NonprofitWe are staff and students from a program at a village high school in Ghana in West Africa. Ask us anything. AMA!
Nov 26th 2017 by Expo_Education • 44 Questions • 3107 Points
My name is Hannah McCollom. I am a volunteer with a US based NGO called Exponential Education in Ghana. I am here with some our students from Antoa Senior High School in Ghana.
The students I have with me are members of our newest program, Boys for Positive Change! Boys for Positive Change (BPC) is our newest pilot program at Expo. With the success of our Girls LEAP, we saw a need for similar mobilization with Senior High School (SHS) aged boys. The mission of BPC is to sensitize boys to recognize social norms underlying gender inequality and empower them to become agents of positive change by challenging these norms.
BPC is an afterschool club for SHS Form 2 boys. They meet once a week and discuss a number of topics which include: • expressing emotions • gender norms underlying inequality • family and relationships • masculinity • violence and gender based violence • community issues
Belief: Domestic violence is an internal, family affair, not a social problem. Fact: It is a social problem: Data from the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) was analysed. Here are the results: • Of the 1524 ever married women in this study, 33.6 % had ever experienced domestic violence. • Risk of domestic violence was 41 % higher for women whose husbands ever experienced their father beating their mother. • Women whose husbands drink alcohol were 2.5 times more likely to experience domestic violence as compared to women whose husbands do not drink alcohol. • Statistics from the Domestic Violence & Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service indicates that at least 17,655 cases of violence against women were reported to them in 2014. • Violence against women and children has many bad consequences that affect society. - It seriously damages women and children mentally and physically. It creates fear and loss of self-esteem. - It leads to the breakdown of families, society and trust between people. - It incurs costs for medical care and loss of ability to work and earn by women. Children take time off from school.
Belief: A man punishes his wife because she gives him cause to do so. He has rights to punish her because he is her superior & the “head of the household”. Fact: If we accept this belief then we accept that: - Men are superior to women, - “Superior” people are allowed to enforce their superiority by using violence. The idea that men are superior to women is not a fact. It is a value judgement. Women and men have different sex roles and their cultures may give them different gender roles. However these roles should be given equal value and women should be equal to men. This idea illustrates that according to tradition, the man is the head of the family so he can “educate” his wife or children even if this education is in fact just violence and not education. If we accept this belief, then we accept the fact that a man has right to use violence to impose his authority.
These are just a couple of the many beliefs in society about gender based violence.
If you'd like to help our organization out, please donate to our fundraising campaign. Any amount helps. All money goes towards our programs: BPC, Girls LEAP, P2P, and LUV. You can donate at https://secure.anedot.com/expoedu/expoedugivingtuesday Link to website: http://www.exponentialeducationprogram.org/
We are the students and staff of Exponential Education in Antoa, Ghana! Ask us Anything!
Update: We have sent the students home and back to the school to eat dinner and get ready for their week! Staff members are still here to answer questions!
Update #2: It is getting late here in Ghana, so I am going to log off now! I will check back in tomorrow to answer any more questions you may have! Keep commenting!
Final update: Thank you all for the response and questions! Again, if you would like to donate to our program, visit https://secure.anedot.com/expoedu/expoedugivingtuesday or Link to website: http://www.exponentialeducationprogram.org/ Have a great day!
To the students: what are your aspirations? What do you want to do with your life?
Robert: I want to become a very famous engineer or news caster. I want to build my own airplane - I will set the record for the first person to build their own airplane in Ghana. I would also like to be a famous actor because I love acting!
Stephen: I want to be a vibrant politician and a lawyer. I want to be a lawyer because I want to help those who don't have money; if they have cases that no one will solve for them, I will solve it for them.
Bismark: As for me I want to become a famous journalist because I want to entertain and find out some truth about how politicians are governing the country.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XLkbw-qN4WYOXy6DczUYBYFMAfXlOhep/view?usp=sharing Here is a link to a video of fufu being made!
I would but I have TOGO now!
For the students, what did you learn growing up about how men are supposed to act? Which of those traits made you feel the most uncomfortable if any?
Being brave, tough, strong, never cry, you are the head of the family all of the time, feeding and taking care of the monetary forms for the family. It puts us in a rush as we feel like we have to deliver to our family no matter what the circumstances. When we cry, we feel like people around us are being to critical. We feel like we have to have our emotions in check at all times. (From Charles, Bismark, Stephen, and Robert)
What is health care like in Ghana? How does that impact the work you are doing?
It is easily accessible. As a student, we have to have health insurance. When we are sick, there is a clinic here in Antoa we go to.
Given everything you’ve learned, what is the number one piece of advice you would give a younger boy?
Bismark: Take your time. Don't rush into something because your peers are doing it. Robert: Focus on your education to achiever your goals. Stephen: Be time conscious. Use your time wisely. Robert: Also, don't worry yourself with gambling and things like that.
How difficult has it been for you to learn about these gendered issues and actually take your new knowledge on board and use it in your lives?
Charles: Few people here know about gender issues. When we talk to our friends about helping a woman, our friends might make fun of us. However, now that we have also learned about self-esteem, it doesn't negatively affect us.
Nope, no library right now!
Cool, congrats on raising the money! Where is the project you're working on?
As I know next to nothing about life there I suppose my question would be this.
What exactly is you're culture and day to day life like? As someone who has never had to worry about much given where I live I want to know these things so that I can hopefully one day try and help make the lives of others better, even if it's just for a day.
Some cultural differences in day to day life would include gathering water from a well or stream instead of just turning on a tap in your house. Most people here don't have personal cars, and they walk or use public transportation. Also, everyone is so friendly here, so you spend a lot of time just greeting people and talking to/making new friends!
- Are the beliefs you re bringing in easily accepted by both parents of students?
- Are these students orphans?
- Do you think after teaching them this and releasing them in the wild society, your students will survive the difference and keep those beliefs?
- what kind if support do they have at home to consolidate these beliefs?
Generally speaking yes. Of course it varies from household to household but most parents want the best for their children and are willing to change from the past.
None that I know of. We have the usual mixture of regular and single parent families.
Yes! Ghana is moving very quickly on these issues, especially in more urban/educated circles. I think our boys will have plenty of space to become leaders in their communities.
Support from home again varies on the household. We try to work a lot on action, ie working on putting the messages we cover into practice, mostly by trying to change things in their own homes.