The Participatory Action for Rural Development Alternative (PARDA), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) working in Northern Ghana and the Children Believe Ghana, have held a welcome party for about 800 pupils in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region.
The gesture was part of initiatives by the two Organizations intended to encourage the pupils to stay in school and take their academic activities seriously as they lost contact hours for about 10 months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The beneficiary schools include; Nayagnia, Abulu and Gwenia Primary Schools in the Kassena-Nankana West District and the Najupong cluster of schools in the Builsa North Municipality.
Dr Michael Wombeogo, the Director of PARDA in an interview with Journalists after the distribution of the food and soft drinks to the pupils said “The intention was to whip up love and social cohesion among the children, communities, their parents and society.”
He said it was a project that they would continue to uphold within the next 15 years if they had continuous partnership relationship with the communities.
He said when children continued to socialize, they would imbibe in themselves good social cohesion, create and foster relationships that would not only be for playing, but also engender them to impact that into the larger society.
He said “It is a way of welcoming them back to school, we used to do this activity at Christmas, but we could not do it during the heat of COVID-19, when they were at home. Now that they have resumed, we termed it ‘Back to School Party’ so that they will feel the same way like their counterparts elsewhere enjoying a similar programme.”
Dr Wombeogo said owing to the greater numbers of pupils involved in the programme, they concentrated only on some schools in the Kassena-Nankana West District this year after a similar gesture was done in the Builsa North Municipality last year.
Mr Pascal Gyireh, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for Children Believe Ghana, said his outfit was a child-focus organisation concentrated on empowering children to reach their full potentials.
He said after a long stay at home as a result of the closure of schools, some pupils might lose interest in school, considering the Coronavirus pandemic coupled with fears among some sections of the public.
Mr Gyireh reiterated that “Basically, it is something we have been doing every year with the children; we turned it around this year to help motivate and encourage them to come back to school through these kinds of activities.”
The Officer, who could not immediately give the cost involved in the activities, explained that about four different local NGOs in three Regions were involved in the activities, and each had a cost that was associated with the party for the children.
He said apart from the parties, they undertook awareness creation on COVID-19 and distributed items including; hygiene materials to adolescent girls, “We are investing significant amount of money into it,” he added.