Poverty in Ghana
The population of Ghana has exploded over the past couple decades, which has dramatically reduced the poverty rate throughout this West African country. Between 1991 and 2013, the poverty rate plummeted from 37.6 percent to 9.6 percent. However, poverty is still considered a big issue, which has led to the March for Science to end poverty in Ghana.

What was the March for Science?

In order to combat the issue of poverty in their country, Ghanaian scientists and science-loving Ghanaians stepped out on Saturday, April 14th, 2018 to protest the lack of funding for science and technology research. The march was led by scientists from Alliance for Science Ghana, and the marchers participated in an 8k walk on the streets of their capital, Accra, and later they came together for a forum to talk about the role of science in national development.

What was the Main Objective for this March?

The theme for this march was “Building Ghana: Let’s end environmental destruction and poverty through science informed actions.” The reason for theme being that Ghanaians wanted to get the point across that poverty in Ghana will not be abolished without science and technology research funding becoming a priority to governmental leaders. This march was also needed in order to inform the greater public about the fact that there is a direct link between protecting the environment from ruin and eliminating poverty.

It is evident that the lack of precedence science and technology in Ghana holds in the government directly impacts poverty in this country. One of the aims of the Accra March for Science is to bring this issue to the attention of government officials.

What is Science and Technology Research Like in Ghana Today?

Currently, funding for scientific research in Ghana is at a scarce 0.2 percent per year. In order for this country to try and get out of its poverty cycle, this amount must increase to 3.5 percent every year, as is the United Nation’s goal. The United Nations has said that increased investment in science and technology is a crucial aspect of breaking the cycle of poverty, and Ghana needs to listen and use this advice to its advantage.

How Does This Lack of Research Funding Affect Farmers?

There are scientific improvements being made in Ghana with the limited amount of funding that is provided, but this technology often does not reach farmers because of the inadequate extension services and the lack of investments in agriculture and regulatory procedures. Such issues need to be fixed. With an increase in funding for science and technology research, there will be means to address the gap between the science and agriculture communities of Ghana.

The government needs to put in the effort of extending support to farmers in order to ensure food security to the Ghanaian people, as well as to help pull Ghana out of poverty. A recent research study at the University of Ghana revealed that more than 80 percent of smallholder farmers are not benefitting from the government’s support.

The hope of this march is that advocating for the increase in funding to science and technology research can also help end poverty in Ghana by way of reaching the Ghanian farmers. This impoverished West African country would benefit enormously if the government paid attention to the areas in need. Science and technology research funding needs to be increased dramatically to both reach farmers and help break the cycle of poverty in this country.

Megan Maxwell
Photo: Flickr

Strategies for Economic Growth and Sustainability in Ghana
In a monumental accomplishment, Ghana has triumphed in its Millenium Development Goal of cutting poverty within the nation in half. In the 1990s, half the population was subject to living standards below the poverty line, but by 2013 this figure was down to less than a quarter.

The country now gears up for the U.N.’s first Sustainable Development Goal of completely ending poverty in Ghana. With this new goal in mind, Ghana is challenged to address the lagging segment of the population and stimulate growth and greater equality.

Agriculture in Ghana

From 2007 to 2016, Ghana managed to stimulate economic growth at a rate above 7 percent. However, the agricultural industry only grew by 3.5 percent, lagging much behind the economy. In fact, the African Development Bank reported that Ghana’s agricultural sector would need to achieve a 7 percent growth in order to initiate poverty reduction.

The reason agriculture is a crucial area of improvement to end poverty in Ghana is that more than half of its population works in this industry. Over 90 percent of employment in rural areas is based in agriculture, and these areas also comprise the poorest of the poor in the entire country.

Opportunities For Development

Fortunately, the means for development stems from the agricultural sector and would significantly contribute to Ghana’s growth and overall poverty reduction. The following is a condensed list with strategies and areas of improvement that would help achieve economic growth in the agricultural sector and ultimately push ahead ending poverty in Ghana:

  1. Incorporate mechanization and other technology
  2. Advance beyond rainfed agriculture
  3. Promote security in the land tenure system
  4. Stimulate interest and investment in agriculture
  5. Improve storage and management of post-harvest yields
  6. Make policy that focuses on progressing agriculture beyond subsistence farming

Sustainable Growth and Energy

Ghana faces other challenges in infrastructure that hinder economic growth and poverty alleviation; however, the U.N. Development Program supported Ghana in its transition to greater infrastructure in a sustainable way. Energy, for instance, appears to be one of the key focus areas for infrastructure improvement.

