It has been a long silence since we dupdated you on our activities under this project. Every September is a new academic year for schools in Ghana. This period is a time for students to change levels and for new students to be admitted. As a non profit organisation this period is very critical for our planning too as we engage these girls to plan for their activities in the coming academic year.
As part of the processes in promoting safe spaces for girls, Songtaba held meetings with 19 schools under this project to plan with them; to develop their work plans and also to see a smooth transition of some of the girls who have been part Songtaba programs. in this process, Songtaba also engaged communities for feedback and sustaibable strategies to keep girls safe.
This exercise was a successful and all our sponsorship schools have finalised their work plans and ready to move into action. New members who expressed interest in joining the clubs where registered and officially made members of the clubs as part of the membership drive.
very exciting activies including serial dramas have been designed as part of the work plan to engage these girls to learn and play alongside building their capacity to respond to all forms of violence that confront them both in and out of school.
Dear Reader! Songtaba brings to you great and exciting report about our work with young Adolescent girls
In our quest to promote safe space in schools, where girls and boys enjoys equal rights in a violence free environment, songtaba has organized activities in all partner schools where an empowered girls club leaders share experiences on issues of violence and their reporting channels in and out of school. At the schools, girls club leaders meet both boys and girls and share with them issues discuss and learned at the club meeting that constitute violence cases and various channels they can use to report and seek redress of these cases. At EP junior High school, a 16 years old girls club leader Inusah murijana told her colleagues any action or inaction of an individual that makes teaching and learning uncomfortable is violence must be reported to the appropriate authorities. She said such action may include: bullying of student most especially girls, excessive canning of students by masters, sexual harassment, secret invitation of students girls by masters. According to her, if any student is confronted with these cases, such a person can report to the teacher mentor, headmaster, class teacher, and girls club leaders. She also inform them of the existence of violence box in the school, where cases can secretly be reported without any victimization, she encouraged them to always use the violence box because it ensure confidentiality. The entire school which includes: school authority, students and girl’s club members were excited for this move and express their profound gratitude to songtaba and their partners for this wonderful education.
Girls’ club activities monitoring was focus on promoting safe space for girls in school. The monitoring was done in 16 programme schools. These includes, ponaa JHS, Bolni, kukuo, tadamuni, our lady, EP primary, kanjo, montanaya, lungni, nakpa, diapah, juo, juasheiyili, kassimiya, nassamba, and nakpayili. In all, 560 girl’s club member’s age 12-17years were interacted by Songtaba by the monitoring team at the communities mentioned above.
The monitoring revealed various approaches and strategies employed by teacher mentors to promote safe space for girls as they patiently wait for the introduction and implementation of violence box system of tracking and reporting cases of violence in school.
Many teacher mentors took terms to educate girl’s club members on different ways of reporting violence cases in and out of school. Members were sensitized by their mentors on the existence and operation of some structures established and trained by songtaba to help address issues of violence in and out of schools. Structures discussed were Parent Teacher Association (PTA) executives, School management committee (SMC) Executives, teacher mentors, girl’s club executives and community base advocacy teams (COMBAT).
According to the mentors, these are established structure that has the capacity to help promote safe space for girls, hence they should not hesitate in reporting issues that affect teaching and learning as well cases of right abuse to them. Girl’s club members were entreated to make better use of COMBAT at the community level. COMBAT according to the mentors are selected stakeholders at the communities who are trained by songtaba and committed in promoting and protecting rights of the child, most especially the girl child. COMBAT deal with cases of violence through the support of legally established human rights institutions such as Commission on human rights and administrative justice(CHRAJ), social welfare, legal Aid, and domestic violence and victims support unit(DOVVSU) of Ghana police service.
In all the schools visited, girls club member were excited and asked useful questions to clarify themselves for a comprehensive understanding on promoting safe space for themseves.
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