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ActionAid hands over girl-friendly school facilities to 2 communities

BY: Esther Ohenewaa Brown

One of the key areas of ActionAid’s work is to advocate for increased civic participation and state accountability for the redistribution of resources and the delivery of quality, gender-responsive public services, including access to quality basic education.

ActionAid Ghana’s advocacy on access to quality girl-friendly public basic education has received another boost as a two-unit kindergarten block, as well as a junior high school block with ancillary facilities have recently been completed.

The facilities were inaugurated and handed over to the District Education Directorate of the Ghana Education Service and traditional authorities at Amanfrom and Ata-Ne-Ata, in the Ahafo Region. Ata-Ne-Ata and Amanfrom communities are about 30 kilometres apart.

The two-unit kindergarten and junior high school facilities which are fully furnished with book storage cubicles, chairs, a mechanised borehole, a water tank, play equipment, places of convenience and a changing room, were constructed at a total cost of GH¢385,875.90 and GH¢435,454.48 respectively.

The model facilities are provided to draw stakeholders’ attention to the urgent need to prioritise the provision of kindergarten infrastructure in our educational development.

It also seeks to improve learning outcomes in public education, especially at the basic level and present a model to inform how kindergarten education facilities should be conceived and implemented.

Speaking at the handover ceremony at Amanfro last month, the Country Director of ActionAid Ghana, John Nkaw, bemoaned the frequent and increasing cuts in budgetary allocation to the education sector.

He said “budget for kindergarten activities set out in the Ministry of Education’s Medium-Term Expenditure Framework for 2021-2025, reduced from 817.8 million cedis in 2020 to 43.6 million cedis in 2021”.

“If these budget cuts are not reversed, it will significantly reduce early school readiness, and exacerbate existing inequalities within the education system,” he added.

In his remarks, the Board Chair of ActionAid Ghana, Nana Yaw Okyere-Aduachie, noted that discrimination is already taking place in different forms within Ghana’s education system as good quality private schools charge exorbitant fees thereby making them accessible to the wards of the relatively few middle-to-high income earning populace.

Robert Dwomor Mensah (2nd from left), DCE for Asutifi South, thanking John Nkaw, ActionAid Ghana Country Director, after the handover of the classroom block to the community. Those in the picture are officials from ActionAid and members of the community.

He further asserted that “to promote equity and fairness across all sectors of society, the education system must ensure that it leads to the reduction of inequality,” adding “We cannot continue to fail these young ones who look up to all of us for a better and just society”.

The District Chief Executive, Robert Dwomor Mensah, reiterated that development is a collective responsibility of all, commending ActionAid Ghana for its continuous support to communities in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions.

“Our district is fortunate to receive two additional school facilities from ActionAid at the same time. They have exhibited their commitment to development in this area and we must support this initiative by ensuring the proper maintenance of the facility”, he noted.

Amanfrom and Ata-Ne-Ata

For many years, pupils and students of Amanfrom and Ata-Ne-Ata have struggled with dilapidated school structures. This has negatively impacted teaching and learning.

According to students and teachers, they were compelled to end teaching and learning anytime it started to rain as the existing structure at Amanfrom had some parts of the roof ripped off by a storm.

At Ata-Ne Ata Junior High School, teaching and learning was previously taking place in a wooden shed, exposing students and teachers sometimes to snake bites.

The headteacher of Ata-Ne-Ata Junior High School, Obed Amoah-Awuah, noted that despite the harsh conditions under which teaching and learning took place, the eight teachers in the school had proven to be committed to their profession.

According to him, the changing room which had been added to the new facility would go a long way to improve education in the community, stressing that many girls stayed away from school due to lack of privacy during their menstrual cycle.

The school currently has a population of 52 students, comprising 28 girls and 24 boys.

ActionAid’s Impact in the three Regions

Since 2001, ActionAid has worked closely with communities in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions to roll-out impactful interventions. Key among these are the provision of ten Kindergarten facilities with recreational amenities in Asutifi North and Asutifi South districts as a way of promoting safe and effective teaching and learning environments and sustaining children’s interest in school.

Other school structures that have been put up include teachers’ bungalows as well as six different three-unit classroom blocks in communities such as Amomaso, Kojokrom, Kenyasi 3.

ActionAid has also been working with Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) in the communities to promote effective community participation in school governance through trainings and review meetings.

Currently, these PTAs are playing their roles as rights’ holders seeking and demanding quality education for their children.
In a related intervention, 20 teenage mothers have also been supported in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service to return to school after childbirth through the “re-entry policy".

Livelihood Skills Training

In 2020, ActionAid collaborated with Yamfo Vocational Training Institute, an NVTI accredited institution and certified mastercrafts women and men to train 131 young people comprising 98 females and 33 males in various livelihood skills development modules, including auto-mechanic, baking, bead and soap making and tiling.

Following the award of certification by the National Vocational Technical Institute, beneficiaries were supported with basic tools and start-up materials. Aside from the skills training, beneficiaries received capacity building in advocacy and campaigning, financial literacy, business plan development process, social media marketing and operationalisation of village savings and loans associations.

ActionAid

ActionAid is a global federation working with more than 15 million people living in more than 40 of the world’s poorest countries. We want to see a just, fair and sustainable world in which everybody enjoys the right to a life of dignity, and freedom from poverty and oppression. We work to achieve social justice and gender equality and to eradicate poverty.