‘Hoe kijkt coördinator Stephen Abarika terug op het project?

De partner vertelt... van 7 oktober 2019 door Stephen Abarika


Elk jaar vragen we onze partner hoe het project is gegaan en welke lessen de partner heeft geleerd.

Context and summary Describe the original plan/idea for the project. Has the project been executed as planned? Sumniboma # 2 is a farming community located in the newly created North East Region of Northern Ghana. The community, just like other rural communities in northern Ghana lack behind in respect of development. Education infrastructure was almost next to nothing at the time community leaders through GES and East Mamprusi Local government contacted AG Care for assistance to develop the education sector of the community. The original plan was to work with the community to built a classroom block with funding from WSN. The plan however changed since the local government started to construct 6 classroom block before AG Care and WSN project. At this point, the community then requested for a teacher accommodation. This was approved. The strong link between having accommodation for teachers in the community and its positive effect on teaching and learner performance made stakeholders at the community level provide good support for the construction of the teacher accommodation building. Teachers travel hours on a daily basis to go and teach. A lot of time is spent traveling to and from school thereby reducing the required time teachers are expected to teach. This challenge has been identified in most rural communities to be one of the major contributing factors that results in poor learner performance. It was expected that the successful completion of the project will contribute to good quality teaching and learning and improved learner performance in the community. The unfortunate thing is that the classroom project that was started by government of Ghana in 2016 is still not completed. It's sad. According to the local government office in Gambaga, they are not sure when the classroom project will be completed. Going forward, AG Care will continue to check with the local government and to lobby and advocate for the completion of the classroom block as soon as funds are made available to the local government for the completion of on-going projects. Give a (short) general description of the implementation of the project. Planning, organizing, implementation, scheduling etc. during the project was to a large extent well managed, given the context of the local project community. The community was well mobilised and empowered with relevant information about the project. This led to effective project delivery. The WS team exhibited high level of flexibility during the project period which paved way for easy integration and good flow of work on site. Materials were in full supply on site. Local government and Ghana Education Service staff gave their full support during the implementation of the project. Coordination among key stakeholders was very good. The outcome was the sound team work during the project implementation that played a major role in delivering the desire project output within an agreed time frame. Rains delayed some activities such as plastering and painting. How do you look back on the following topics? How was it arranged, what went well, what could be done better? Construction Buildings worked on The type of building worked on during the GH 319 is a teacher accommodation. Construction works on the teacher accommodation was carried out in line with approved building design/plan. Ideally, two apartments should have been worked on but due to additional funding, three apartments were worked on. All necessary building materials were positioned in good time for the commencement and completion of the project. AG Care technical team and the Dutch technical leader planned, worked and monitored together and succeeded in leading other members of the Dutch team and local community members to execute the project. The community was put into sections. Each section had days they come out to work on the building project. One exciting point that stood out was the way and manner local leaders lead by example. The leaders in the community by themselves were directly active on the project. By the time the Dutch team left the project community, roofing was done, plumbing, electrical works and plastering were on-going. Tasks to be done As at the time the team was leaving Sumniboma # 2, works that were to be carried out included the completion of plumbing, electricals, ceiling, plastering, painting, finishing and the construction of septic tank. Tackling the finishing works, AG Care local artisan mobilised to the site professionals to undertake various tasks aimed at completing the project. The different professional worked coordinately and by the third week after the departure of the Dutch team from Sumniboma # 2 community, work on the teacher accommodation was completed and has since been handed over for use by teachers posted to the primary school in Sumniboma # 2. At this point the objective to construct 3-unit semi-detached teacher accommodation in Sumniboma # 2 was achieved. Programs Children program The programme offered children the opportunity to partake in variety of activities that enhance their skills in singing, drawing and colouring, tracing, storytelling, playing etc. One could see the enthusiasm with which the children participated in these activities directed by World Servants Volunteers. Above all, the children’s programme created a lot of awareness among the children in the community who God is and how He loves them. Organizing children in groups for specific activities was one strategy adopted for the children’s programme. This approach helped in managing children during the programme and also promoted concentration among the children and promoted learning among the children. Cultural and touristic outings A mix of cultural exchange activities were carried out during the period participants stayed in the community. Participants visited local homes, local market, hospital, church, waterfalls and Mole Park. Home visits: The participants divided themselves into groups and with translators, visited the community members home to interact with household families, to know and share their family daily lives experiences with each other. During the visit, participants discovered how big a household was, marital rites, the number of wives’ men in the community are allowed to have, what they do for a living, how the women in the village cook their traditional foods. Participants in return, shared with their host the Dutch culture. Visit to Market: Participants visited a local market. The visit afforded participants the opportunity to witness how trading in goods and services is carried out in the village setting. The team visited Kulgona market. Some members of the team bought chicken, soft drinks/minerals and water melon. It was great fun. Visit to hospital: The participants had the privilege of visiting and interacting with staff of Kulgona CHPS compound. A CHPS compound is a community health delivery facility lower than clinic which serve as the first point of call for community members should they fall sick. The officer in-charge at the CHPS compound conducted participants around the facility and gave a talk on how the Ghanaian health systems work. The CHPS compound serves 4 communities on minor ailments and normal delivery. Visit to church: Participants participated in church service during the project. For the first Sunday, the team fellowshipped with Baptist church in Sumniboma # 2. The second Sunday was the participants day and they led in everything/all activity including preaching. Traditional Dance (display): Exchange of traditional dances between participants and locals were organised. It was an exhilarating moment to watch. On the 6th day of participants stay in Sumniboma # 2, at about 8pm the