|Hardi Tijani, Exec. Dir. RAINS|
The Regional Advisory Information and Network Systems (RAINS), a Non-governmental organization based in Tamale, has partnered with ‘Hope for Children’, UK, for the implementation of Childhood Regained Project (CRP) in the Savelugu-Nanton Municipality and West Mamprusi District.
The two organizations, marked the inception of Phase II of the project through a community durbar, organized recently to sensitize communities on the ‘outcomes and strategies of the project’. They also used the occasion to donate uniforms and learning materials to pupils of Zokuga and Nanton-Kurugu community schools.
The items included 160 pieces of school uniforms, 2, 160 pieces of exercise books, 30 boxes of pencils, 20 boxes of pens, 2 cartons of chalk, 20 boxes of erasers, 8 footballs, 2 sets of jerseys, 4 first aid boxes, 10 skipping ropes and 200 school bags to school children in Nanton-Kurugu and Zokuga in the Savelugu-Nanton Municipality.
The Childhood Regained Project (CRP II) aims at sustaining and consolidating the gains made in the Phase I and to bring about an integrated model to community development- a model capable of being replicated in other areas by other development partners.
The project which is funded by Comic Relief, UK, uses similar strategies that were adopted in the phase I albeit with little adjustments and additions reflecting recommendations of the Phase I project evaluations and lessons learnt from its implementation.
The Project focuses on promoting child rights, reducing child labour and exploitation in rural communities in the Northern Region, and aims at empowering local community structures to effectively promote positive change that will enrich the lives of beneficiaries and communities.
According to the Project Officer, Munira Musah, an estimated 3,700 children and another 6,500 members from Daboya No. 2 and Nayorku in the West Mamprusi District and Nanton-Kurugu and Zokuga in the Savelugu-Nanton Municipality in the Northern Region of Ghana are being supported in diverse ways through the project.
|Pupils of Zokuga School pose for a picture after wearing new uniforms|
Ms. Musah explained that, an estimated 2,500 children who are at risk of dropping out from school will get the opportunity to have continued quality education. “It’s an outcome that targets in-school children called ‘Stars’ under the project”, she told Savannahnews.
The project also estimated that “1,200 children who are engaged in exploitative child labour will go through 9 months of transitional education and mainstreamed into formal education or skills training. This outcome on the other hand, targets out-of-school children called ‘The Eagles’, she noted.
She also mentioned that through the project livelihood component, about 1,500 women and families are expected to sustainably fund their children’s access to quality education or training by the end of the project. This, she said, targets the mothers of the children who are direct beneficiaries –the ‘Stars’ and the ‘Eagles’ mothers in the communities.
Opinion leaders, school management committees (SMCs), parent teacher associations (PTAs), social welfare and the department of gender and children among others, Ms. Musah explained, will also have their capacity enhanced to be able to protect 3,300 children in six schools from abuse.
|Before receiving uniforms/learning materials|
The Savelugu-Nanton Municipality is at the moment struggling to redeem its sinking image in the education sector since it took the bottom spot in the 2013 nationwide Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). Besides, of the 22 Junior High Schools presented by the Municipal Directorate of the Ghana Education Service (GES) for the 2012 BECE, 15 schools scored below 40 percent representing 68.20 percent.
But, there are underlying causes to the poor performances of schools and pupils in this municipality. Authorities cite candidates lack of adequate understanding of simple concepts in their subject areas; incomplete coverage of syllabus/loss of contact hours; weak foundation at the primary level; poor attitude of teachers towards work; lack of standardized mode of assessment to track schools performances and high level of truancy among BECE candidates after registration.
Other reasons given are inappropriate use of instructional hours by teachers; lack of parental supervision and monitoring of children’s learning behaviour; negative peer influence; inadequate or poor supervision of schools by GES officials as well as mass promotion of pupils to the next class at the end of academic years.
The NGO Desk Officer at the Savelugu-Nanton Municipal Education Directorate Mohammed Abdul-Rashid told Savannahnews that, steps are currently being taken in collaboration with the Municipal Chief Executive to address the challenges confronting quality education delivery in the area.
Mr. Abdul-Rashid urged the PTAs and SMCs to reciprocate their gesture for the support being offered by RAINS and Hope for Children, and show serious commitment in the effective running and management of schools in their communities.
RAINS, is a non-governmental organisation set up by a group of social development activists in Northern Ghana in 1993. Since its foundation, RAINS has focused on improving the quality of life particularly for children, women, girls and the disabled in the Northern Region.