In the last twenty years, Ghana has shown an impressive commitment to improving the lives of its people through education and community development. During this time, WUSC has worked with Ghanaians to achieve gender equality in primary education. In addition, we work to improve the management, quality and relevance of education for students and their families. In the agriculture sector, WUSC works to support the development and improved livelihoods for farmers and mining communities.
WUSC’s education programming in Ghana began in 1997. That year, the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education Reforms (FCUBE) were instituted across the country. WUSC focused its work on increasing enrolment in classes and increasing retention rates for girls in primary and secondary schools. We also helped increase community members’ commitment to educate girls and build their leadership skills.
WUSC supported the establishment of a Girls Education Unit to address these and other specific needs. We also initiated Girls Clubs, first in northern Ghana and then throughout the country. The clubs develop girls’leadership skills and their confidence to succeed in school. Combined with Ghana’s commitment to achieving universal education, this work has seen a 50% increase in primary education enrolments since 2002/2003 and has achieved gender equality in primary schools.
The current challenge is to ensure the education system continues to be efficient and relevant in order to maintain these impressive results. WUSC is now working closely with the Ministry of Education to further decentralize the education system and put school management firmly in the hands of communities and districts.
Since 2008, WUSC has been partnering with Rio Tinto Alcan and a local government in Ghana to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods in local communities. Following the success of a first pilot project held at a community level, the project has been expanded to the whole district and is being implemented until 2014.
WUSC also works in partnership with the Australian Government and Austraining International for the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development. WUSC places skilled young Australians (18-30) on short-term assignments with communities, organisations and governments across Ghana. They work on projects to fight poverty, empower local people and improve the quality of life in communities.
Overcoming barriers to girls' education is a collaborative effort by government, non-governmental organizations, citizens and educators. In order to sustain the benefits of leadership training at the Girls’ Clubs, schools need the capacity to provide guidance and career counseling to girls, as well as ways to motivate teachers to get involved in extra-curricular activities.
While mining and economic projects often come with funds to help communities, people often do not know how to get these funds. WUSC is working with the Government of Ghana’s development plans to help people get and use these resources.