community dance troupe arrived at the house the participants were living for the entertainments. Both participants and the community took their turns to showcase and display their cultures. The whole community was there to watch and feed their eyes! Touristic outings: The GH 319 team paid a visit to the Kintampo Water Falls on their journey to Sumniboma no 2 (project community). It was an exciting experience for the team. They had fun in the falls. On their way to Accra from the project community, participants also visited the Mole National Park at Damango, went on a safari saw elephants and all kinds of animals in parks with tour guides explaining and answering questions about the park, it was lovely! And in James Fort prison in Accra built by the British government during the slave trade era it was unfortunate keys to fort couldn’t be found but they were taken round the fishing community and the tour guide gave the history of the fort and the participants learnt about the role the British played during the slave trade. Life Skills program and Football for Water Life skills was also organised for the teenagers in Sumniboma # 2. This program focused on self-awareness, self-esteem, coping with peer pressure, environmental awareness, basic hygiene issues, sharing, learning by example, empathy, care and support from community when it comes to dealing with people with problems. The program was based on biblical principles with Christian values and standards that can bring a big change in the lives of the teenagers. The participants interacted with the local teenagers shared ideas with each other, shared the love of God with the teenagers, talked about Christian lifestyles and how that could affect their decision making positively, they learnt about how to reduce stigma and discrimination the message of the bible to love one another, they both gained knowledge about different themes e.g. friendship, love, hygiene. The methodology adopted during the programme was that participating individuals were put in smaller groups for effective participation and sharing of their experiences. The participants organized 4 football matches between themselves, Sumniboma No.2 and Kolgona communities to play football and have talk on water, sanitation and hygiene to let the children know the importance of personal hygiene, clean environment and the need to treat water properly before usage. It was a combination with youth and children who came to watch the matches, they used 4 days for this activity. The participants talked about the importance on frequent hand washing through running water with soap before eating, after using the loo, before cooking, after cleaning/touching anything, clean nails, ensure that their environment where the community members live is clean all the time and washing of the utensils they use in cooking. The participants used picture and demonstrations on how to properly wash hands clean. The expected impact of that was for children to become aware and practice good personal hygiene. The Sumniboma no. 2 team emerged the winners and were given a trophy Cooperation and involvement Leadership team World Servants The leadership team for project GH 319 was on the whole responsive. They executed their assigned roles and activities effectively during the project. They were by themselves fully involved in all other project activities. AG Care wishes to recommend that in future projects, team leaders should try to heed to advises given by local implementing partners mainly on issues concerning how a team should related project community members. A case in example is where AG Care advised the leadership of the Sumniboma # 2 team not to leave their cloths with community members at the end of the project because of the possibility of such an act to create problems among community members which could further weaken community solidarity for common community projects. In this particular project, the leadership of the team decided not to take AG Care’s advice and went ahead to give out the clothes to the community with the explanation that they have done that in another country. Local leaders / key persons Local leaders put in their best as long as this project is concerned. Key persons in the community were very instrumental in mobilizing the local community for the project. The community chief and his council, AG Care coordinator, head teacher, circuit supervisor worked tirelessly, together with WS leadership to make the project a big success. Community Community members of Sumniboma and people from surrounding communities participated actively in the project before, during and after the participants left the project community. The community supported the project with unskilled labour. They also provided security for participants. The objective to have active participation of members of the community during the project was achieved. Beneficiaries The project enjoyed good cooperation and involvement from teachers who are in this case the direct beneficiaries of the project. This high level of involvement in the project by teachers of the school demonstrates how useful the teacher accommodation is to their delivery as professional teachers. The project objective to improve good quality teaching by classroom teachers by keeping them in the community and close to school through the construction of a teacher accommodation was achieve 2 months ago. (Local) authorities The local government officials and the district education directorate gave their full support for the project. Their cooperation and involvement came to light when the local government approached AG Care with a request for teachers’ accommodation on behalf of the community. Secondly, staff of the local government and Ghana education Service played a major role mobilizing the community for the project. By this action, they demonstrated that as duty-bearers and whose responsibility it is to provided desired infrastructure for schools appreciated the relationship cooperation with AG Care and WS. Facilitation of the team Accommodation Accommodation was well arranged under the prevailing condition in the project community. Participants were accommodated in a private house with a spacious compound. Rooms in the house were not standard rooms. Some of the rooms were overcrowded. Food Food served during the project was good. The cooks did their best to provide some variety of foods. Meat intake was less due to the breakdown of project generator that powered the fridge that was used to store perishable foods such as meet. Going forward, AG Care recommend the purchase of two new generators in 2020 for WS projects in Ghana. Transportation Transportation doing the project period was good. With a fifty-seater bus, there was enough space/room for participants on the bus throughout the trip. AG Care provided a jeep which was used to facilitate the project. Safety AG Care before the project carried pre-project security checks with officials from local government, education office and community leaders. This was necessary to identify and map out strategies to handle associated risks before and during the project. For this particular project, this was very necessary since there were registered conflicts around the project area. All key stakeholders played vital roles to make the project period one without any problems. Lessons learned 1. Replacing project generators every four years is crucial for sustainable power supply during projects organized in communities without electricity. It became a big challenge for the project to preserve meat for the project because the generator which is 7 years old developed a problem. The generator set that was sent to the Asenema project as back-up was harvested and sent to Sumniboma # 2 project. It however took a long time to transport it to the community via public transport. AG Care proposes to buy 2 new gen sets next year. This proposal will be discussed with WS.