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Category Page: Projects

SEEDSCIENCE PROJECT

The SeedScience project is developed as an innovative intervention for improving science education in Ghana. Our goal is to put the skills of professional science educators in service of local science teachers in developing countries. The short-term goal consists of showing them a different method of teaching with the aim of engaging 10-18 years old students through hands-on science experiments. Training of local teachers will last about ten weeks for each community. After this period, they will possess a different point of view on teaching and will be able to perform and describe the experiments. Moreover, they will learn how to set up new experiments and how to obtain cheap or free materials to conduct them. Partner schools will receive long-term science kits and the local teachers will keep in touch with each other and with project members to share ideas and solve eventual issues. In addition, selected local educators can continue to training other teachers. In this way, a network of high-level science teachers will be created. The development of these local educators and the very low cost of experiments materials will make the project highly sustainable. We are currently recruiting for positions for a period between October 1st and December 15th 2018.

As a volunteer of the SeedScience project (www.seedscience.it) you’ll be flanked to a project member to offer valid support during the training of local science teachers. You’ll work both with teachers and students. Your activities will mainly depend on your background. If you’re a science a student or you work in the field, you’ll be able to directly participate to the training, both as a trainer and in the same way of local teachers. You could also develop a few teaching topics based on your expertise in a collaboration with a project member. If you don’t have a scientific background, there are still many ways to be able to help. We need all across the training people to assist us in the classroom, to find missing materials for the experiments and to help us to set up new ones.

Role of SeedScience Project Volunteer/Intern

  • Collaborate with project team to conduct demand-driven trainings for local teachers
  • Facilitate the development of fundraising strategies and participate in fundraising activities.
  • Help to develop and Conduct baseline surveys/ interviews before and after trainings to access impact of trainings
  • Prepare project, progress and administrative reports.
  • Other Administrative tasks such as writing letters, taking pictures/ videos, developing website and social media content, etc

Requirements for SeedScience Project  Volunteer/intern:

  • Knowledge and Experience in science or education-related field is advantageous but not required.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English
  • Able to travel to Ghana between October 1st and December 15th
  • Must be willing to stay on the project for not less than 3 weeks
  • The creativity and flexibility to work in an environment with limited resources

Patriots ghana science flyer

Application Procedure:

To apply for this position, kindly complete an online application via the link below:

http://bit.ly/ApplySeedScience

And submit a resume to team@patriotsghana.org and copy info@seedscience.it

NB: In most cases, the team would contact you for a Skype or phone interview to learn more about you and an opportunity for you to learn more about the project before an offer of internship/ Volunteering is sent to you. If you do not receive an email from Patriots Ghana in 48 hours, kindly email the team.

International Women’s Day- Celebrating Our Women Entrepreneurs.

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first March 8 IWD gathering supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. With the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away – there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and #PressforProgress. And with global activism for women’s equality fuelled by movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp and more – there is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity. And while we know that gender parity won’t happen overnight, the good news is that across the world women are making positive gains day by day. Plus, there’s indeed a very strong and growing global movement of advocacy, activism, and support. (https://www.internationalwomensday.com)

Cecelia Essel

On this day, we honour Madame Cecelia Essel. Cecelia is one of the first five women that received a loan from the microfinance project in 2014 – a project that provides low-interest micro-loans to support rural women in agri-business and trade. Due to her commitment and vibrancy in the group, she became the first group leader of the women who are beneficiaries. She currently manages a gari processing business and also runs the only grocery retail shop in her village, Akuful Krodua, Central Region, Ghana.

Before being enrolled in the project, Cecelia was running her little retail store in the community and was gaining little to no profits. Through our financial management and literacy training, she identified gari processing as a viable business in the community and received our loan as her initial capital. The cost of producing the gari is Three hundred and Seventy-Five Ghana cedes (Gh¢ 375.00) and makes an average return of Five Hundred and Fifty Ghana cedis (Gh ¢550.00) per production cycle – every 5days.

