The visiting UK Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Girls’ Education Helen Grant has commended the World Education Inc in Ghana and partners for the great work being done to support out of school girls to get an education and acquire economic empowerment skills.
“Girls’ education is a real game-changer and we believe that if you want to change the world for the better, girls’ education is the great thing to change,” she said during a visit to Porkrom Nsaba, one of the programme class sites of the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) supported Girl’s Education Challenge Programme in Ghana. Dubbed Strategic Approaches to Girls’ Education (STAGE), the programme aims to address girls’ education challenges, especially of the marginalized.
“Keep up your fantastic work; I am so proud of you,” she added.
The visit by the delegation to the STAGE Class was to enable them to understand Ghana’s education support for out-of-school children, speak with out-of-school girls, facilitators and community members about their experiences of non-formal community classes, including skills training, adolescent pregnancy and parenting, disability, and safeguarding.
The delegation observed teaching and learning during a literacy, numeracy and life skills lesson session by ICDP, a local NGO partner. They also visited an exhibition showcasing products made by learners following vocational skills training, and interacted directly with some learners to discuss their thoughts and aspirations.
Helen Grant said the UK’s vision was to see every girl on the planet, including every girl in Ghana, have quality education and ‘I am very proud to be witnessing it today.’
“We believe girls education is at the very heart of that success. We have seen what you are learning, what you are doing, hearing about your aspirations, your businesses. This is what is all about. This is how we are going to make the change,” she said.
She lauded the good relationship between the UK and Ghana of which education is a key component.
Alicia Herbert, UK Special Envoy for Gender Equality, encouraged the girls to continue with their dreams and praised them for their resolve to learn and acquire vital skills despite the significant challenges they were going through.
Briefing the delegation on the project, Mrs Susan Adu-Aryee, Country Director for World Education Inc in Ghana said the out of school children’s phenomenon and the critical need to address girls’ education issues have been priorities on the global agenda and for the Ghana government as well.
She said STAGE, which is a five-year programme, was targeting 17,500 girls between the ages of 10 and 19 years in seven out of the 16 regions in Ghana, including girls living with disabilities of different degrees.
The seven target regions are Eastern, Central, Volta, Upper East, Upper West, Northern and Oti.
“So far, in our work, we have identified girls in the hardest to reach areas that have been marginalized due to extreme poverty, illiteracy, early marriage, pregnancy, disabilities, high chore burdens, negative cultural norms, sexual abuse and other reasons.
These factors have compelled these girls to drop out of school before primary 4, while several others have lost the opportunity to start school in the first place,” she said.
Mrs Adu-Aryee said STAGE aimed to lower these barriers the girls face by supporting them to learn (literacy, numeracy, life skills and vocational skills) and transition along various pathways such as formal education or economic empowerment programmes . These programmes are expected to be sustained mainly by collaborating government institutions and communities in order to continue improving their lives.
So far, STAGE has transitioned about 7,800 girls to formal schools and 3, 200 girls into trade and vocational training.
“By August we should be transitioning another set of about 3,000 girls into economic empowerment programmes. All these girls are being supported and monitored closely by the local NGOs and community leaders and volunteers to ensure that the risk of dropout is highly reduced,” Mrs Adu-Aryee said.
“Your presence here is a testament that the UK government has not wavered in her commitment to make girls’ education a priority in the world. We look forward to the day all governments will put girls’ education on a similar pedestal. It will certainly make the world a better place,” she added.