World Education Incorporated, a non-for-profit organisation, says it will continue efforts to bridge the gap and enhance access to education for vulnerable and marginalised girls in the country.
Mrs Susan Adu-Aryee, the Country Director of World Education Ghana, said the organisation aimed to improve the lives of marginalised people through non-formal education, formal and training, institutional development support and targeted technical assistance.
She was speaking on the recent working visit of Margaret Crotty, the President of World Education and John Snow Incorporated to Ghana to familiarise herself with the operations of the network in the country.
In the last five years, World Education Ghana has spearheaded the Strategic Approaches to Girls’ Education (STAGE) has been one of the major projects that aims to lower the barriers that vulnerable and marginalised girls face in achieving education through the outcomes of learning, transition, and long-term sustainability.
The STAGE project, which started as an accelerated learning programme and transitioned to normal education, has so far reached out to about 17,000 girls, half of which are between the ages of 10 and 14 years.
The other cohort under consideration is women who have never been to school or dropped out of school between the ages of 15 and 19 years in seven of the 16 regions in Ghana.
Close to 9,000 women fell within this category and went to an accelerated training programme for six months. At the same time, they were taken through technical training and then they transitioned into the world of work with a seed capital.
“We have good stories to tell about retaining girls in school. For the past two years, we have remained close to 92 percent of the 3,000 girls we sent to 300 formal schools in four of the northern regions of Ghana,” Mrs Adu-Aryee said.
Despite various government interventions such as abolition of school fees, provision of capitation grants to schools, school feeding, teacher training and provision of free school uniforms and textbooks, Ghana still needed to ensure that all children are in school.
Under the first component of learning, the girls acquire literacy, numeracy and life skills through accelerated learning programmes and are transitioned in the Second component into a formal, vocational learning opportunities or some form of employment.
The third component is sustainability during which communities, schools and systems in Ghana evolve to continuously improve the lives of marginalised girls.
Mrs Adu-Aryee lauded the contributions of its many partners and international donors to impact the lives of marginalised girls and restoring their hopes of getting a second chance either through vocation or formal education.
“World Education has been in Ghana for the past 21 years, in the area of education we have focused on girls’ education, HIV/AIDS education, use of inclusive approach to reach people with disability, early grade reading in basic schools, formal education, etc. and all these we targeted areas which are very hard to reach and which people may have forgotten about, with limited services.
“A key component of our programme also is the sensitisation of parents and community members to understand why girls must go to school. We are in talks with government at the national level and district, municipal assemblies and social on the ground to retain the programme,” she said.
Chief of Party, JSI, Dr Henry Nagai, on his part, mentioned the Care Continue Project (CCP), Immunisation Project (IP) Country Health Information Systems and Data use project (CHISD), National Malaria Control Programme, as some of the numerous health sector-related programmes that have been initiated, executed, and continuing by the two sister organisations in the country.
“Nutrition-related interventions are very key to our programmes. Women and girls are targeted to benefit more from formal education, vocational training, and work opportunity as well as reproductive health to be able to protect themselves,” he emphasised.
The JSI has also helped to triple the number of people receiving antiretroviral therapy, increased the number of people getting tested for HIV and deepen understanding of treatment for HIV.