Through the project, she has expanded her retail store, can now purchase raw materials for the gari production throughout the year and can afford to hire others.  It takes her about 5days to finish the production cycle and she transports them to either Kasoa or Bawjiase market for sales on Tuesdays. During recent evaluation visit she mentioned, “Almost, I ensure all my products are sold to the latter before returning home”. This is because she has created a commendable goodwill in the community and the Kasoa market. She has also created a good communication structure with her customers and thus she produces based on the demands of her customers. Those that patronise her products make orders and she produces to meet their needs and this helps to reduce her losses.

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“I am glad to benefit from this loan, I am now able to financially support the needs of my children, especially in their education. Particularly, I am happy that I no longer have to randomly borrow money to buy inputs for my business, I have a regular income to buy them with cash whenever I need them for my work” – Cecilia.

Patriots Ghana is committed to empowering more women in rural communities to press for progress and driving gender parity in Ghana and we are proud of Madame Cecilia Essel and other beneficiaries of the microfinance project through our partnership with Gadrage AID Foundation International. If you are interested in donating to support more rural women in business, please email us at team@patriotsghana.org.

Happy International Women’s Day! Press For Progress!

Source: Emmanuel Yamoah (National Projects Manager)

Interns Present Research at Harvard University – “Implications of Family Planning on Child Labor: A Ghanaian Case Study”

Summer 2017 brought two amazing interns Leah Singleton and Taegan Dennis both of whom are undergraduate students at the Florida State University (FSU). They served as project coordinators for Patriots Ghana’s Child labor and trafficking prevention project in three fishing communities in the Central region of Ghana (Senya, Fetteh, and Nyanyano).

Reserach 1

As part of their internship with Patriots Ghana, they conducted a study into the Implications of Family Planning on Child Labor. They presented their research at the National Collegiate Research Conference (NCRC) which was held on January 18th-20th at Harvard University. The NCRC aims to build an interdisciplinary research community among undergraduate students and promote undergraduate research. Their project explored how stakeholders in Senya-Beraku understand the role of family planning in reducing poverty and child labor within their community. Patriots Ghana offered community volunteers who acted as translators in the target community, Senya-Beraku, Ghana.

Background of Senya

Senya Breku is one of one of the villages located in Awutu-Senya in the Central Region of Ghana. Like most of the coastal communities, Senya too is based primarily on fish and fishing. Senya, in particular, relies almost entirely on fishing. As a result, they have to find other ways to make money but none are available. Families are forced to send their children to work at the shore untangling nets, selling fish and working on the boats. The men fish while the women sell the catch in the markets in Kasoa or Accra.

Methodology

Recruited local elites from the Senya Beraku fishing community through snowball sampling and conducted 22 mid-length interviews (30-45 minutes). The interviewees include religious leaders, the stool elder of Senya, an assemblyman, local health workers, our National Coordinator and staff of our partner organization, Cheerful Hearts Foundation. Transcribed and inductively coded the language used by interviewees to describe family planning and child labor as well as relevant background information. Compared Codes between demographic factors such as gender and community role. SAS Software was used to portray the descriptive statistics and analyzed differences.

Findings

75% of respondents believe contraception is highly accessible in Senya-Beraku

  • 64% of respondents mentioned stigma against contraception
  • 90% of respondents mentioned potential side effects as a barrier to contraception use
  • 30% of respondents mentioned fear of infidelity as limiting contraception use
  • Mean number of children for interview respondents was 2.68 children, compared to mean ideal number of children as being 3.3
  • 85% respondents cited considering finances when deciding if children will work or go to school
  • 81% of respondents identified a relationship between large family and prevalence of child labor

 

Community consideration before additional child birth

Significance

Theoretical

  • Clearer understanding of barriers towards contraception use: while contraception is considered to be widely available, social factors impair community willingness to publicly purchase contraceptives or discuss family planning.

Practical

  • Need for economic development: respondents’ emphasis on finances’ influence in family decisions implies a greater problem of economic hardship
  • Need for increased outreach resources: 87% of respondents cited education as a potential community solution.

Their study has provided Patriots Ghana an insight into some of the root causes of child labor and trafficking in the Senya-Bereku community in relation to gender roles and perspectives, religion, economic and social structures that need to be considered in addressing the problem.

