ActionAid is an international organisation that works with over 15 million people in 45 countries to address poverty and injustice. At the heart of ActionAid’s work lies the core belief in each human being’s fundamental right to food, shelter, work, education, health care and a voice in the decisions that shape their lives.
Doug Barrowman and The Barrowman Foundation has supported ActionAid since 2012; initially getting involved in their work with the community of Kowie and the local government in Sissala East district in the Upper West Region of Ghana. Action was needed to improve access to quality education for 174 children who had to travel to attend school in the neighbouring community of Kong, where the average class size was 70 pupils. The lack of education facilities in Kowie meant that there was low awareness of the importance of education amongst parents and adults and responsibility was being placed on children to support their families economically. Following consultation with the local community the commitment was given to provide facilities for primary education by:
- Building a new six-classroom block with facilities to provide an environment conducive to learning
- Increasing the number of children in Kowie attending school and ensuring ongoing good quality education provision.
From the support received a number of great successes have been achieved:
- The engagement of the community and government in making this project sustainable
- Kowie community came together and agreed to provide eight acres of land for the school
- The Ghanaian government committed to take responsibility for the school once it was constructed, and to work alongside the School Management Committee to ensure that the school is properly run, managed and maintained
- The school has been built and was opened in September 2013
- The enrolment rate for children in the Kowie community is now 100%
- 176 children were enrolled at the start of the 2013/14 academic year – increasing to 211 for the 2014/15 year
- The government has provided six teachers and a headteacher for the school, and implemented a school feeding programme – which ensures that children are provided with lunch.
We have also been involved with the Changemakers Club that is transforming access to quality education for 2,000 children in seven communities of Oromia region, rural Ethiopia. This 3 year project works with communities, teachers and local governments to improve the learning environment and provide access to clean water and toilet facilities in 7 schools.
To date the project has delivered 3 new schools, each consisting of 4 classrooms, a library and learning centre, separate toilets for girls and boys, and a water supply. The number of students skipping school is decreasing and participation and performance of pupils is showing considerable progress.
The ActionAid website provides further information on the great work they are undertaking.