Half way through the year, we stop to reflect on a few of the key activities and achievements from the last six months.
Building Foundations for Life
The first few years of a child's education are important to inspire young learners that school is fun, interesting and worthwhile, however, many children in northern Ghana are confronted by bare classrooms, tired teachers and a 'chalk and talk' way of learning that would leave even engaged students uninspired.
Over the last two years, we've been working with 72 Kindergartens to transform the early years education environment. We’ve provided specialised training for KG teachers so they can create exciting, playful lessons in engaging learning spaces, and know how to involve the whole class using fun learning activities; from interactive class activities in the playground, to lessons using easy-to-find materials like straw and rocks to help with maths sums, we’ve seen an incredible impact.
Over 6,500 young students have benefitted from the improvements following the teacher training and resourcing of schools, and many more students are coming to class and passing their exams. Three out of every four children are now “achieving” in four key assessment areas!!
Bringing reading books to rural communities in partnership with Book Aid
In April, a shipment of 7,000 children’s books arrived in Accra, on their way into the hands of eager young readers in the north. As part of the People’s Postcode Lottery family of charities, we were introduced to Book Aid, an organisation which distributes donated books to charities and libraries across the world to bring reading to as many people as possible.
The colourful, bright books – from The Hungry Caterpillar to Solomon Crocodile – will soon be in the hands of young students in our partner schools, many of who are used to sharing one reading book among an entire class! Even our Ghana staff were fighting over them once the books arrived at the office!
Equipping children with 21st century skills - the ICT Academy
As we move towards an ever more technology-focused work place, ICT skills become more and more important. These 21st century skills allow young people to connect to the wider world while improving their employability prospects and helping them to thrive as active members of society.
In remote and rural corners of the world, computers are scarce and electricity can be temperamental, making ICT teaching a challenge. The AfriKids ICT Academy based in Bolgatanga city is making ICT learning a reality for school children in the surrounding area. We’ve been working with 20 Junior High Schools this year, who bring groups of students to weekly lessons with specially trained IT teachers. During the Easter holidays, 219 students attended extra classes, eager to expand their learning and build on their skills outside of term time.
This year, we have major plans to launch a mobile ICT lab which will allow us to take this service on the road and out to children in hard to reach rural areas. Watch this space!
Joe wins the Bond Humanitarian Award for 2018
Our longstanding project manager, Joe, received the Bond Humanitarian Award in February for his incredible efforts tackling the Spirit Child Phenomenon across northern Ghana.
Unfortunately, Joe wasn’t there to pick up the award himself but our Country Director, Nich, was in London with the UK team and received the award on Joe’s behalf. You can hear more from Joe in the Thomson Reuters interview here.
Pears Mothers & Babies Centre opens!
A huge renovation project funded by our friends at Pears Foundation saw the opening of the Pears Mothers & Babies Centre at Operation Smiles in March. Last year, the centre was being pushed to its limits and some of the washrooms were even being used as dormitories because of a lack of space.
The renovation project refurbished all of the old structures at the home, as well as building a new dormitory block, a purpose-built kitchen and better living quarters for Sister Jane and her team who support the mothers and babies who arrive at their door.
The centre can now comfortably house over 35 babies and their carers at any one time, which means more children like Dorcas and Doris (held here by Sister Jane) will be given the shelter, nutrition and healthcare they need at the start of their lives. Big thanks to Pears Foundation, and all those who gave through our Big Give appeal in December which helped to fund the project’s running costs for the first six months of this year!
Voice, Choice and Control - empowering young people with sexual health and rights education
In the fight against teenage pregnancy and child marriage, we are empowering young people with sexual health and rights education so they can make their own sexual and reproductive health choices – giving them more voice, choice and control.
As part of our Futures’ Freedom project, we’ve seen many more young people and women attending their local health centres to seek information and advice, as well as receiving treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV testing. The AfriKids Ghana team coordinate talks in communities and local schools which educate young people and adults on sexual health and rights, as well as sign posting them to health facilities and available services. The team have been very happy to see higher attendance and use of these services.
We’ve also helped hundreds of teenage girls to stay on top of their studies and stop them from falling behind by providing them with sanitary wear. 164 girls confirmed that these simple provisions helped them to remain in school throughout the month, because they were no longer embarrassed to attend during their period.
We get very excited about our growing network of AfriKids Change Makers and their amazing fundraising efforts. A couple of mentions from the last few months have to go out to Gabi Matthews and Tony Pullinger, who have really done us proud and are truly bringing big smiles to little faces this year.
Gabi held her second Back to Summer event in June, with performances from Lemar and Reggie n Bollie, raising an impressive £14,878 to support the work of Joe and his team which is transforming the lives of children living with disabilities in Sirigu.
Tony is taking on the 100 miles of the RideLondon event later this month alongside his son, Jack. He’s really gone for gold with his fundraising in the name of AfriKids.
He started with an ambitious target of £5,000 but has blown this out the water and is now heading quickly towards an impressive new target of £14,000! You can have a look at his page here, and support Jack's fundraising here.
Thank you to all those who have supported us this year. We could not continue to transform the lives of children and families without you and we hope you take pride in these achievements!
AfriKids UK Head Office:
AfriKids, Unit G05,
The Record Hall,
16-16A Baldwin's Gardens,
AfriKids Ghana Head Office:
PO Box 166
Upper East Region
Registered charity in England and Wales: 1141028
Registered NGO in Ghana: DSW/3024
Registered in The Netherlands. Tax no: 8238.13.289