Apply to Join

Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School

by Self-Help International
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School

This report was written by George Amo, NABCO Support Staff, and Jessica Crawford, Program Specialist for Africa. It was edited by Megan Sehr, Director of Development.

Self-Help International’s Teen Girls Club (TGC) program had recently revised their model to include additional time for English language tutoring. Participants had identified this as a major interest area and the school system supported the additional lessons. Self-Help partners with local teachers to offer additional time each week for TGC participants to practice their English and receive guidance from trained teachers. Self-Help’s team was seeing great success with this model and participants were very engaged. 

Then, in early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic emerged and shifted things in ways staff could not have anticipated: Ghana’s schools closed with no sign or date of re-opening; distance learning options were limited due to lack of internet and other resources; and it wasn’t safe to gather in groups and travel was restricted - and at times forbidden completely - to mitigate the spread of the virus. Self-Help’s team knew from lessons learned during previous epidemics like Ebola that girls and women often see the largest and most negative long-term impacts from school closures. Self-Help’s staff maintained communication with TGC Community Coordinators and were hearing that the girls were already feeling like they would forget all of the lessons from school.

How could Self-Help’s TGC team keep girls engaged and ready to return to school when schools did reopen? 

Many of the teachers that were facilitating the reading lessons during the after-school program were not from the immediate community, so they were not available to continue tutoring. However, since all schools were closed, some Senior High School (SHS) alumni from the TGC were back in the community. Self-Help staff saw a unique opportunity to engage these young women in the solution: they could provide a leadership opportunity for SHS girls while keeping both the SHS and Junior High School (JHS) girls involved in learning. 

The team developed a peer-to-peer learning system that divided TGC participants into small groups based on their class level. This both allowed the groups to follow appropriate physical distancing guidelines while also ensuring no one in the group would be left behind. 

This model was even more successful than staff had anticipated. Self-Help staff saw SHS girls stepping up as leaders of the group, gaining confidence, and reinforcing their own learning as they taught others. The groups have also formed unique bonds among their fellow learners. Many of the girls have felt more comfortable asking questions in a group of their peers and have the opportunity to work through those challenges together instead of being provided the answers by a teacher. 

Since forming these groups as tutoring teams, staff have started delivering other trainings and content for the girls such as lessons focused on goal-setting, self-esteem, and leadership. Operating in these same small groups helps to ensure girls and staff can maintain appropriate social distances while still benefiting from the program. Final year students at JHS and SHS have returned to school to take their final exams before the summer break. It’s still not known if classes will resume in the fall. Self-Help staff were so proud that all TGC participants and alumni returned to school to sit for the exams. 

Situations are unpredictable and circumstances changing rapidly due to COVID-19. TGC staff don’t know exactly what the program will look like in the coming months, but they are proud of the girls as they have eagerly embraced this new, temporary model, and are excited to see how they can carry these lessons into the future.



Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
The Teen Girls Club makes masks!
The Teen Girls Club makes masks!

Self-Help International's Teen Girls Club started in the Ashanti Region of Ghana in 2016 with the purpose of empowering young girls to get a senior high school and college education and to be economically independent in the future. Teen Girls Club members receive academic support from Self-Help, and Self-Help staff work with the girls’ teachers to help the teachers organise extra classes after school for the girls. Sometimes, Self-Help helps supply academic materials they may not be able to access. Self-Help also teaches the girls hands-on skills that will equip them to have more opportunities in their future education or careers.

As part of the skills training, Self-Help staff taught Teen Girls Club how to use needles and thread to do embroidery. Girls are able to use these embroidery skills to mend their uniforms and clothing with minor rips or tears, extending the life of their clothes. 

In March 2020, Teen Girls Club members were suddenly faced with another relevant and important way to put their embroidery skills to use: sewing face masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

In an effort to address the spread of COVID-19 through community transmission, the government in Ghana put in place various safety measures throughout many areas of the country. Travel is limited, group meetings are restricted, and face masks are required when in public. Self-Help, in keeping with its mission to help people to help themselves, worked with the girls to identify skills they already possessed that could help keep them and their families safe. 