Aside from working on their research study, they played key roles in various activities on the project. They assisted in coordinating community meetings and child rights advocacy & awareness campaigns in schools, one-on-one tutoring for rescued child laborers, and assisted in organizing the 2017 Worlds Day Against Child labor.

Recognizing the need for women empowerment in the three fishing communities, Leah and Taegan collaborate with Patriots Ghana, fundraising to expand our Women Entrepreneurial and Leadership Development (WELD) – A project that trains 72 girls per year (24 each quarter) in entrepreneurship and leadership. –https://www.omprakash.org/global/patriots-ghana/crowdfund/women-entrepreneurial-and-leadership-development–weld-

We are proud of our interns and impressed with their exceptional dedication to their research and rural community development.

Research 2

Reserach 7

Citations

(1) Ghana Statistical Service. Ghana Living Standards Survey Round 6 (GLSS 6): Child Labor Report. 2013. ix.http://www.statsghana.gov.gh/docfiles/glss6/GLSS6_Child%20Labour%20Report.pdf

(2) Laird, Siobhan. “The 1998 Children’s Act: Problems of Enforcement in Ghana.” The British Journal of SocialWork 32, no. 7 (2002): 893-905. JSTOR. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2371656.

(3) Thakurata, Indrajit & Errol D’Souza. “Child Labour and Human Capital in Developing Countries—A multi-period stochastic model.” Economic Modeling (2007) EBSCO. DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2017.09.006

(4) Singleton, Leah & Dennis, Taegan.Implications of Family Planning on Child Labor: A Ghanaian Case Study”. NCRC Poster. 2018.

(5) Dennis, Taegan. Omprakash Blog: Contrasting Voices on Family Planning.2017. https://www.omprakash.org/blog/contrasting-voices-on-family-planning

Photos Credits: Singleton, Leah & Dennis, Taegan.

Source:Emmanuel Yamoah (National Projects Manager).

Patriots Youth Leadership Seminar

In line with celebrating Founders Day and the National Volunteers Day, Patriots Ghana organized the Patriots Youth Leadership Seminar, the first of its kind. The theme of the seminar was, Empowering the Next Generation of Patriotic Leaders. The event held at the Cheerful Hearts Foundation Youth Development Centre (FieldHouse) was participated by One hundred and twenty seven students from the Nyanyano fishing community.The seminar began with the National Projects Manager of Patriots Ghana, Mr. Emmanuel Yamoah welcoming the students, explaining the purpose of the gathering and beginning a discussion around the question; “Do you love Ghana?”

Our national projects projects manager introducing the students to the purpose of the seminar and developing love for your country as a patriotic leader

He enlightened the young participants about how as young people they have varying talents and abilities and as such made them very powerful. He also briefly spoke to them about Ghana’s history and founding fathers and the importance of patriotism for national development. He further explained to the youth, the objectives of the sessions they were about to engage in and how they can clean-up them.

2 Mamley Adams facilitating a session on personal developement and branding

The first session was led by Zainabu Mamley Adams, the founder of our University of Ghana campus chapter. She discussed with the participants the importance of personal development as young people. She spoke to them about constantly trying to grow in every aspect of your life. She further enlightened them about building their self-esteem and confidence as it would be vital playing a leadership role in Ghana’s development. She said branding yourself affects how people address or treat you. The students then discussed improving their identity, potential, and talents for enhancing their employability and standard of living. The final part of her session focused on helping the young people develop personal strategies that they can use , .

The next session was facilitated by Mr. Bright Fiatsi, an accountant and the co-founder of the Cheerful Hearts Foundation. His session was identifying your competencies for community development. He began his session by helping the participants to understand what was meant by competences and community development. He explained different abilities learned from experiences in school, at home or our communities’ exceptionally guided or equipped young people to do things well.

Mr Bright Fiatsi facilitating a session on identifying your potential for community developemnt

He stressed the importance of a unified body of community members bringing together their varying competencies to develop their community. He emphasized various ways young people can start various initiative starting from their homes and neighborhoods geared towards community development. He discussed with them the importance of not waiting for the government to take action on issues that affect them but have a mindset of love for their community and as such take the right steps to contribute to its development. He told them to always stand for what is right and get together with other like-minded young people to help develop Ghana starting from where they are and doing anything regardless of how small it may seem.