The U.N. provided adaptation and mitigation strategies in Ghana’s development policies and programs. Moreover, this cooperation between the U.N. and Ghana also contributed to Ghana’s mission to diversify energy sources, greatly incorporate renewable energy and develop more efficient energy.

Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative

One such collaborative effort between Ghana and an international organization to secure poverty reduction and economic growth is the Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SEforALL). SEforALL works to advance energy systems, end energy poverty and promote prosperity. In fact, the three main objectives are as follows:

  1. Provide universal access to up-to-date energy services
  2. Double the global rate of energy efficiency
  3. Double the renewable energy inclusion in the global energy mix

Efforts to End Poverty in Ghana

Ghana has advanced and grown significantly over the past two decades; poverty is cut by more than a half of what it was before the turn of the century. Ghana stands as one of the few countries that achieved the Millennium Development Goal.

Fortunately, there are numerous strategies, focus areas and initiatives occurring today to end poverty in Ghana once and for all.

Roberto Carlos Ventura
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Ghana
In the last two decades, poverty in Ghana has drastically reduced due to an increase in economic factors, despite poverty still dominating more rural areas where there is not enough access to food and other basic necessities. 

Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Ghana

  1. Between the years 1991 and 2012, the poverty rate in Ghana has been cut by more than half, from 52 percent to 21 percent.
  2. In 2011, the country was considered to have a middle-class economy. Ghana accomplished such status by obtaining a more skilled labor force and geographical mobility.
  3. Despite the booming economic growth, poverty in Ghana is still prevalent. Poverty has shifted from urban areas to now more rural areas of the country; in fact, rural poverty is almost four times higher than urban poverty.
  4. According to UNICEF, the poverty reduction rate has declined in recent years. There is only a 1.1 percent reduction rate per year since 2006.
  5. The northern region of the country makes up the largest number of citizens in poverty in Ghana. Since the 1990s, the poverty rate in the northern region has dropped from 55 percent to 50 percent.
  6. In Ghana, children are 40 percent more likely to live in poverty than adults. UNICEF states that 1.2 million households are unable to supply an adequate amount of food for their children.
  7. Overcrowding and homelessness are some of the many reasons for poverty in Ghana. According to Habitat for Humanity, many houses in the country lack ventilation and basic amenities.
  8. In more rural areas, outbreaks of cholera are common from lack of inside toilets in homes. Using the bathroom outside or in public pits contributes to the passing of hazardous diseases.
  9. The World Food Program reports that twenty-seven percent of households are at risk of hunger in Ghana. About a third of the population is living on less than $1.25 a day, which means obtaining food is extremely difficult.
  10. In 2006, infant mortality rates were cut by half, although healthcare is still poor in the country. The northern regions only have nine percent of hospitals even though it holds a majority of the population. Citizens in the northern region of Ghana have to travel far distances to reach hospitals and travel costs can be high.

Combating Challenges

Ghana is continuing to grow despite its problems with poverty. In fact, the nation is considered to have one of the world’s fastest growing economies in the world. At the end of 2017, the economy increased for the fifth successive quarter.

The economy has increasingly focused on agricultural growth, which has created more jobs. Ghana’s government has also been spending money on educating workers that in return will create more money for the country. One of Ghana’s greatest challenges for the future is spreading development evenly throughout the country, and one can only wish Ghana success in combating such an issue.

– McKenzie Hamby
Photo: Unsplash

Evolvin’ Women
The social enterprise, “Evolvin’ Women,” connects hospitality partners in Dubai with women from developing countries who lack access to education and employment. Evolvin’ Women’s international work and internship placements provide women in Ghana with training and experience in the hospitality industry.

These connections would otherwise be non-existent in many women’s lives due to personal, political and cultural circumstances in the developing world. Training opportunities empower women to return to their home countries with higher-paying jobs and better suited to support their family, community and national growth.

Evolvin’ Women

Based in Dubai, Evolvin’ Women empowers women to acquire leadership roles both in business and in their communities, especially in the Ghanan hospitality industry. Year-long internships in Dubai provide training across the different functions of hotel operations, via both face-to-face and e-learning methods.

Interns in Dubai receive hundreds of mentorship hours and complete online certified training programs. According to Assia Riccio, founder of Evolvin’ Women, entry level hospitality work in Ghana pays around $400 a month.

