Girls' Education

INTO Giving is standing up for girls' education through the Wulugu Project in Ghana

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INTO Giving is standing up for girls' education in the developing world through the Wulugu Project in Ghana, with £19,735 (US $25,300) of support over 2016-2019.

The Wulugu Project visited the school in 2018, and the following is what they found… 

“When we visited in 2018 there were 172 pupils and 3 teachers. Pupils there were terrific—keen and eager to learn. Teachers were enthusiastic.

The school structure looked good at first glance.  However, the headmaster was rightly very concerned about a substantial crack that ran through the whole building and had affected the partition wall of the first classroom. He pointed out that, without proper repair, the whole building was likely to collapse, leaving the village once more without any school. They had approached the Local Education Authority and other agencies for help without success.”  

Sankumpe cracks both outside and in .

“The repair works needed the removal of an entire wall and rebuilding it, together with construction of a strong supporting pillar in the place of the crack path. The intention was to lay iron rods along the entire path of the crack to stop it from moving to other parts and damaging the building further.

At the same time the school wanted to change the wooden doors to metal; to open the brick windows to allow more light and ventilation in the classroom and to patch up the veranda and floors.

We were delighted to receive funding for this work from INTO, and repairs began shortly after, that but the unseasonal and unpredictable heavy rains continually interfered with the normal speedy work of our team. Since some of the builders have children at the school, they tried their best to carry out the work as quickly as the weather would allow and to a high standard.”

Problems encountered.

“It is almost impossible for those who are not familiar with the unimaginable difficulties that exist in regions like the one we work in. Solomon, our project leader, has tried to explain some of the hurdles of this project:

Challenges

At the time work could commence we had a referendum to vote for New regions and the Northern region was to be split into three different regions with two new additions. These seldom bring about conflict as ethnic groups and their land would be ceded into other jurisdictions which will make it difficult for the tribes to be under their desired traditional Kingdoms

Once the referendum was done away with, the funerals of murdered chiefs had to be performed and this again is a no-go area for people in the North. These murders had taken place over 16years and the funerals could not be performed because of tribal jostling for autonomy over the other and the politicians in trying to save their votes, kept playing the Ostrich.

However, the new Government felt it was necessary to restore the Peace and tranquillity in the area by dividing the region along the tribal lines and performing long-awaited funerals.”

Building repairs were completed in March 2019.

“The strengthening to the whole building will ensure that the present building will be strong for up to 20 more years.

Now that education has become fully accepted and in demand, all village children want to be in primary school. At the end of this, they move to Junior High. This gives them the opportunity to sit the exams they need to progress to Senior High.”

Outputs and outcomes

“The school has been fully restored.

The new windows and doors are termite-proof so will last for many years. The comprehensive repairs mean that the whole school is now far more durable, is no longer dangerous and is fully fit for purpose.”

 

Previously.......

The school has gone from strength to strength, with numbers of girls increasing to match those of boys.  Small, timely repairs have been made by the Parent Teacher Association. The project also provided toilets, in 2014.

In 2016. INTO Giving completely refurbished the teachers' quarters at the Bawina Primary School. Having safe, welcoming accommodation for women teachers at the school means teachers stay at the school.

This was essential work, as otherwise the teachers wouldn’t feel safe or appreciated and, quite simply, wouldn’t stay. Meaning, in turn, that girls wouldn’t have teachers and leave school.

In 2017, we refurbished Bawina Primary's sister school, the Tarabiat Primary School. The Tarabiat School, open since 2003, had fallen into great disrepair, owing to weather and termite damage. Until INTO Giving, there were no funds to repair it, and the school would either collapse or close. Without school, girls at Tarabiat faced entering the child labour market, or child marriage, or both.  

INTO Giving completely refurbished the school over the summer and autumn, including repairing the floors, walls, aprons, windows and repainting the entire building.

In 2018-19, INTO Giving is refurbishing a three-room primary school in danger of collapsing (and where parents are reluctant to send their children, given the dilapidation of the building) in Sankumpe in the Northern Region, where 180 children (50% girls) attend school. 

WHY IT'S IMPORTANT

Wulugu, a village in the far north of the Northern Region of Ghana, is extremely remote and difficult to reach by road. It's also tremendously poor: over 60% of the population live in poverty. Girls face a bleak future, and are forced to leave school and home to go and live in the Southern Region.  

There, they take menial jobs and face a lack of accommodation and food. They are far away from their families and vulnerable to human traffickers and men who offer housing, are forced into prostitution and to hand over their earnings. Many sleep on the streets. Many more contract terminal diseases and barely get back to their villages to die.

Teachers, meanwhile, assigned by the government to work in the Northern Region (an area about 27,000 square miles, thus larger than, for example, much of New England – or three times the size of Wales), often see it as a punishment. 

Teachers are expected to work without pay for considerable stretches. Food shortages are frequent, there is often no electricity, a lack of medical services, poor roads, and water comes not at all or in long-lasting and destructive floods.

Housing, too, is scarce. Women teachers assigned to the region can be forced to live with local men, taken as an extra wive and abused. Many run away. Without teachers, schools close and children lose their education. It spirals on and on and down.

THE GOOD NEWS

Refurbishment of six teachers' quarters at the Bawina Primary School was completed in autumn 2016.  Women teachers at Bawina now have have safe and welcoming accommodation, and have stayed on at the school, teaching more than 100 girls.

Girls’ education is, first and foremost, an issue of human or civil rights. It’s about equality.

But educating girls in the developing world also produces a great raft of benefits for everyone: a reduction in infant mortality rates, a lower risk of HIV/AIDS, a reduction in human trafficking, better political representation, and the fact that educated mothers are more likely to raise educated children.

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