The final session was led by Mr. Freeman Ahegbebu, Community Solutions Program Alumni, and YALI alumni. This session was a group discussion and activities. The participants were grouped into five groups and they led their fellow students to discuss the following the topics:

  • Freeman Ahegbebu facilitating group activitiesWhat is less desirable about the current Ghana?
  • What do you want the future of Ghana to be like?
  • What can you do as a young person to help develop Ghana?

Other discussions were on;

  • Patronizing made in Ghana goods and services
  • Duties of a patriotic leader.

Mr. Freeman afterward led the students to gain an in-depth understanding of the various topics discussed.

Group discussions led by students 1

After the event, the students were given snacks and spent some time engaging with the facilitators and the patriots Ghana team. The seminar is one many strategic initiatives of Patriots Ghana under the Youth Empowerment Project of the organization. In the past, Patriots Ghana through its campus chapters and national body has organized various event on National Volunteers Day. Volunteers have embarked on clean up exercises, donations to orphanages and clinics, reading clinics, educational talks and outreaches, etc.

Group picture with facilitators and the Patriots Ghana team

Patriots Ghana as a registered non-profit non-governmental organization is committed to the mission of uniting all passionate and patriotic Ghanaian citizens and organizations, and empowering them to undertake meaningful projects in areas of: Health, Education, Human Rights, Research and Advocacy and Economic development, in order to improve the lives of the less privileged Ghanaian citizens and deprived communities.

Source: Emmanuel Yamoah

National Projects Manager.

 

REPORT ON COMMUNITY-BASED FORUM ON LEARNING DISABILITIES

Padmore Delivering a Talk on Learning Disabilities

On the 10th March, 2013 Patriots Ghana in Collaboration with CLED Ghana organised a community Forum on Campaign for Learning Disabilities to educate the community members on the causes, effects, prevention, and strategies on how learning disabilities can be managed to help minimize school dropout rate in the community as well as improve the learning ability and performance of school children in the Nyanfeku Akrowful community.

INTRODUCTION OF PROJECT
Campaigns for Learning Disabilities project works to support children and youth with learning disabilities have every opportunity to succeed in school, work and life. Patriots Ghana and CLED Ghana provides informational awareness and training to parents, teachers, stakeholders, communities and individuals with learning disabilities, promotes programs to foster effective learning and advocates for policies to safeguard and strengthen educational rights and opportunities for children/youth with learning disabilities.

Since its inception, the project has been run by passionate and devoted special educators, lecturers, parents and youth committed to creating better outcomes for children, and youth with learning disabilities. Patriots Ghana and CLED have also commitment to promoting the success and dignity of children suffering from learning disabilities, making Children with Learning Disabilities realize their full Potential.

BACKGROUND OF THE FORUM
An interview was conducted on knowledge and understanding of specific learning disabilities and behaviour problems for selected parents, teachers and other stakeholders in Nyanfeku Akrowful in the central region of Ghana. One of the outcomes showed that teachers, parents and community members have very little or no knowledge when it comes to pupils who suffer from Specific Learning Disabilities. As a result, teachers and parent are not able to identify the difficulties children encounter when they learn.

Our observational visit in Nyanfeku Akrowful Basic School also revealed that, the school system does not provide sufficient support to pupils with specific learning difficulties. Poverty, hate crime and lack of support have forced many children with learning disabilities to sacrifice education for streetism, child labour, early marriages, and other activities.

Furthermore, since 2007, the community has been recording about 50% failure in the Basic Education Certificate Examination. These factors prevent these children from accessing primary, Secondary and Vocational Education. These difficulties children encounter when learning could be minimized if early interventions are put in place. It is against this background that CLED and Patriots Ghana proposed a community forum and donation programme at Nyanfeku Akrowful in the Abura-Aseibu-Kwamankese District of the Central Region of Ghana to:

1. Increase awareness and understanding of community members on specific learning disabilities and support strategies

2. Increase sensitivity and responsiveness of community Duty-Bearers towards provision of community-based support system for children with learning disabilities

3. Reduce by 10% the rate parents’ use their children with learning disabilities for economic activities

4. Reduce the hate crime children with learning disabilities face in school and home and

5. Donate clothing articles to poverty ridden families of children with learning disabilities

THE FORUM ACTIVITIES
The forum was held on Sunday 10th March, 2013 at the community durbar grounds of Nyanfeku Akrowful between the hours 3:00pm to 5:40pm. The Chairperson of CLED Ghana Dr. Nana Ama Browne made an introductory address and purpose for the forum. The Programme Coordinator of CLED Mr. Padmore Abeku Quansah, presented a paper on specific learning disabilities, types, its causes, effects , prevention and management and support strategies.