Life at Home Post-Dubai

After completing the Dubai program, women can return home with double the pay grade. After 14 months with Evolvin’ Women, entry level workers can return with the skills of a supervisor, which is often a position filled only by men. In addition to a pay increase for those completing the program, the hotels receive a “social impact” report, which illustrates how women are better equipped to support their families and other women in their own communities. By empowering women economically and getting more women “at the table,” the plight of positive social and political change becomes feasible.

Evolvin’ Women measures its impact in how it fulfills the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The organization focuses on “Quality Education,” “Gender Equality” and “Decent Work and Economic Growth,” and as Professor Jeffery of MiddleSex University in Dubai and mentor to the women says, “Economic growth through the advancement of women will not be possible unless we provide women with opportunities and also empower them to take up those opportunities.”

By educating and promoting the working capacity of women in developing countries, Evolvin’ Women increases gender equality. In places like Ghana, women make up more than half of the population but their role in all walks of society is second to men.

Creating Gender Equality

Out of 110 million out of school children in developing nations, 60 percent are girls. Families often choose to educate their first boy due to financial reasons, which oftentimes leaves girls of the family with little social opportunity. Programs like Evolvin’ Women help break this cycle by providing tools these women desperately need to become influential and mobile in their communities.

Evolvin’ Women is part of Dubai’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program. It receives support from its Dubai Startup Hub that provides entrepreneurial assistance, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Market Access program that facilitates corporate connections with the hotel group Sofitel, who hosts Evolvin’ Women at The Retreat Palm Dubai. Evolvin’ Women is also a member of Dubai Business Women Council and Consult And Coach For A Cause.

Going Above and Beyond

All these programs demonstrate how countries like The United Arab Emirates can go above and beyond traditional aid. In providing entrepreneurial opportunities in Dubai, organizations like Evolvin’ Women have the chance to reach developing countries in new and meaningful ways. Founder Riccio sees there is a clear need to help developing countries beyond aid packages.

Aid can be a temporary fix that changes millions of lives, but funds cannot be expected to forever flow from outside resources. Organizations like Evolvin’ Women and Dubai-based entrepreneurship programs take the initiative to empower women in developing countries above and beyond the expectations of aid, setting a precedent for social change through entrepreneurship.

– Joseph Ventura
Photo: Flickr

In early Ghanaian society women were seen only as child-bearers subservient to male dominance. In fact, a famous Ghanaian proverb states, “A house without a woman is like a barn without cows.” Women in Ghana have faced strict societal gender norms and fought to make great strides towards overcoming them, specifically in the workforce.

Ghanaian Women in the Workforce

Ghanaian women in the workforce are greatly involved, and heavily impact Ghana’s economy. These improvements for Ghanaian women have come in the last decade, and one company, “Divine Chocolate,” has been a huge contributor for this change.

Divine Chocolate has changed the lives of many farmers, and has specifically improved conditions for Ghanaian women in the workforce. The organization started a Women’s Cocoa Farming Training program that not only teaches women reading, writing and arithmetic, but it also teaches small business skills and specific trades: soap making, batik, and vegetable gardening, to name a few. This knowledge can add to Ghanian women’s income and help provide for themselves and their families.

Efforts such as these have not only taught women valuable skills and given them new work opportunities, but it has also greatly empowered Ghana women. In addition to the valuable skills taught by “Divine Chocolate,” another company fighting for Ghana women is called “Global Mamas.”

Global Involvement

Global Mamas helps a village in southern Ghana with their textile industry and connects them with a larger global marketplace to sell their goods. The women are also provided with training for their future work and given a new opportunity in the textile industry.

Ghanaian women in the workforce have persevered in the face of adversity, especially against societal views against them. Women face many more challenges entering into work than their male counterparts do, but this has not stopped them. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor even revealed in a study that Ghana women are more often entrepreneurial than the men in their country.   

Female participation in the workforce in Ghana is at an all-time high of 96.1 percent. Ghanaian women are not only involved in the workforce, but they are also leading it. According to the Mastercard Index of Women’s Entrepreneurship, women in Ghana make up 46.4 percent of all business owners in the country.

Over the past decade, women in Ghana have made great strides working and boosting their economy. Females are powerful, as seen in the entrepreneurial attitude and success of Ghana’s women. These strides in the workforce create new opportunities for women throughout the country and will continue to have an impact for the future of Ghanaian women in the workforce.

– Ronni Winter

Photo: Flickr

Health Regulation in GhanaHealth regulation in Ghana has strengthened in recent years. Ghana has made great progress to improve its public health conditions, and the international community has also assisted in its endeavors to better health procedures and legislation. Below are five facts about health regulation in Ghana.

