On 31 July the opening ceremony of the 10th CofA summer camp took place at the Volta Hall, University of Ghana.
Forty excited girls from bacic schools in Berekuso and Pokuase spent two weeks taking part in the activities, learning and experiencing life at a university campus. Our video shares som of their impressions. You can read the full story here.
Somewhat nervous, but keen to start the 2017 CofA summer camp, the girls arrive at the Volta Hall.more
This year was the tenth year of CofA Summer Camps and last July/August saw the largest number of girls taking part since the first Camp in 2006.
The 2016 CofA Summer Training Camp saw the largest number of girls since the first Summer Camp in 2006. The cohort of 61 students was made up of 40 new recruits from Berekuso, Ayim (Eastern Rural) and Pokuase (Rural Accra) plus 21 returning girls – five from Junior High School and 16 Senior High School girls.
Using our tried and tested curriculum, the girls received additional tutoring in academic subjects: Mathematics, General Science, English and ICT.
CofA developed a more holistic approach to teaching English, covering grammar, to help with constructing sentences; and comprehension and writing, to boost reading and writing skills. Communication skills, public speaking and ‘Express Yourself’, were designed to build-up their vocabulary so they can speak in front of an audience with confidence. Timidity and shyness is a common problem faced by many of our girls.
Many girls are often frustrated by not being able to use a computer at school: “The teachers only come to class and write on the board while the actual computers sit in the labs as showcase.” Understandably, there was much excitement when each girl had access to their own PC in ICT class. “We were even allowed to touch them!”
Equal importance was given to creativity and innovation: two essential life skills: both personal and professional. The creative arts don’t usually feature in the curriculum of schools in Ghana’s poorer, rural areas. We saw some very beautiful collages and African print being created.
Empowering young women is another promise that CofA makes. A group of successful, professional women – that included professor Nana Araba Apt, Founder and Honorary CEO of CofA – led a number of motivational sessions to instil self-esteem.
Other equally important life skills taught included adolescent reproductive health with sex education and physical and hormonal changes during puberty as the main focus); body hygiene and good nutritional values.
Some of the girls never travelled outside their own communities. So this was a good opportunity to introduce them to Accra’s sights and monuments: from the ‘temple of shopping’, the Accra Mall, to the Sports Stadium, Independent Square and the Nkrumah Mausoleum. A great day out for the girls.
Senior High School girls
Studies on the SHS group showed that even upon completion from the Basic School level and entering Senior High School, the girls still had problems with Maths and English. The extra tuition included lots of class and group assignments.
From comprehension to abstention: what the girls said about the camp
Professor Apt met with the girls to evaluate the camp to find out how the girls benefited, what they liked – and didn’t like – and where they think we could do better. Said one of the girls: “We learnt new and simpler methods for solving Maths problems, such as long divisions and multiplication,” while another thought that “in order to abstain from pre-marital sex and avoid teenage pregnancy, I must distance herself from bad company and friends who will try to influence her negatively.”
Professor Apt concluded the feedback session by encouraging the girls to continue to work hard. “CofA can only support girls that contribute to their own development.”
In closing the 2016 summer camp, Andrea Opoku-Dwamena, who chairs the CofA board, encouraged the girls to stay focused and make use of this opportunity given them. She also thanked all volunteers, mentors, teachers, donors, sponsors and everyone who made this year’s camp again a success.
The full report can be downloaded here.