Mr. Ofori (a parent) gives his testimonty

Mr. Martin Ofori shares his testimony

Mr. Marten Ofori, a father of an eight year old girl with Down syndrome and learning disability gave a message of advice making participants aware and understand that children with learning disability have basic human right and they are very creative. He told the gathering that his daughter is very creative and entreated families to accept and understand the diversity of their children.

Mr. Eric Opoku Agyemang National Coordinator of Patriots Ghana also delivered a message of advice that children with learning disabilities can participate in all learning activities but needs differentiated instruction, patience and task analyzing their learning activities. He also called on participants to eschew the use of children with learning problems for economic activities.

Further, a message of advice from Susan Kellett (founder) Learning Disability Carers Community, UK, educated the gathering that Children with Learning Disabilities face challenges throughout their lives. But showing them love, encouragement and support will help to ensure that they develop a strong sense of self-worth, confidence and the determination to keep going even when things are tough. She also entreated parents to look for more areas in which their child will show gifts and talents and give their support for their education as is of paramount importance. Her message of advice was translated and read in the local dialect by Mr. Patrice John Couffie, a project volunteer of CLED.

In all participants were given platform to ask questions and their questions were addressed.

Mrs. Browne one of the key duty-bearers of the community, in her closing remarks entreated participants to make good use of knowledge gained at the forum.

OTHER ACTIVITY
With the support of Staff of DHL Global Forwarding, Ghana clothing items were donated to poverty stricken families of children with learning disabilities drawn from 6 electoral areas.

STATISTICS ON PARTICIPATION
a. CLED members present were 2 males and 1 female
b. Media (Metro TV staff) 2 males
c. Patriots Ghana Rep 1 male
d. Community Elders/duty bearers present were 23 men and 7 females

e. Community members present were 267 males and 233 females

f. Children present were 195
g. Guest parent present 1
h. Volunteers present 1
Total: 733 Participants

RESULTS
1. Community members are now aware and understand why some children have a discrepancy between the class placement and achievement level

2. Community members are now aware and have knowledge about learning disabilities, some types, causes, effects, management and support strategies.

3. A message of advice from Susan Kellett (founder) Learning Disability Carers Community, Uk, has made parents aware and understand that children with learning disabilities have different ability, talents and gifts which needs to be identified and developed as well as education is of paramount importance.

4. A message of advice from Mr. Marten Ofori, a father of an eight year old girl with Down syndrome and learning disability encouraged parental understanding and acceptance of children with learning disabilities.

5. Mr. Eric Opoku Agyemang National Coordinator of Patriots Ghana, made parents understand that differentiated instruction, patience and task analyze could be used help children with learning disabilities learn activities as well as the use of children with learning problems for economic activities will endanger their future.

6. Increased sensitivity and responsiveness of 30 community Duty-Bearers towards provision of community-based support system for children with learning disabilities. Hence a MOU signed with CLED to train community school teachers

7. 6 Electoral areas in the community have some clothing item to support poverty ridden families of children with learning disabilities.

8. An estimated 4million to 8million audience who watch Metro TV will also benefit from the forum.

CHALLENGES
Lateness among some community members derailed program processes.

Church services on the day presented a challenge as some churches were conducting fundraising activities, hence could not closed early from church and this pushed the forum one hour ahead.

Some community members could not attend

LESSONS LEARNED
We learned through the questions and answers, interview sessions that, community members were having very little or no knowledge about Specific Learning Disabilities.

We also learnt that planning, implementing and evaluation programmme with community involvement especially beneficiaries court their commitment, trust, participation and make it community owned.

We further learnt that mobilizing community resources make programme community owned and cost effective.