Facts about Health Regulation in Ghana

  1. Ghana passed its first Comprehensive Public Health Bill. This is a crucial milestone for public health within Ghana, and more generally, Africa. Ghana has domestically expanded programs for tobacco control, vaccinations, food and drugs, environmental sanitation, infectious diseases and more. The Public Health Bill essentially enhances the recognition and responses to public health issues. This bill emulates Public Health Institutions in Norway, which is one of the strongest healthcare systems in the world.
  2. Ghana and the International Association of National Public Health (IANPHI) have been allies since 2009. The IANPHI has helped Ghana create institutions, websites and legislation addressing new public health procedures. The IANPHI have helped health regulation in Ghana by providing resources to combat outbreaks, by assisting the creation of Ghana Health Service and by supporting ghanahealthservice.org. The site updates Ghanaians and the global sector about public health news.
  3. Health regulation in Ghana has been monitored by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO has listed a number of Ghana’s achievements since 2005. Ghana has passed many health bills that align with the values of International Health Regulation (IHR). The WHO has also trained public health officials and staff about IHR protocol. Ghana continues to stay in contact with WHO and abides by IHR.
  4. Ghana’s mental health system is improving rapidly. In 2012, Ghana enacted a new Mental Health Act. The provision includes that individuals with mental health issues retain their human rights and that the system mirrors modern mental health programs. The Mental Health Act provides protection and treatment for those who struggle with these issues. Additionally, the bill established the Mental Health Authority, Health Review Tribunals, Regional Visiting Committees and the Mental Health Fund.
  5. Fortunately, human rights are becoming highly entwined with public health practices in Ghana. IHR’s underlying principles are based on human rights. Ghana has inherited its values when implementing public health bills and programs. Each patient must be treated with dignity, particularly mental health patients since they were previously discriminated against. Prior to 2012, Ghanaians would shackle individuals who had mental health issues. Fortunately, the public is being educated, and the stigma is changing.

Ghana and the international community have made great strides to amend and better its healthcare system. Ghana has set a precedent for other Sub-Saharan countries — it could act as a beacon of hope for nations struggling with the implementation of public health legislation.

– Diana Hallisey
Photo: Flickr

how the media misrepresents Ghana
The media today is prone to reporting stereotypes about developing countries. This kind of coverage far outnumbers fact-based coverage, making it difficult to filter out false information. Yet the public must rely on the media to provide non-domestic news. Therefore, should the media be tainted with misinformation, the public outlook will also be tainted, and one of the most misrepresented places in the world is Africa’s west coast.

News Reports Do Not Match Personal Experiences

Adrian Heath, a rising senior at Colgate University, recently studied abroad in Ghana during his junior year. In his descriptions of Ghana, it was clear how his perceptions had changed over time. He spoke to The Borgen Project about his mindset before departure: “I had all of the typical stereotypes in my head like poverty and AIDS. I expected to see a lot of beggars.” Heath’s head had been filled with images and stories from how the media misrepresents Ghana and other African nations.

His perception changed upon his arrival country-side. Almost immediately, he realized how skewed his perception had been. “We went out in the city and some parts were so beautiful it really surprised me… It could have been any American city.” His preconceived notions were whisked away with the beauty of Ghanaian life.

He said that there are a lot of “great spots for tourism” in Ghana, a landscape littered with beautiful beaches and resort locations. Accra is a coastal city, perfectly situated to host tourists who are interested in experiencing Ghanaian culture. The irony is that people avoid visiting due to the negative portrayal of Africa, missing out on a chance to have a positive experience in Ghana.

Ghanaians React to How the Media Misrepresents Ghana

Ghanaians are aggrieved by how the media misrepresents Ghana. Ismail Akwei, a journalist for Africa News, analyzed Ghanaian reactions to an article published by CNN. In the article, Ghanaians are portrayed as “struggl[ing] to obtain food and day-to-day services. Rolling blackouts are common and citizens often stand in long line [sic] to obtain products.”

The people of Ghana quickly turned to Twitter to express their disgust at the negligent reporting, utilizing the hashtag #CNNGetItRight. One user, Kafui Dey, tweeted: “Ghanaians are not struggling to obtain food. We are not standing in long lines to obtain products. I know. I live here.” Another Ghanaian, Nana Ama Agyemang, tweeted: “Such lazy coverage of a fantastic story by @CNN. No nuance, just the usual template ‘Africans are suffering’.”

