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
Despite the government’s best efforts, students – particularly girls – are still less likely to make it through senior high schools, colleges and universities. Speaking at the opening ceremony on 31 July, Lydia Bedwei, one of CofA’s founders, welcomed the government’s promise to provide free high school education to all students. This is particularly welcome news for girls in rural areas, who are lagging behind boys in education. She could also see a rise in the number of girls that CofA would need to cater for in the future. Mrs Bedwei urged the government to now focus on basic education by “posting good teachers in rural schools to enhance skills development of young girls”.
This year’s summer camp took place at the University of Ghana’s Volta Hall, which saw 40 keen girls from Berekuso’s and Pokuase’s Basic Schools arriving a few days earlier. The programme included intense tuition in English, Maths and Science, as well as creative arts workshops and talks on adolescent reproductive health.
Setting out CofA’s five-year plan, Jacqueline Daku-Mante, CofA’s Administration Manager, explained: “to provide girls with increased opportunities to take part in Ghana’s future development, we will focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects. This year we added computer coding to the subjects to be taught … with a test at the end of the camp.”
Other speakers at the opening ceremony included Gloria Apraku-Aparlouis, Girls Education Officer of the Ghana Education Service. She identified the keys to enhance girl-child education in society: self-discipline and motivation. “You are worthier than the illegal miners who always destroy your bright future by impregnating you (referring to an incident reported in the press). Make higher education your aim and it will provide you with a beautiful future.”
One of this year’s volunteers, Nana Ama Mensah – a third-year biochemistry student at the University of Ghana – explained her motivation: “When I was asked last year to volunteer I did not hesitate at all as I am a strong believer in girls’ education, having come from the same background.”
Clockwise, from top left: Lydia Bedwei welcoming guests; the 2017 CofA girls; Dr Erika Adomako; Gloria Apraku-Aparlouis; Nana Ama-Mensah and the girls performing their danceatthe ceremony.
Motivators and role models
Every summer camp includes motivational talks by successful women professionals. Dr Eureka Adomako (pictured above) - a Volta Hall Tutor and former Ghana TV’s National Science & Maths Quiz mistress – spoke about her work as a scientist, a career choice that perhaps isn’t on most girls’ radar, but with the right motivation and determination, they are just as likely as anyone else to succeed in this field. One of CofA’s aims is to dispel the myth that “girls don’t do science”.
Many have identified a lack of leadership at all levels of society as one of Ghana’s greatest challenges. So who better to teach CofA girls about what good leaders look like than Golda Naa Adaku Addo-Baidoo, a philanthropist with a passion for energy sources and solutions, mental transformation, and improved understanding of leadership.
Financial literacy empowers people. That was the message from the Access Bank’s team that came to talk about financial planning in their workshop 'Saving for the Youth'.
Experiences from two former CofA girls
“I heard about 'success', but didn’t know how I could achieve it. I improved my public speaking, my vocabulary and how to control my tongue! The way I dressed and held my posture also improved. CofA helped me academically because our teachers were inadequate,” says Eunice Opare.
"I have now completed Senior High School and I have just been offered a scholarship to Ashesi University."
"I am normally the shy type,” admits Amassah Aisha Afum. “I joined CofA in 2012, when I was in Junior High School in Berekuso. Though I had good teachers in Junior High School, I was not good at reading and public speaking. With CofA's help, I overcame my shyness and received help with Maths and English vocabulary.
"The summer camp introduced us to distinguished speakers who encouraged and motivated us on all things we had no knowledge of. They became our role models.
"Thank you CofA for bringing me this far because I never thought I would ever get to St Stephens Presbyterian Senior High School, let alone graduating from there."
Following in Professor Nana Apt’s footsteps
This year’s camp is dedicated to the late Nana Apt, one of CofA’s founders and it’s Chief Executive until her sudden death earlier this year. CofA has come a long way since its first summer camp at Ashesi University’s campus ten years ago and all those involved in the work of CofA are now even more committed to see Nana Apt’s legacy live on.
Friends and sponsors of CofA
Finally, a big thank you to our donors and sponsors: African Mining Services (AMS), this year’s major sponsor. We also thank Access Bank for their support, all our instructors, volunteers and guest speakers. We are also grateful for the generous donations from 'Friends of CofA' in the USA and the UK.Family, Friends and colleagues of the late Professor Apt donated a total of GHc 10,000 at her funeral earlier this year. Nana Apt was CofA's Chief Executive and one of the organisation's founding members. A big thank you to all!