We learnt, bringing parents of children with special needs to share experiences and a message of advice also promote parental acceptance, love and support

Last but not the least, we learnt that collaborating with other NGOs erase duplication of programme, resources and also create room for sharing experience and expertise.

CRITICAL ISSUES THAT CROPPED UP DURING THE FORUM
Interview with some children revealed that they face hate crime (e.g bullying, teasing etc) both at home and school because they have learning problems. And that some parents use them for economic activities.

COMMUNITY EXPECTATION AND THE WAY FORWARD
• A policy advocacy with the District Education Directorate

• Training of community school teachers on specific learning disabilities

• Forming Community-based parents support group
• School Based sensitization against learning disability hate crime

CONCLUSION
Even though, a day was grossly not enough period to achieve much with such program, the overwhelming response in the form of comments, questions and concerns raised by virtually all population segments of the participated beneficiaries and homes through post forum questions and answers, open discussions, and , phone-calls etc are a clear indication that a major and lasting impact has been made and require to be sustained and replicated so as to eventually reach the avowed target of improving wellbeing of children with learning problems and create continuity in their educational, social, vocational and cultural opportunities and integration.

RECOMMENDATIONS
• There should be more community-based education on Learning disabilities

• There should be advocacy forum targeting policy-makers and duty-bearers in the central region and Ghana as a whole

• In- service training for teachers must be done termly

• There should be formation of Community-Based Parents Support Groups

• There should be child right education
• Development partners should consider supporting and collaborating with NGOs working in the area of Learning Disabilities.

ATTACHMENT AND APPENDIX
1. Responses of some participants
Comfort Baidoo (community member), when interviewed after the forum said, those who spoke did well because when you give birth to a child you should take good care of him or her as you might not know the future. She further said I have learnt some new things that every child is unique individual and has potential and my advice is that All parents should take care of their children.

Augustina Esi (community member), when interviewed after the forum said, in fact I am happy about this programme because I have learnt that each child can perform well when given the needed attention. The new thing I have learnt is that no matter how the child is do well to educate him or her. The programme was successful and I have learnt a lot.

Mr. Marten Ofori, a father of an eight year old girl with Down syndrome and learning disability, when interviewed after the forum said, I benefited from the forum because it has added to my store of knowledge in management of my daughter and love to see more of these programme to safeguard the right of children with special needs.

Below Are Some Contacts For Forum Verification
Mrs. Browne Assembly woman:
Mr. Gregory S. Acquah community elder and secretary: +233 542886255

Mr. Charles Yeboah (Teacher): +233 243648793
Mr. Cornelius Nortey (Metro TV Correspondent): +233 246579218

Mr. Eric Opoku Agyemang (Projects Director of Patriots Ghana):+233 262626182

MR. PADMORE QUANSAH +233 249199499

Dr. Nana Ama Browne Klutse advise community on Learning Disability

Dr. Nana Ama Browne Klutse advise community on Learning Disability

Section of the community members present

Section of the community members present

A Leader of the community thanked the team after the talk

A Leader of the community thanked the team after the talk

Community Leaders and the team after the talk

Community Leaders and the team after the talk

Please visit the Flickr link below to see more pictures of the event

https://www.flickr.com/photos/patriotsghana/sets/72157633051364299

SEMINAR ON LEARNING DISABILITY – OLA TEACHERS TRAINING COLLEGE, CAPE COAST

ABSTRACT

The seminar was held on Monday 1st of April 2013 from 10am to 12.30pm in the OLA College of Education Assembly Hall. This seminar was therefore organized in partnership with CLED Ghana and OLA college of education, Cape Coast in the Central Region of Ghana. The aim of this seminar is to strengthen student teacher trainees’ knowledge and understanding of Specific Learning Difficulties; its causes, signs and the necessary support strategies needed to ensure that pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties experience optimum quality education, able to access the curriculum and be inclusive so that they can reach their maximum potential possible. In all 457 participants participated including 4 CLED Ghana and 2 Patriot Ghana Team members, 5 Lecturers from OLA College of Education, 442 student teacher trainees of OLA College of Education and 4 Representative from Youth As A Mission Development Association, Osanko and Vision Rural Development Foundation.

