You’re Making a Difference Here
Ghana was, until very recently, one of the poorest countries in the world. Over the past few years, the nation has experienced unprecedented growth and development (IFAD report; African Development Bank). Although the lives of Ghanaians have improved greatly, the country still faces many challenges, especially in the education sector.
In Ghana, 18% of primary-school-age children are not enrolled in school and of those who are in school, 28% will drop out before completing primary school (UNESCO, 2012). Additionally, over 28% of the Ghanaian population is illiterate and out of all the current primary school classrooms, the government estimates that almost a quarter need repairs (World Bank, 2014; USAID, 2009).
PoP works with 121 communities in Ghana to ensure that students overcome these and other barriers to accessing a quality education. To date, PoP has impacted over 273,549 lives in Ghana.
The Volta Region is located in southeastern Ghana, to the west of the Republic of Togo and just east of Lake Volta. In many of our partner communities in the region, PoP couples school builds with literacy programming in order to create sustainable change.
To date, we’ve built 124 schools in the Volta Region and have also provided our teacher training and educational programming to many PoP schools in the region.
Before Literacy Programming
The Bakpe community is located in the Volta Region of Ghana. The Sweetwater Foundation’s generous support enabled PoP to provide Bakpe’s students with access to quality literacy programming.
Before PoP distributed the e-readers, Bakpe’s classrooms had few, if any, books. This lack of reading material posed a great challenge to students in gaining proficiency in literacy. The Sweetwater Foundation is transforming the learning experience for Bakpe’s students, providing them with easy, transportable access to more books than they’ve ever been able to read before. Since every student has a personal e-reader, students take the devices home to practice the literacy skills they’re learning at school.
Your Impact with Teacher Support
The Sweetwater Foundation began providing students at Bakpe D.A. Preschool and Primary School with personal e-readers that come pre-loaded with over 150 books in English and the local language, in 2016. PoP has already seen positive impacts on student attitudes toward reading and literacy rates. For instance, in qualitative assessments of Ghanaian students who received e-readers in the 2015 school year, 99% reported reading after school. This number is more than double that of Ghanaian students who reported reading after school before they received e-readers. The Sweetwater Foundation is making literacy gains like this possible for students in the Bakpe community. In addition to the e-readers provided, the Foundation is also supporting the Teacher Support program which allows the 10 teachers of the Bakpe D.A. Preschool and Primary School to attend teacher workshops and coaching sessions. Teachers in the program are also given current, leading learning materials to bring to their preschool and primary aged students, and are taught how to integrate new literacy materials in the classroom.
The Foundation’s compassion is far-reaching—you’re not only providing students with access to a higher quality education but also, even more importantly, you’re providing them with the opportunity to reach their full potential and promise.
Interviews from Bakpe
Kuadadze – Student, 6th grade
What do you like most about school?
I enjoy coming to school because if I come I feel happy in my life and I learn to speak languages.
What is the name of your favorite story in the e-reader and why?
My favorite story is Ananse and the Foot port because I learned something from the story. I learned that if you are a person, you have to love others and not hate them.
Why do you love your e-reader?
I love my e-reader because I can bring it home and read stories that I like and use it in school to read stories in class.
Are you a part of the Hygiene Club? What is your favorite part?
Yes, I am a part of Hygiene Club. I like hygiene club because I get to learn about hygiene and teach my classmates and community about hygiene.
Daniel – Teacher, 5th grade
How has Pencils of Promise impacted your community?
They have done a lot, ranging from building classrooms to providing e-readers and teacher support to the new toilet facilities. These resources have really had a positive impact on the community and students are excited to come to school.
How have e-readers improved teaching?
The e-readers have improved teaching because before we did not have textbooks for English, so the e-readers give us stories to use in lessons but also come with their own lessons attached to stories.
How have e-readers impacted students reading?
The e-readers have really improved my students reading abilities. The students take the e-readers home, using them and are learning much quicker and are good at reading. The e-readers have helped the students become more interested in reading.
How has WASH impacted the school and the community?
Students are now practicing good handwashing because we have enough stations and they are learning about hygiene from the Hygiene Club. The community also gets to learn about safe handwashing and hygiene from the Hygiene Club.
What do you like about the new classroom blocks?
It has made teaching and learning easier because we don’t have to run when the weather gets bad. Students are able to attend school no matter the weather. Also, the campus looks better and makes students want to come to school.