CAMFED Ghana has implemented a number of education and empowerment programs for school children and young women as means of supporting them to find a pathway out of poverty for themselves and their families. The focus has been on addressing the unique challenges faced by young women from marginalized rural backgrounds.
A common thread in CAMFED’s programming has been the fact that interventions not only support marginalized children to access school and overcome the barriers that keep them from learning once they are in school, but also support them on the path to independent livelihoods after completing school.
A key intervention that CAMFED rolled out in the education space is the ‘My Better World’ (MBW) program. The MBW curriculum was designed with young people in Africa to help girls and boys in rural districts to succeed at school and make a successful post-school transition. The program helps students to build confidence, gain life and learning skills, set goals, and learn how to achieve them. CAMFED initially implemented the program in partnership with 18 senior high schools across 11 districts with funding from The Queen’s Trust.
Some 540 young women, who themselves had once faced significant barriers to their education, facilitated the modules in the MBW curriculum and reached 21,683 students in the Gomoa West, Abura Asebu Kwamankese, Mfantseman, Tamale Metro, West Mamprusi, West Gonja, Bole, Chereponi, Yendi, Bongo and East Mamprusi districts. The young women, part of the CAMFED Association of women leaders, volunteered at their local schools to deliver weekly sessions using this tailored curriculum to boost children’s aptitude for learning and enhance prospects after school.
CAMFED Learner Facilitators support the Young Africa Works program
CAMFED’s Learner Facilitators, who led the delivery of weekly sessions of the MBW curriculum, are playing a pivotal role supporting CAMFED’s implementation of the Young Africa Works program in Ghana. CAMFED, under the Young Africa Works program, is working to equip 210,000 young people (girls and boys) with work-readiness skills, and directly enable 70,000 young people to secure dignified and fulfilling employment. The anticipation is that 70 percent of jobs will be for women and over 65 percent will be newly-created through young women’s entrepreneurship, adding to the pool of employment opportunities for Ghanaian youth.
Under the Young Africa Works program implementation in Ghana, and through CAMFED’s MBW program, young women school graduates have returned to their local communities and schools to deliver the MBW self-development curriculum, helping to build young people’s work readiness and cultivate important skills to navigate the challenges they face. This curriculum is being delivered over a 12-month period through weekly sessions in class for both girls and boys. 840 young women will be operational across senior high schools in CAMFED’s regions of operation over the period of the Young Africa Works program.
In January 2020, a total of 320 Learning Facilitators were successfully posted to 83 partner schools in 37 districts across 11 regions of Ghana. By February 2020 and before school closures, Learner Facilitators had directly reached 40,578 learners across the 83 schools with the MBW program. Following nationwide school closures occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, Learner Facilitators were tasked to deliver the MBW curriculum to learners using social media and radio. WhatsApp groups comprising learners from partner and non-partner schools in CAMFED’s operational areas were created and by June 2020, 7,554 learners across 37 districts had received lessons from the Facilitators.
During their work in schools, the young women will identify children who may be particularly vulnerable to school drop-out and refer them to the local District Education Committee in order that they can be considered for additional support to ensure their retention and completion of senior high school. This in turn means that those young people who are particularly marginalized will join the pipeline to benefit from interventions in the post-school phase targeted at job creation and employment.
CAMFED is working with partners to expand the curriculum delivered by the young women to incorporate additional components focused on career planning and work-readiness and will create an online modular version that is made widely accessible. CAMFED will also work with the Ghana Education Service (the Guidance and Counselling Unit) to explore the potential for national roll-out of the curriculum, and for integration of the young women’s role with the Government of Ghana’s National Service Scheme employment initiative.
CAMFED partnership with the Ministry of Education and its departments and agencies, such as the Guidance and Counselling Unit and the Commission for Technical, Vocational Education and Training (CTVET), is key to the success of this program, and CAMFED is looking forward to ever-deeper collaboration under Young Africa Works in Ghana, showing just what is possible when young women lead.
CAMFED is a pan-African movement, revolutionising how girls’ education is delivered. Through a gold-standard system of accountability to the young people and communities it serves, it has created a model that radically improves girls’ prospects of becoming independent, influential women. CAMFED’s impact increases exponentially through the Association of young women educated with the organisation’s support.
Through the CAMFED Association, women are leading action on the big challenges their countries face – from child marriage, and girls’ exclusion from education, to climate change. This unique pan-African network of lawyers, doctors, educators, and entrepreneurs now numbers more than 150,000, and is growing exponentially as more girls complete school and join them.
Collectively, more than 3.3 million children have been supported to go to school across Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and nearly 5.7 million students have benefitted from an improved educational environment.