The German non-profit association JugendPartnerschaft Ghana e.V. (JPG) aims at supporting adolescents in rural northern Ghana towards an independent life. JPG is working closely with its partner organisation Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana (YHFG), which is located in Bolgatanga, the capital of the Upper East Region.
Education | Sexual health | Entrepreneurial skills | Agri-business development
JPG and YHFG main goal is the empowering of the youth in northern Ghana by promotion of education and an enhanced support of young people towards an independent and self-reliant life, in particular for girls and young women. The activities are organized in four strongly interconnected programme areas as shown above.
Reference: Wikimedia Commons
Education is the key!
Empowering the youth means educating the youth. Therefore, each and every child has to have access to primary and secondary education – not only access to school but as well success in school with meaningful learning outcomes.
In rural northern Ghana, too many children from underprivileged families still do not benefit from the educational system. Even though most children nowadays attend primary school, less than 40% get the chance to proceed further. Adolescents, who against all odds reach secondary school (= high school), often do not find any academic support. Therefore, drop out and failure rates are reported to be up to 80% during the first attempt at their final exams.
At this point, in particular girls face great challenges by being pushed into early marriage instead of being able to pursue and complete their education. Teenage pregnancy and child marriage are some of the factors with a clearly negative impact on the school cycle of the young woman. Girls who fail in thier school exams risk a future without further options than to marry at a very young age. To fight this problem, YHFG is active in various campaigns and programmes against child marriage and runs its own remedial school. Girls who failed the final exams in the first place can visit the YHFG remedial school classes for free, to get properly prepared for their second attempt to pass the final exams. After passing the final exams, the girls can continue their secondary school education. Read more about the other three main acivity areas.
Since our first project in 2003, JPG and YHFG have established a close connection with students in the Bolgatanga municipality. We found that a lack of self-esteem and self-confidence might be at the same time the symptom and the cause for their poor performance during the final school exams, resulting in continuing dependency during their future life and the lack of development in the young generation.
To our understanding, the following factors play a crucial role:
- Lack of support by the parents who often live far away in the villages.
- Insufficient support by the schools due to large classes and the quality of teaching.
- Financial burden of the adolescents and the need to care for their own livelihood.
- Conflicts with traditional way of life and view of the world.
- Discrimination of young women, e.g. by forcing them into early marriage, leads to abandoned school education and little independence.
- Taboo to talk about sensitive issues such as sexuality.
With the youth centre as a central point of reference for all young people in need, we aim to support each individual. At the same time, we offer room for the youth to develop their own skills and practise them in a safe environment. The close contact with the Harvest clubs created an atmosphere of trust between YHFG and the adolescents, which is a very strong basis for the collaboration within the youth centre.