer Coordinator. His time has been taken up by airport pickups, inducting volunteers, helping at the summer school and football training and also researching other NGOs in Ho. He is also blogging for KickStart Ghana this summer. Anna Gilthorpe and Rianna Kelly were working at two local Kindergartens assisting the teachers with their work there. Rianna has now taken the lead at the summer school and reading club; planning and executing the lessons with the assistance of Chris Coco and myself. Chris and George Wadsworth coached Dynamo FC and you can read about what they thought of their time in Ho in their blog post. Last, but not least, we had Jeffrey Smith and Adenike Oke from JointSight productions who are working with KickStart Ghana to create a series of videos that showcase our work. I can’t wait to see the finished films! Read more
This week saw the launch of the first ever KickStart Ghana summer school, working in partnership with St Cecilia School. KickStart Ghana have provided a grants for four teachers to be employed over the holidays and lunch to be provided for each of the 80 children who will attend daily. Class sizes will be at 20, half of the national average in Ghana during term time.
The children attending are all in year 6 and will be moving on to Junior High School next year, the equivalent of a UK secondary school. Working with Ms Alorbi (St Cecilia’s headmistress). the PTA and school management team, these were identified as the children who would benefit most from a summer’s tuition. They will be taught English, Maths, Science and Citizenship by the Ghanaian teachers.
We have also recruited 14 volunteers; a mixture of Brits, Irish, Ghanaian and Togolese to run further classes focusing on four key areas:
Social and emotional development
Language and communication skills and
These lessons are designed to supplement the Ghanaian curriculum and encourage the children to develop in a holistic manner.
On the first day we asked the children what they were looking forward to at the summer school. We received the following answers:
“I look forward to spending time with my friends.”
“I look forward to learning from the teachers.”
“I am excited to meet new people.”
At KickStart Ghana we’re incredibly excited by the launch of this school and we look forward to keeping our supporters up to date with its successes.