The Teen Girls Club coordinators worked with the girls to sew their own masks, using the embroidery skills they had previously learned. The pattern was provided by a seamstress named Sarah, a small business owner in Self-Help’s micro-credit program. Sarah also provided face masks for Self-Help staff to wear. Read all about how Sarah started sewing face masks here.

For Self-Help staff, it was amazing to see the girls in smaller groups practicing social distancing and seriously using their needles and thread to sew their own nose masks. The girls in the club are very grateful to Self-Help because, in spite of the pandemic, they have learned new skills while making face masks. They are now able to make one for themselves, their friends, and their family members.

In addition to making the face masks, Self-Help staff taught the girls proper handwashing techniques and advised the girls to maintain social distancing based on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ghana Health Service. 

Sewing masks by hand.
Sewing masks by hand.
Sewing masks by hand.
Sewing masks by hand.

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
We're so grateful for YOU!
We're so grateful for YOU!

A few weeks ago, you empowered 400 young women in Ghana to keep pursuing their education by making a gift to the Self-Help Teen Girls Club through the GlobalGiving Girl Fund Campaign!

Before the campaign, we set a goal to raise $3,500 from 95 supporters between Mar. 6-13. You went above and beyond. Not only did you personally support the Teen Girls Club - you invited your friends, family, and colleagues to join you.

Thanks to your mobilization efforts, 236 people came together to raise $9,841 to provide after-school tutoring, life-skills training, girls’ health lessons, and confidence-building sessions to girls in 5 communities.

The Teen Girls Club finished in 9th place in the Girl Fund and didn’t make it into the 2020 Girl Fund cohort, but you changed the lives of 400 young women and pushed other projects in the Girl Fund to raise money to empower women and girls around the world.

In total, the GlobalGiving’s Girl Fund raised $280,445 from 6,728 supporters for women and girls everywhere.  The organizations in the 2020 Girl Fund cohort are doing amazing things to champion women and girls, including: improving the livelihoods of women in rural Kenya; helping girls in Kenya stay in school; improving girls’ access to education in Senegal; empowering girls in Africa with sanitary supplies and girls’ health education; training girls in India to be “peer health educators” in low-income schools; educating and employing girls living in extreme poverty in the Dominican Republic; improving gender equity through clean water access in Rwanda; and providing training to at-risk girls in Uganda about topics like gender equity, girls’ health, etc.

Thank you so much to all of you who made this year’s Girl Fund such a success!  Keep an eye out for a project report from the same email address in about 6-8 weeks so you can learn more about the impact you made possible for so many more young women in Ghana!

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Headmaster Ernest working with the Teen Girls Club
Headmaster Ernest working with the Teen Girls Club

The Teen Girls Club is competing for a spot in the 2020 GlobalGiving Girl Fund, and we need your help! Between March 6-13, Self-Help's Teen Girls Club project on is competing for one of eight year-long slots in the GlobalGiving Girl Fund. The eight winning projects will receive monthly funding from the Girl Fund. Girl Fund winners from the past three years have raised between $10,000-$15,000 during their 12 months of funding.

To automatically get a spot, Self-Help's Teen Girls Club needs to be one of two projects with the greatest number of unique donors that made gifts of $10 or more. To qualify for a peer-led selection process to determine the last six spots, the Teen Girls Club needs to be one of 15 projects with the greatest number of unique donors that made gifts of $10 or more.

How can you help? By making a gift of $10 or more on GlobalGiving.org to the Teen Girls Club between March 6-13 and urging your friends and family to do the same! Click here to see the terms and conditions.

Nkontomire is a small community located in the Atwima Nwabiagya Municipality in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. It is about 40 kilometers from Kumasi with a population of approximately 500 people. It is a rural community with basic social amenities such as safe drinking water, electricity, and a school. Most of the people are into farming; they cultivate large quantities to feed their households and also for commercial use. Some people are also into cash crop farming such as cocoa. Due to the great contribution the community makes to the agricultural sector, it has attracted many community development interventions from non-governmental organizations such as Solidaridad, MOPCCA, and Self-Help International.

