Building peace in the minds of men and women

A young woman takes action for girls’ education in Ghana

15 April 2019

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© UNESCO/Michael Rockson

Gifty Nordzi is a Girls’ Education Officer in the Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam district in Ghana. She works for the Girls’ Education Unit of the Ministry of Education on issues concerning schoolgirls, such as gender-based violence or teenage pregnancy.

Gifty dreams of reducing teenage pregnancy in her district, and for that she is leaving no resource mobilization opportunity unexplored.

Learning how to make a difference

Dropouts due to teenage pregnancy can be found in Gifty’s district, and throughout Ghana. These girls face reduced opportunities to fully realize their economic and social rights.

As part of a project under the UNESCO-HNA Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education, the UNESCO Office in Accra has been cooperating with the Ghana Education Service to build the capacity of the Girls’ Education Unit to address challenges facing girls and their education, such as teenage pregnancy.

Along with 21 other district Girls’ Education Officers, Gifty attended a recent workshop to build her skills in project design, proposal writing, resource mobilization and effective communication.

Gifty gained valuable knowledge that she applied immediately: “I learnt that we can do a whole lot even without money. I also reflected and identified a lot of unproductive things I was doing and this made me re-strategize.” The lack of available means at the District Education Office fueled her determination to find ways to finance her projects herself.

Fundraising for girls’ education

Through her newly acquired skills, Gifty felt empowered to communicate and meet with potential donors more regularly. She even developed several proposals that she shared with potential donors. She also wrote reports illustrating her activities for her previous sponsors.

One day, a rural bank to which she had sent one of her proposals contacted her. They were interested in funding her project to raise awareness about, and to prevent, teenage pregnancy.

Gifty organized a learning festival for all senior high school students in the district to mark the celebration of Girls’ Education Week and the International Day of the Girl Child. The event included many sensitization and interaction opportunities with female role-models and was the largest attended educational event in district. Gifty was able to mobilise non-monetary resources for the event, receiving buses from schools, refreshments, and volunteer speakers at the event. “What we learnt at the workshop is really working,” she said.

Gifty intends to continue sharing what she learned during the workshop with teachers, education officers and community members and will start monitoring her activities for evidence-based reporting. She also intends to train more young girls to be ambassadors and extend their influence beyond the district.  

Under the UNESCO-HNA Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education, the project “Enhancing the quality and relevance of education for adolescent girls through gender-responsive teaching and learning” (2015-2020) is coordinated by UNESCO HQ in Ghana and Ethiopia, with technical support from UNESCO-IICBA. As part of the project in Ghana, activities build the capacity of Girls’ Education Unit staff of the Ghana Education Service under the Ministry of Education, enabling them to effectively coordinate interventions on girls’ education in the country.

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