Ghanaians have also been expressing their disdain for their elected officials, who do nothing to reverse how the media misrepresents Ghana. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was elected on a platform of change. In an open letter to the president that was published by Ghana News, Dr. Elvis Asiedu Afram pleaded for the president to enact some of the change he had promised, writing, “Mr. President, nine months after your historic assumption of office, it has become increasingly tedious to defend the change we proudly supported and campaigned for…. What was the change message about if things were to remain the same?”

Change Comes from Within Ghana

The peoples’ cries were heard when the president publicly endorsed a plan to increase Ghana’s domestic commerce, a move that would help gain independence from foreign aid and empower Ghana as a nation. An article on Ghana’s official presidency website quoted the president as saying, “Government is empowering the private sector to create jobs and wealth by working closely with industry and academia to equip young professionals with the skills required to operate competitively in the sector.”

While speaking with The Borgen Project, Heath mirrored the views of President Akufo-Addo, that Ghana needs to establish a means of domestically manufactured income in order to take care of its own and step out from beneath the shadow of colonialism. Heath was enthusiastic in his hope that this would eventually become a reality. His many interactions with emphatic Ghanaians whose love for their way of life give him hope for the future. “[As a foreigner] everyone you meet asks if you liked their country. They want you to appreciate their culture. They want you to see the beauty as they do.” There is much to appreciate about Ghana if the media chooses to shine a light on it.

– Zach Farrin
Photo: Flickr

Ghana Eradicated Trachoma, a Disease That Left Millions Blind
On June 13, 2018 the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that trachoma, an infectious and painful disease of the eye that may potentially lead to blindness, is no longer a public health concern in Ghana.

Trachoma and Ghana

Ghana sits on West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea and is a home to 28 million people — 2.8 (or 15 percent) of which were at risk of trachoma in 2000. The WHO attributes the success to a collective effort between local and regional communities and international collaboration.

Trachoma is caused by Chlamydia bacterium and is spread by flies, a lack of sanitation and lack of access to clean water. When a person has the disease, the inside of the eyelids become scarred and curl inwards, causing the lashes to scrape against the lens of the eye, eventually destroying it if left untreated.

The disease was once common in the west, but has since been reduced to areas of the world where people do not have the resources to fend off the disease, usually attacking the world’s poor and leaving them unable to properly carry out their daily tasks.

Trachoma of the Past, Present and Future

Often described as a sensation of “thorns” in the eyes, trachoma is an extremely uncomfortable and serious disease. The disease is ancient, and dates as far back as the time of the pharaohs and ancient Greeks and Romans. Even prominent figures across ancient history such as St. Paul, Cicero, Horace and Galileo were believed to have suffered from the disease.

In 2000, the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service put in place a national Trachoma Elimination Program. This program involved putting the Surgery for Trichiasis, Antibiotics to Ward Off Infection (SAFE) strategy into action.

Surgery for trichiasis, the condition in which the eyelashes grow inward, was provided free of charge for more than 6,000 patients, and the pharmaceutical company Pfizer donated 3.3 million doses of Zithromax antibiotics to help avoid infection.

Pfizer also has plans to continue to donate Zithromax globally to help other trachoma-endemic countries. The importance of hygiene and facial cleanliness was promoted throughout the community during events, school health education and radio messages — while Ghana’s Community Water and Sanitation Agency worked towards environmental improvements.

Number Seven, Ghana

Ghana is the seventh country to have officially wiped out the disease, along with Oman, Morocco, Mexico, Cambodia, Laos and Nepal — and it is the only sub-saharan African country to have done so. In spite of this brilliant success, up to 200 million people are still at risk of contracting trachoma in 41 countries, many of which are on the African continent.

Experts are hopeful for the future eradication of the disease considering the ways in which Ghana eradicated trachoma. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed his optimism saying, “Although there’s more work to do elsewhere, the validation of elimination in Ghana allows another previously heavily-endemic country to celebrate significant success.”

– Camille Wilson

Photo: Flickr

disease in Ghana
The continent of Africa has many countries that have struggled for decades with deadly diseases. High poverty rates and little access to clean water have made it difficult for people to stop the spread of these diseases or access vaccinations.

In sub-Saharan Africa, one in 11 children dies before the age of five because of diseases like pneumonia and malaria. Ghana is one country that is fighting for access to vaccinations. The hope is to someday eradicate disease in Ghana, and with the help of many organizations, Ghana is proving that this can be possible.

Although Africa is considered the poorest continent on Earth, Ghana’s poverty rate was cut in half from 1991 to 2012. This growth has paved the way for better access to extremely important healthcare and vaccinations for men, women and children.