The seminar helped in improving 442 participants’ knowledge and understanding of learning disabilities and some management and support strategies.

Padmore talks about the different remarks and its effect on children

Padmore talks about the different remarks and its effect on children

Our Partners

This project is being run nationwide in partnership with CLED Ghana. Campaign For Learning Disabilities (CLED Ghana) is a nonprofit organization in Ghana registered under the Registrar Generals Department of the republic of Ghana, as a Non-Governmental Organization (N.G.O.) and it has been incorporated under the Ghana Companies Code 1963 (ACT 179) and issued with certificate number G-39,991. CLED Ghana seeks to form a partnership to develop, empower and support children and youth with learning disabilities have every opportunity to succeed in school, work and life through: advocacy, education, health assistance, training services, support research; life skills leadership and career coaching and support.

OLA COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

Is a teacher training institution located at cape coast in the central region of Ghana, West Africa.

Background to the seminar

One of the key issues surrounding participation in basic schooling both in Ghana and the world over is the phenomenon of specific learning disability. Learning disability is known not as a single condition but an umbrella condition that is not well understood. In this regard questions and answers that lead our community fora and seminars indicate that Ghanaian communities, parents and teachers have very little or no knowledge about children/youth with Specific Learning Disabilities. As a result, they consider them as lazy, useless and parents use them for their economic activities and as surrogate parents while they face hate crime from teachers, peers and families. Our observational visit in some schools also revealed that, Ghana Education System does not provide sufficient support to pupils with specific learning difficulties. The rationale for this seminar argues that unless Learning disability is understood by teacher trainees, they will not be able to provide any meaningful support and intervention to pupils with learning disabilities in the mainstream school system. It is against this background that Patriots Ghana in partnership with CLED Ghana and OLA college of education in Ghana organized this seminar to equip student teacher trainees’ with knowledge and understanding of Specific Learning Difficulties; its causes, signs and the necessary support strategies needed to ensure that pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties experience optimum quality education, able to access the curriculum and be inclusive so that they can reach their maximum potential possible.

Section of student-teachers at the seminar

Section of student-teachers at the seminar

THE SEMINAR ACTIVITIES

The seminar was held on Monday 1st of April 2013 from 10am to 12.30pm in the OLA College of Education’s Assembly Hall in the Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly of the Central Region of Ghana, West Africa between the hours 8:00am to 12:30pm. An opening and a closing prayer was said by Rev. John Manso-Hamilton of the OLA College of Education, the host institution. Welcome address was given by Mrs. Rose Buah-Bassuah, Head of Education Department of the OLA College of Education, the host institution. Dr. (Mrs.) Nana Ama Browne Klutse of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission; University of Cape Coast and the Chairperson for CLED Ghana gave the purpose for the seminar. She also educated participants on specific learning disabilities, its causes and effects. Mr. Eric Opoku Agyemang, the National Coordinator of Patriots Ghana schooled the participants on the aims and activities of CLED Ghana and Patriots Ghana. Mr. Eric Kpegah a Special Education Resource Officer from Ghana Education service and also a volunteer for CLED Ghana schooled the participants on signs and characteristics of children with learning disabilities. The Programme Coordinator of CLED Ghana Mr. Padmore Abeku Quansah, also took the participants through specific types of learning disabilities, nine intelligence and some classroom support strategies.

Questions and answers

In all participants were given platform to ask questions and their questions were addressed by the facilitators. Closing remarks Rev. John Manso-Hamilton of the OLA College of Education, the host institution in his closing remarks entreated the students to make good use of the knowledge gained at the seminar when they enter the teaching profession.

Questions and answers section

Questions and answers section

Other activities

After the seminar, Patriots Ghana and CLED Ghana team met with some college authorities to discuss a formal partnership memorandum of understanding to create a Chapter of Patriots Ghana on campus and also for CLED to continue training of inflow of student teachers. We came to a consensus that a document on the MOU be sent to the Principal of the College for his perusal.

