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Peace Corps Ghana Programs
Peace Corps Ghana Programs
Peace Corps Ghana Programs
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Presently, Peace Corps/Ghana has 158 Volunteers serving throughout the country in the following programs:
Secondary Education, Math/Science, /Visual Art: Until the mid-1970s Ghana had one of the most developed educational systems in West Africa. However, the economic decline and related factors over the last decade took their toll. School enrollments stagnated or declined at all levels. Until the mid-1980s, there was a mass departure of trained teachers from the country, resulting in their replacement by untrained personnel. Educational financing declined steadily. Currently, education is receiving considerable emphasis in ERP-II --- the rehabilitation and reform of the social sectors. The World Bank has given considerable financial assistance for the reformation and revitalization of Ghana's education system. In 1990-91, 143 new senior secondary schools were built. and in 1995, there was a ban on the building of new Senior Secondary Schools to consolidate enrollment numbers and quality of education. This became necessary because growing numbers of secondary schools was a strain to the already inadequate budget. Secondly, the enrollment in some of these new schools were sometimes so small that it became inefficient to continue running the schools. The government is fully aware of the fact that Ghana's prosperity in the long run depends on the educational level of its population and has renewed efforts at reforming basic education under the Free compulsory Universal Education (FCUBE) program with more emphasis on secondary education.
Peace Corps' involvement in education is at a critical juncture given the general deterioration in the sector over the last few years and the significant new reform initiatives. Peace Corps/Ghana and the Ministry of Education have agreed that Peace Corps should continue to supply senior secondary math/science teachers in the newer less endowed rural schools. In 1991, the Ministry requested additional assistance in the fields of visual arts, which is essential to the educational reforms. In July 1992, the first group of Art teachers arrived. Peace Corps volunteers are currently assigned to secondary schools in Ghana to teach science, mathematics and visual arts. Peace Corps is also in the process of initializing dialogue with the Ministry of Education on the changing education system and what to focus on. Please see the letter in this packet from a current volunteer for more information on the visual arts program. Due to inconsistencies in recruiting qualified Volunteers, in 1996 Peace Corps decided to stop providing technical teachers.
Ghana has been heavily affected by periodic droughts, unsustainable farming methods, over grazing, bush fires and soil erosion. The result has been a dramatic reduction in vegetation, low food production, lack of fuelwood for cooking and building poles for traditional-style construction. In an attempt to address this situation, Peace Corps/Ghana has taken a two-pronged program approach. In the Collaborative Community Forestry Initiative (CCFI) the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), the Ghanaian Forestry Department, Agro-Forestry Unit, (Ministry of Food and Agriculture) Peace Corps and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are collaborating to rehabilitate the environment, raise the level of soil fertility and provide a source of construction poles, fuelwood and other wood products that could either be used in the communities or commercialized.
Collaborating agencies assist community-based nurseries until community nursery managers and workers are trained sufficiently to ensure that the program will be sustainable. One project goal is to have each nursery economically self-supporting by the fifth year of Peace Corps involvement. Nursery sites also serve as training centers to educate community participants in nursery management, tree planting, extension education as well as basic bookkeeping and business skills. In addition to CCFI, PC/Ghana has also been accepting placement requests from independent communities, organizations, District Forestry Offices and other agencies involved in aforestation efforts. PC/Ghana is being very selective with these placements to ensure that they are in line with national effort and that technical skill requirements are covered in the present Pre-Service Training (PST) design. Specific tasks of CCFI and other forestry assignments are very much the same: nursery establishment, set-up, seedling production, management, extension, out planting and follow-up. Volunteer placements in this project were originally all in northern Ghana, but now the project has expanded to the southern regions as well.
WATER AND SANITATION HEALTH EDUCATION PROJECT
SMALL ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT
Ghana is gradually recovering from the depression-like economic conditions of the early 1980s, but still has high unemployment which neither private sector business nor the government is able to fully address. Recently completed studies have concluded that Ghana's informal sector is the most vibrant economic force in the country and is capable of providing more income to poor people than the formal sector. This is especially true for women and young school-graduates, two high priority income-earning/development targets. Small Enterprise Development (SED) Volunteers in Ghana are attached to government agencies or to associations in the private sector with a mandate to promote, enhance and sustain project and program activities in the area of micro- and small-scale business. After a project evaluation in 1995, the SED project was redesigned so that Volunteers would provide technical support and organization development, with a project goal of increasing the effective involvement of small and micro-enterprise entities in non-traditional export and community-based eco-tourism activities.
Among other responsibilities, Volunteers' tasks include: identifying new micro/small business clients; implementing training and credit needs assessments; assessing the profitability of goods and services; doing pre-feasibility and marketability analyses; identifying sources of technical assistance, training and credit; helping develop balance sheets, business plans, and tourism plans, teaching bookkeeping and simple financial management; and assessing appropriate technology needs. Volunteers in this project work with local tourism NGOs, a regional chamber of commerce, and governmental non-governmental organizations that assist artisans. These organizations in turn have worked with and supported additional organizations and hundreds of individual entrepreneurs and artisans.
Youth Development (YD) is the newest project in Peace Corps/Ghana, and in fact the problem of children living and working on the streets is itself relatively new to Ghana. Volunteers in this project should come with an open mind and the willingness to be in on the ground level as the project develops. There are certain to be continual modifications and refinements as we learn lessons, and Volunteers should be prepared to contribute to the development of the project. Although it has yet to be implemented at the time of this writing, there will be a project evaluation in early 1997 with a subsequent redefinition of project goals and Volunteer tasks.
The current focus of the project is for Volunteers to train and educate Ghanaians who will be on the front lines with street children and working children. Three areas were originally identified for Volunteer input within the project. One first area for PCVs is the training of Ghanaian social workers and street workers. The second is with organizations such Junior Achievement, which work with youth in developing their business skills, since so many will be self-employed. The final area, which was discontinued in 1996, was with technical/vocational teachers who worked in vocational training centers that enrolled working children. Although it is an important area, this was discontinued because of difficulties in recruiting Volunteers with appropriate technical backgrounds and problems with host organizations' abilities to support these Volunteers in the field.
Peace Corps is also working on enhancing the linkages between the YD and the Small Enterprise Development projects, so that PCVs from the two projects can consult with and advise each other. At this time there are six PCVs in the YD project and another six expected in 1997.
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|By Kulthum Amani (dhcp47.berkey.ssc.msu.edu - 220.127.116.11) on Wednesday, December 08, 2004 - 6:14 pm: Edit Post|
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