Introduction of New Vaccines Lessens Threat of Disease in Ghana

In 2012, Ghana became the first African country to make the pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines available. This is a giant step, as these vaccines will protect against two of the biggest killers in Ghana, pneumonia and diarrhea. UNICEF, along with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, have worked alongside and supported the Ghana Health Service in this launch, which made these vaccinations available in every health clinic in the country.

Although it is unusual to make two vaccines available simultaneously, the country has recognized the dire need for these treatments. Pneumonia is the deadliest disease in Africa and the leading cause of death of children on the continent. The sickness claims nearly 800,000 lives each year.

Ghana One of Three Countries to Test Malaria Vaccine

Along with being the first country in Africa to launch the aforementioned vaccines, Ghana will once again be making history later in 2018. The World Health Organization has selected Ghana, along with Kenya and Malawi, to be the testing sites for the world’s first malaria vaccine pilot. With about half of the world’s population at risk for this disease, this vaccine, along with the means of prevention that are already used, could save hundreds of thousands of lives.

In 2015 alone, there were nearly 215 million cases of malaria around the world. The malaria pilot program is being funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, the World Health Organization and many others. The first stage will cost nearly $50 million, but with the thousands of lives this vaccine could save, money is no object.

The fight to eradicate disease in Ghana is seeing incredible progress. Ghana is becoming a country that everyone, not just in Africa but all over the world, can look to when it comes to providing the healthcare and medications that so many are in need of.

Long known as a country that has struggled with poverty and a lack of resources, Ghana has shown that it is possible for any country to treat and prevent diseases on a national level. Ghana has and will continue to make these huge changes for its people.

– Allisa Rumreich
Photo: Flickr

Girls’ Education in GhanaThere are many barriers to equality in education in Ghana ranging from poverty to negative cultural perceptions surrounding girls’ education, to a lack of nearby schools. But despite these barriers, girls’ education in Ghana has seen improvement and continues to be an issue of importance in this developing nation. Here are five facts about girls’ education in Ghana that highlight victories and steps taken to fight this problem.

Five Facts About Girls’ Education in Ghana

  1. The positive changes in girls’ education in Ghana stem from governmental and nonprofit agencies working together. For example, in 1997, the government of Ghana created the Girls’ Education Unit in the Ministry of Education, which means every region and district has a Girls’ Education Officer. The Ministry of Education also partnered with UNICEF to develop and implement education strategies for girls.Furthermore, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) worked in Ghana from 2012-2016 in a joint effort with the Ministry of Education and UNICEF. This partnership saw real results, including that 889 district gender officers received training in guidance and counseling, 94,827 in-service teachers were trained and 28,056 teachers received math education and training.
  2. Since the early 2000s, girls have consistently enrolled in primary and secondary school at higher rates and closed the gender gap in school enrollment. In 2018, Ghana’s national primary gender parity index (GPI) is at 1.01 compared to 0.94 in 2004. This demonstrates an equality between girls and boys enrolled in school.This change was sparked when the Ministry of Education eliminated school fees for basic education (elementary and junior high school) nationwide in 2005 and established a capitation grant for all basic schools. The grant also effectively reduced the barrier that poverty presented to education.
  3. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has greatly impacted girls’ education in Ghana. For example, USAID has provided scholarships for 7,000 girls in Ghana and 300 of the recipients have special needs and has aided in school construction and rehabilitation in 48 districts across the country.This was made possible through community programs that train volunteers to teach in high-need schools and partnerships with the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service. Currently, USAID’s education objective in Ghana is to improve reading performance for 2.8 million Ghanaian primary school children by 2020.
  4. The Education Strategic Plan (ESP) 2018-2030 is currently being finalized by the government of Ghana and is focused on an inclusive education system that is accessible and equal for all. Its main goal is to use education to improve the national development agenda and make sure it has a positive impact on development.This is the sixth plan in the series and gets its foundation from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Sustainable Development Goals and the National Development Plan 2016-2057. Other important priorities of the newest ESP include access, quality, relevance, effectiveness and sustainability.
  5. In September 2017, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo made secondary education free for children in Ghana. This measure was much needed as only 37 percent of students were taking part in secondary school in 2014. The president’s promise removed admission fees, library fees, computer lab fees, examination fees and utility fees and included free textbooks, meals and boarding.

While it is still challenging for poor and rural families to attend school, these efforts to improve access to girls’ education in Ghana have been steps in the right direction.

– Alexandra Eppenauer
Photo: Flickr