Tag Archive for Ghana

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.

 

The power of sport in combating child poverty

Dynamo warm up

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.

Written by Emily Laramy.

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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Volunteering Abroad with Children: A game of double standards?

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

Let me ask you. How many times have you logged onto Facebook and been greeted with a newly-updated profile picture of one of your friends, volunteer-smile intact, affectionately cuddling a small, rather grubby-looking child, from an unknown African nation? Once? Twice? Too many times to recall?

If you haven’t experienced it personally, you’ll probably be aware of the growing phenomenon sweeping schools, colleges and Universities across the Western world. In search of adventure and a desire to break normalcy, our young people, during their gap years or summer holidays, are jetting off to volunteer (more often than not, with children) in countries across the Global South… It’s become a craze. Like over-reliance on Apple products and an addiction to Starbucks, voluntourism is becoming something by which this generation is being defined. It’s almost come to be seen as a rite of passage (albeit for the relatively well-off) – something you do before, during or after University. Something which will ‘set you apart’ and help you land your £40k-starting-salary graduate job.
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KickStart Ghana fundraising dinner raises over £3,000

On 11th July KickStart Ghana had a hugely successful fundraising dinner hosted by Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen. The night involved 44 KickStart Ghana supporters enjoying a wonderful three course dinner of Ghanaian food, eaten by hand with banana leaves for plates. KickStart Ghana chair David Thorp shared some of the successes of the charity over the past year and showed two videos highlighting our work.
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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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David Thorp waxes his legs for KickStart Ghana

On Tuesday 29th July, David Thorp will wax his rather hairy legs in the name of charity.

“Whilst other members of the board have put their bodies on the line with tests of endurance and perseverance in the name of KickStart Ghana fundraising, I have decided to put my body on the line with a test of short term pain and embarrassment.

At KickStart Ghana’s fundraising dinner with Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen I will have my legs waxed in order to raise money for KickStart Ghana’s sports and education projects. Target of £1000, top 5 bids from people at the fundraiser get to cause me physical pain (in the form of waxing my legs of course (I’ve got pretty hairy legs if that makes you want to donate any more?).

All donations welcomed!”

David Thorp legs

New KickStart Ghana videos

We are delighted to release two new videos highlighting some of the work that we have been doing with local organisations in the Volta Region.

The videos were produced by the amazing JointSight production company who gave their time to us as volunteers.

We wanted the videos to highlight the work that KickStart Ghana have been doing and showcase Ghana at it’s best. We are delighted with the results.

If you want to help make a difference to young people in Ghana consider making a donation today. We promise you won’t regret it.

KickStart Ghana and education


KickStart Ghana and sport

 

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.