Our community learning centers provide young children with the opportunity to attend school in rural Northern Ghana. Each child receives a daily lunch. Students also get school uniforms, sewn by our vocational training participants. Classes, taught by local teachers, use environmental and cultural themes and outdoor learning includes school gardens and tree planting. Our learning centers also offer literacy and health classes for youth and adults.
In some rural communities there are no schools within walking distance. And, in other villages the schools are overcrowded or lack staff and supplies. Many children do not begin school until they are aged eight or older and many others are able to attend only briefly. Unfortunately, few adult women in our partner communities were ever able to attend school. Thus, educating the next generation and insuring that half of the students are girls is particularly important.
Our community learning centers were designed, built, and opened by our local partners. They are constructed to be sustainable with kitchens, food storage, rainwater catchment, and solar power. Staff are all local and are able to teach a bilingual curriculum that engages children in learning about culture, sustainable farming, and wildlife. Daily lunches help to improve nutrition in a region challenged by weather changes and soil degradation.
Educating children and helping families achieve literacy is essential to sustainable development. However, our community-led approach goes beyond this starting point and provides students with opportunities to continue their learning through high school or in vocational training. We seek to create a path to local employment for all of our students, beginning with the first step - kindergarten at our community learning centers. We also hope this long-term, sustainable model will inspire others.