One of the active interventions in the community is Self-Help’s Teen Girls Club which was introduced in 2017. The club is focused on young girls, and its main purpose is to help teen girls achieve academic success and go on to senior high school. The club also teaches skills for girls to support themselves and lessons in self-esteem.

Nkontomire M/A primary school is a government school headed by Headmaster Ernest with about 350 students, 55 percent of which are girls. It lacks adequate reading materials, computers and other learning equipment. The headmaster is an advocate for the school’s development, so he has encouraged his students to join the Teen Girls Club. He has also given Self-Help an opportunity to meet club members for reading practice and other lessons at the school.

When the club began, the girls were challenged in many ways. Nearly all of the club members could neither read nor construct simple sentences as a result of the school lacking reading materials to teach properly. Also, girls’ enrollment was decreasing because most of the girls lacked information on what to do during menstruation. During their periods, some did not go to school at all while others sought permission to go home. Personal hygiene was another issue the girls faced. They had low self-esteem and confidence. Most of them were too shy to ask questions during meetings or in class.

Despite the challenges that could have hindered the girls, they understood what the Teen Girls Club was about and were committed from the start. As part of the program, Self-Help provided the school with standard reading materials to enhance the girls’ reading and writing skills. Life support skills and other training, such as self-esteem, goal setting, personal hygiene, reproductive health, etc. were added with the hope that these lessons would change their lives. They developed the habit of reading and started making progress in class. This encouraged the headmaster and three other teachers from the school to volunteer to teach the girls after school hours.

Now, the ‘old’ girls are gone and a great change is here. Almost all of the girls are able to read and write. They understand their menstrual cycle and do not miss school during it. Participants have higher self-esteem and confidence, and nonmembers are feeling inspired to join the group.

The headmaster expressed his profound gratitude to Self-Help, noting that the intervention has indeed created more awareness of girls’ issues at the school, increased girls’ enrollment, provided reading materials for the school, and created structure and discipline for the girls. Everyone at the school involved with the Teen Girls Club program would like to convey their appreciation for the great impact and support.

Teen Girls Club
Teen Girls Club
Teen Girls Club
Teen Girls Club
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Adwoa.
Adwoa.

Adwoa is the only daughter of her parents’ eight children. Her family migrated from the Ivory Coast to the small village of Yawmensah in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. 

Yawmensah is a very small village, and it doesn’t have a school. After Adwoa’s family settled there, Adwoa had to walk around 2 km (1.2 mi) every day to school in the larger neighboring community, Timeabu. 

Since Adwoa’s mother tongue was French and classes in Ghana are taught in either English or Twi (one of the major languages in Ghana), studies became difficult for her. Adwoa had difficulty communicating with her teachers and her peers, which made being in school very uncomfortable for her. Adwoa’s situation continued to worsen, and she was asked to repeat a grade in school. This impacted Adwoa’s social life and isolated her from her peers. 

During this time, Adwoa heard about Self-Help International’s Teen Girls Club, which aims to help teen girls in rural communities with reading, writing, life skills training, and moving upward through school. Adwoa eagerly joined in 2016. She knew that her struggles were rooted in not being able to communicate at school, so she took the reading and writing class seriously. Adwoa said that, although the club was helping immensely, Self-Help’s Project Coordinator, Victoria, was the one who saw her plight and provided additional assistance and support.

After a year, Adwoa - who previously could hardly write, speak, or understand English and Twi - was learning at an accelerating rate, and her learning was reflected in all the subjects she was studying at school. Adwoa was promoted to the next grade level where she is now the second best student in her class. 

Additionally, her unbeatable performance in school qualified her for the 2019 inter-schools quiz in the district, a highly sought after and respected accomplishment in the district. Her teachers and the headmaster are all impressed by her performance. 

Adwoa is now a happy girl and feels proud of herself. She said the club has helped her academically and has also helped her improve her self-esteem.

Adwoa at school.
Adwoa at school.
Adwoa with her classmates.
Adwoa with her classmates.
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Self-Help International

Location: Waverly, IA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @SelfHelpIntl
Project Leader:
Nora Tobin
Waverly, IA United States
$39,059 raised of $45,000 goal
 
1,015 donations
$5,941 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Self-Help International has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:
Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.