Tag Archive for Summer School

Happy International Day of the Girl

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.Ghana day of the girl

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.

 

International Volunteering: A Shift in Thinking

Here is the third blog entry from our 2014 Volunteer Coordinator, Ruth Taylor.

As I sit here writing this blog (my third for KickStart Ghana), the world is facing a reality not ever experienced before. The human race, for the first time in history, is with the means to eradicate poverty from the face of the earth. We have the medicine, we have the knowledge, we have the money. All that remains to be seen is whether or not we have the will.

From my previous two posts, you’d be excused if you thought I’m some kind of hyper-critic of international volunteering in all its many forms – perhaps you even think I’d be on the side of seeing the discontinuation of the sector as a whole. Although, not entirely wrong, there is little I agree with more than the hugely transformative experience which volunteering abroad can bring about. If you want to learn about another culture and experience it first hand, if you want to form and develop relationships which span borders and oceans, if you want your acceptance of the status quo to be challenged wholeheartedly and your worldview to undergo detox and replenishment a thousand-fold, then volunteering overseas is your thing. Not all projects are going to tick the boxes – and of course much onus is on the mentality of the volunteer themselves and their willingness to be tried and tested – but when done right, when done in partnership and with longevity in mind, I truly believe that volunteering abroad has the potential to usher in a new, truly global form of citizenship whose repercussions could see the realities we so often choose to push to the back of our minds, label as ‘someone else’s responsibility’, or allow to cripple us under their immensity, be slowly but surely changed until the time when the world is spinning on a different type of axis – one of true equality, where the playing fields are level and people of all nations have every opportunity to succeed.

International volunteering is complicated – far more than the majority of people care to admit or are even aware of – and although, as a sector, we seem to have manoeuvred ourselves into a decidedly prickly corner, messing with people’s lives and livelihoods in the name of a current ‘Western trend,’ I still believe that out of the mire could come something beautiful.
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Introducing Ruth Taylor, our 2014 Volunteer Coordinator

We were delighted when Ruth agreed to sign up as our 2014 Volunteer Coordinator. She’s volunteered with KickStart Ghana twice before and knows the charity and the people we work with really well. Through her job at Student Hubs, running Impact International, she has become a well known expert on best practice within the international volunteering sector.

Over the summer she will be supporting our volunteers to make sure that they can really make an impact on our projects, including the 2014 summer school and reading club and coaching at Dynamo FC. She’ll also be evaluating our impact and designing a new post-volunteering handbook for volunteers.

She’s going to be blogging about her experiences over the summer and below is her first. We hope you enjoy.

Standing on the veranda of the new volunteer house in Ho, I look out over lush green bush and the Adaklu Mountain which dominates the skyline. It’s been nearly 3 years since I was last in Ghana and I’m surprised at how immediately I feel at home. From my first visit to this incredible, West African paradise, as a young and fresh-faced 18 year old back in 2010, the spirit and dynamism of the country has never left me. It’s in the music, the food, the smiling and welcoming people you meet at every turn, even the sweet and aromatic air you breathe – everything about Ghana is intoxicatingly addictive and I find myself immensely happy and deeply contented at being back.
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Training and fundraising – Exeter Community Action

Each year KickStart Ghana works with Exeter Community Action to recruit ten Exeter University students to travel to Ghana to volunteer at a summer school, reading club and Dynamo FC. Below is a guest blog post from Alex Hills, one of the project leaders, describing the work they will be doing and their fundraising efforts so far.

Hello everyone! Thanks for taking some time out of your valuable sofa time busy schedule to read this! We appreciate your interest!We are Alex Hills and Roman Christoforou, two students at the University of Exeter, and we are volunteering as part of a team of 10 students going to Ghana this summer to deliver a programme of sport and education. We will be volunteering in a township called ‘Ho’, in the Volta Region of Ghana, and we are working in coordination with a charity called ‘KickStart Ghana’ and the University of Exeter Students’ Guild society, ‘Community Action’. What exactly will the team be doing in Ghana? Well, the sport and education programme we will help to deliver consists of three main parts:

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2012-13 KickStart Ghana annual report

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.

We’re delighted to share the KickStart Ghana Annual Report 2012-13.

Community Action volunteering with KickStart Ghana 2013

Check out this brilliant video made by Will Bowditch showing what Exeter Community Action’s volunteers working in Ghana this summer got up to.

Rianna Kelly

Rianna volunteered with KickStart Ghana in the summer of 2013. We spoke to her about her experiences of living and working in Ghana and the highlights of her trip.

I chose to volunteer with KickStart Ghana because having enjoyed volunteering in my local community I was looking for a summer project overseas to take part in after I graduated from university. Initially, I came across a number of the ‘voluntourism’ companies until I was told about the great work being done by KickStart Ghana. It was clear that they were passionate about responsible and sustainable projects. The application process was simple to follow and ensured that the education project was relevant for my experience. They were always happy to answer any questions I had, no matter how silly them seemed, and ensured that I was prepared for the project before I arrived. I would definitely recommend volunteering with KSG!

When volunteering I really enjoyed meeting the people who lived within the local community. Arriving as an individual volunteer I was slightly nervous about how I’d fit it, however, everyone I met was so friendly and welcoming! The summer school started in my second week and I appreciated the independence we were given as volunteers. Whilst the education projects had guidelines to follow, it was completely our decision what format the lesson would take and the topics that would be covered. Personalising the lessons in this way made the project more rewarding but also achieved KickStart Ghana’s summer school aims.

My favourite thing about living in Ghana was the KickStart Ghana House!! As someone who is always rushing around at home, I really loved settling into the laid-back Ghanaian way of life. There was always someone around to speak to in the house, or in the local houses, and the area really felt like home for the short time I was there. Vivian’s amazing cooking was also something to look forward to every day!

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KickStart Ghana Summer School feedback

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.
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In the future I want to be…

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.

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Chris Minch – 2013 Assistant Volunteer Coordinator

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.
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