We could feel the sense of excitement and competition grow in the room as the two teams prepared to face off.
Students in the audience began to whisper and giggle while choosing sides. We were at St. Gregory’s Catholic School in Buduburam refugee settlement about an hour and a half outside Accra and the second annual WISE quiz bowl was about to begin. Two teams of three students, one girls, the other boys, had been selected to answer questions about sexual harassment, child abuse, and other forms of abuse which they might encounter. These questions were intended to test the lessons these students had learned from WISE’s trainings, teachings, and counseling in the school and the Buduburam refugee settlement.
Within minutes of the game beginning, it became clear that these students really knew their stuff! When asked “What is the difference between rape and defilement?” Casey effortlessly responded that whereas rape is sex with someone who did not consent, defilement is sex with a child of or under the age of 16 who does or does not consent. Joseph, on the other hand, was ready with the answer when asked “What are three ways to prevent abuse in your community?”
“1. Education; 2. empowerment; and 3. advocating for survivors,” he recited.
According to WISE, 75% of school girls in Ghana have suffered from sexual harassment; and aggressive behavior from young boys is common. That is why the answers that these students easily provided were so remarkable and why it is clear that WISE is not only doing important work, but that it is making a meaningful impact in the refugee settlement and throughout Ghana as a whole!
WISE not only came recommended by St. Gregory’s School’s principal, but it also received praise from active volunteers and other local organizations. Myself and my fellow travelers would like to add our names to the list of endorsements!
Learn more about WISE at www.globalgiving.org/1394.
Alexis and four other In-the-Field Travelers are currently in Ghana before they are making their way to Mali and Burkina Faso. They'll be visiting more than 30 GlobalGiving projects in the next month. Follow their adventures at http://itfwa.wordpress.com/.