VCD, CEANA Support Agordoe Community With Pedestrian Footbridge

Vcd And Ceana Support The Community With A Feet Pedestrian Footbridge
Vcd And Ceana Support The Community With A Feet Pedestrian Footbridge

The Volta Community Development Incorporated (VCD), a United States (US) based non-profit organization in collaboration with the Council for Ewe Associations of North America Incorporated (CEANA) has completed and maintained a two hundred (200) feet pedestrian steel footbridge over River Tordzi not only to create easy access to the Agordoe community in the Akatsi South Municipality of the Volta Region but more importantly enable school children in the village to walk safely to school and back. The gesture has partially eliminated the hustle and bustle of more than forty (40) pupils who hitherto had to swim across part of the Tordzi River and subsequently walk for hours to school.

Agordoe is purely a small-populated farming and fishing community. Its geographical location cuts off the village from the rest of its surrounding towns like Torve, Tordzinu, and Tsavanya.

For several years, children of the Agordoe village had to swim across the local Tordzi River to reach the nearest school community at Tsavanya for their education. The children would leave home for school between 5:30 a.m. and 6.00 a.m. on foot to the riverside. They put their uniforms and books in basins and held them while swimming across the river. The lucky children who could not swim were ferried across the river using a canoe provided by the Akatsi South Municipal Assembly.

During low tides, these children would hold such uniforms and learning materials high above the river when traversing the water to the other side. On the other side of the river, they would dress up again before trekking further to school. When these children arrived at school, it would have been 8:30 a.m. or 9:00 a.m., and the first two periods would have been over.

Because of the daring and burning desire of these children to go to school, some of them used deadly means of getting to the other side of the river. They hopped and walked on logs and big branches of trees along the river bank to cross the river to the other side.

Another barrier the school children have to, and continue to contend with is the long distance they have to walk to school daily. In all, young children walk for about fourteen (14) kilometres from Monday to Friday in the quest for Basic education, which is not only a right but also a key to unlocking their total development.

Apart from Tsavanya, some children attend school at Torve, the other closest town to Agordoe. Nonetheless, they still have to walk for several hours and swim across two rivers to school. The result is that the study periods of these children become insufficient, apart from the fact that they also end up studying for just a few hours in school in readiness for the same external examinations they have to write with their colleagues in other well-endowed communities across the country.

Pregnant women, as well as nursing mothers, have not been spared this agony. They have had to brace the odds to save their lives as well as those of their babies and unborn children. Our team met a few of the pupils from the Agordoe community during the tour. One of them, Master Maxwell Kpodo of the Tsavanya D. A. Basic School, who spoke with our news team, said they had come to terms with the reality that they have been born into such an environment, adding that they have grown to accept the situation despite their efforts to improve their lot.

Thanks to the collaboration efforts of VCD and CEANA, this challenge has become a thing of the past, though more still needs to be done. It is against this background that these two Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have constructed and maintained the pedestrian bridge over river Tordzi to enable the children to walk to and from school. Many residents and stakeholders, including the schoolchildren and beneficiaries, have commended this singular gesture.

This giant project, officially completed on Tuesday, 9th May 2023, serves several schoolchildren from the Agordoe community who are currently using the bridge for school at the Tsavanya D.A. Basic School.

They told our news team that the pedestrian footbridge served a good purpose in their lives. Master Maxwell Kpodo expressed gratitude to VCD and CEANA for such an act of kindness, adding that they expected more NGOs to further assist them in extending the bridge project to cover the other tributaries of the river.

The same concern and wish were also shared by three (3) nursing mothers our news team bounced into while on its way to the bridge site. Miss Forgive Ege, a nursing mother from Agordoe told our news team that such support would make life a bit bearable for their children who go to school every day at Tsavanya and Torve D.A. Basic Schools.

Headteacher of the Tsavanya D.A. Basic School, Rev. Wisdom Hodor, commended VCD and CEANA for their pedestrian bridge support to the Agordoe community in general and the school children in particular. According to him, eight (8) pupils from Agordoe are currently enrolled, saying they are dotted in between P1 and P6.

He described them as brilliant and hardworking pupils. Rev. Hodor added that some pupils from the Agordoe community had earlier schooled and passed out from the Tsavanya School, adding that the Agordoe pupils are also resilient children.

The plight of school children at Agordoe remains a big challenge. Though the provision of the pedestrian footbridge has been beneficial to a large extent in ameliorating some of the difficulties these future leaders are in, the school children still travel out of Agordoe over the seven-kilometre distance to school at Tsavanya and Torve daily. This is because the six (6) unit classroom block edifice built by the Akatsi South Municipal Assembly for the community some years ago, has become a white elephant.

Teachers posted to the Agordoe community year after year have refused to accept such postings to the area because of lack of electricity, good drinking water, poor access road as well as the difficulty in crossing the Tordzi River to the Agordoe community. Closely related to this problem is the issue of decent residential accommodation for teachers posted to the community.

A citizen of Agordoe, Paa William Kwame Aduyor, told our news team that the major challenge facing the people of Agordoe is the fact that they have been completely cut off by the River Tordzi from the surrounding or sister communities such as Torve, Tordzinu, and Tsavanya. According to him, it is only during the dry season, that is, between late November and early March, that one can easily commute to Agordoe through Torve either with a motorbike or a rickety vehicle.

Mr. Aduyor noted that the plight of Agordoe and its people has manifested itself in the educational challenges of the school children of the community, lack of potable water and electricity, poor access roads, difficulty in accessing healthcare services by pregnant women, nursing mothers, and the general population as well as challenges faced in transporting farm produce such as maize, sugarcane, pepper, tomatoes, cassava and beans from Agordoe to nearby marketing centres at Akatsi, Abor, Sogakope, Dabala, and Ave Dakpa.

Mr. Aduyor used the opportunity to appeal to VCD and CEANA to further assist the community in overcoming its current challenges of lack of electricity and clean water, poor access roads, bridging the other tributary of the Tordzi River as well as ensuring the provision of essential school supplies for the children. The same wish was also expressed by Master Maxwell Kpodo of the Tsavanya D.A. Basic School as well as Miss Forgive Ege, a nursing mother from the Agordoe community.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 on Quality Education, ‘ensures that all girls and boys complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030. It also aims to provide equal access to affordable vocational training to eliminate gender and wealth disparities and achieve universal access to quality higher education.

Educational stakeholders at Agordoe strongly believe that when these essential needs of the Agordoe community are squarely met, it would go a long way to address the deep disparities that continue to militate against quality education in the Agordoe community.

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