STATISTICS ON PARTICIPATION

a. Patriots Ghana Rep 2 males b. CLED members present were 3 male and 1 female c. College Staff present 3 males and 2 females d. Student Teacher Trainees present were 442 females e. Other NGOs representatives present 4 Total: 457 Participants Outcome/ Results of the Seminar A post seminar interview with some lecturers and the students revealed that: • Pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties in Ghana will now have access to at least 442 teachers with enhanced knowledge and critical understanding of specific learning difficulties • Ghana will now have 442 teachers from OLA College of Education with skills and knowledge to provide the needed support to learners with such difficulties under their tutelage. • 442 student teachers now understand the broad range of learning needs encompassed in the term of Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Scotopic Sensitivity or Meares-Irlen Syndrome). • 442 student teachers also now understand learning disabilities terminology, definition, causes, signs, implications for teaching and classroom support strategies.

CHALLENGES

The major challenges to the seminar were funds to procure resources for participants to practice and demonstrate support strategies discussed with them; give participants handouts and to provide some snacks participants for the long hours spent on this day.

LESSONS LEARNED

We learnt that, involvement others especially the beneficiary, earned their commitment, trust, participation and support. We learnt that collaborating with other NGOs erase duplication of programme, resources but create room for empowerment, sharing experiences and expertises. We learned through pre and post seminar questions and answers, interview sessions that, the participants were having very little or no knowledge about specific learning disabilities.

EXPECTATION AND THE WAY FORWARD

To replicate and up-scale this initiative to other teacher training colleges (37) in Ghana and also to sign MOU with colleges of education and make this programme a regular feature of their academic calendar.

CONCLUSION

The response through post seminar questions and answers, open discussions, and, phone-calls etc are a clear indication that a major and lasting impact has been made and require to be sustained and replicated so as to eventually reach the avowed target of improving teachers understand and knowledge of learning disabilities terminology, definition, causes, signs, implications for teaching and classroom support strategies

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

There should be more training on learning disabilities for teachers • In-service training for teachers must be done termly • Government and development partners should consider supporting and collaborating with NGOs working in the area of Learning Disabilities.

Responses from Some Participants

“I joined the seminar to help me prepare for teaching to meet the needs of learners with learning disabilities,” said a student. “I enjoy being part of this programme, because I learn how to deal with children with learning disabilities.” Mrs. Meteku CEO of OSANKO a retired educationist who attended this seminar said “I think this seminar provides an alternative approach to strengthening student teacher trainees’ preparation that could be used to enhance knowledge of teacher trainees in other 37 teacher training colleges.” I think this could help pupils with Learning disabilities succeed in school. Mr. Affenyi Robert student from University of Cape Coast who attended the seminar said ‘In a country where we are now practicing inclusive education, this seminar offers a cost-effective alternative to delivering learning opportunities on children with learning disabilities to teacher trainees. It also offers Ghana the chance to break the vicious cycle of exclusion, and poor performance in school.’

Some Contacts For Seminar Verification

Dr. (Mrs.) Nana Ama Browne Klutse (Ghana Atomic Energy Commission):+233 244983637 Rev. John Manso-Hamilton, a lecturer of the OLA College of Education: +233 Mr. Daniel Bakah (CEO of Youth As A Mission Development Association):+233 247650915 Mrs. Meteku (CEO of OSANKO): +233 244108476 Mr. Eric Opoku Agyemang (National Coordinator of Patriots Ghana):+233 262626182

APPRECIATION

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Almighty God for gracing and making this seminar a success. We are also thankful to CLED Ghana and Learning Disability Carers Community of United Kingdom not only for their support for this seminar but also the time we spent working together on the seminar. We are also grateful for the platform and supports given us by the Management of OLA College of Education in Ghana to have such a seminar with their student teacher trainees. Next, we extent our appreciation to Youth As A Mission Development Association, OSANKO, Vision Rural Development Foundation and Friends of the Disabled Club of OLA College of Education. We are grateful to all the student teachers who assisted us during the seminar period. Finally we thank all those who participated in this seminar especially the student teacher trainees whose cooperation made the completion of this seminar successful. Many thanks to everyone who spent time reading this report. Blessings!

Patriots Ghana Team

The team after the seminar

The team after the seminar

questions and answers

questions and answers

The panel that lead the presentation

The panel that lead the presentation

Sample schedule

Sample schedule