Supervisors and Facilitators
Climatically, religiously, linguistically, and culturally, the Northern Region significantly contrasts the politically and economically dominating regions of central and southern Ghana. The Northern Region, occupies an area of about 70,383 square kilometers and is the largest region in Ghana in terms of land area. It shares boundaries with the Upper East and the Upper West Regions to the north, the Brong Ahafo and the Volta Regions to the south, and two neighboring countries, the Republic of Togo to the east, and La Cote d’ Ivoire to the west. Tamale is the capital of the Northern Region.
(Supervisors and Facilitators)The climate of the region is relatively dry, (prompting ENA to construct wells to serve various communities in the north) with a single rainy season that begins in May and ends in October. The dry season starts in November and ends in March/April with maximum temperatures occurring towards the end of the dry season (March-April) and minimum temperatures in December and January. The harmattan winds, which occur during the months of December to early February, have considerable effect on the temperatures in the region, which may vary between 14°C at night and 40°C during the day. Humidity, however, which is very low, mitigates the effect of the daytime heat. The climatic condition in the north is comparatively harsh due to its proximity to the Sahel and Sahara thereby adversely affecting economic activities in the region. The area is under-populated, under cultivated and characteristically impoverished. It is further from the ports, lacking in key infrastructure, vulnerable to a range of tropical diseases and subject to alternating jolts of droughts and floods. The main vegetation is classified as vast areas of grassland, interspersed with the guinea savannah woodland, characterized by drought-resistant trees such as the acacia, baobab, shea nut, dawadawa, mango, neem. Daboya, Sabari, Nasia, Mole, Bui, among others, have exotic birds suitable for bird watching for pleasure. The savannah vegetation has a scenic beauty of its own, with rare species of flora and fauna. Baobab trees and ant-hills are part and parcel of this savannah natural vegetation of the region. Other aspects of the savannah scenery and views are the Nakpanduri and other hilly areas of the northern parts of the region, particularly the Gambaga Escarpment. The region is well known for its peculiar architecture of round huts with conical thatched roofs, which provide a particular scenic view.
The Northern Region of Ghana with its scenic natural features, exotic culture and diversity of ethnic groups consists of 20 districts. The political administration of the region is through the local government system. Each District, Municipal or Metropolitan Area, is administered by a Chief Executive, representing the central government but deriving authority from an Assembly headed by a presiding member elected from among the members themselves.The predominant ethnic group is the Mole-Dagbon, accounting for 52.2 per cent of the population. They represent the largest ethnic group in seven of the 20 districts of the region. The Gurmas are the next predominant ethnic group, making up 21.8 per cent of the population. They are largely concentrated in seven districts and constitute the majority in three, Nanumba, Zabzugu-Tatale and Saboba-Chereponi. The bulk of the Guan ethnic group in the region is concentrated in three districts, Bole, West Gonja and East Gonja.
Educational attainment/literacy in the north is relatively low compared to the rest of the country. ENA’s decision to extend its literacy program to compliment other initiatives in the north is an excellent idea in my opinion.
On the 1st of December 2014, Emmanuel Obboh and I (Cecilia Amankwah) started our 14 hour trip to the Northern region as early 3:30 am to initiate ENA literacy program for the first time. We arrived in Tamale which is the capital of the Northern region at 5 p.m. and checked into our respective rooms in a hotel.
At 5 a.m. the following morning, we proceeded with our trip from Tamale to Walewale through to Gbangu which trip lasted for about 2 ½ hours due to the deplorable nature of the road to Gbangu. I was pleasantly surprised when I witnessed the beauty of Sunrise which cast a yellow glow of light over the eastern horizon as early as 6:00a.m.
I could not help but stop intermittently to shoot some pictures on my camera. We finally arrived at the community school in Gbangu (one of the villages in the Gambaga district) and met with 15 facilitators/instructors and 3 supervisors from the Peace Corps. Janeallison Ng for Gbangu, Kelsey Householder for Daboya, and Adam Aronow for Kolinvai villages who volunteered to supervise the program after ENA training. After a brief introduction, we started the program at 8:00 am prompt. We presented 400 students manuals, 400 workbooks, 400 pieces of pencils, 150 dictionaries, 360 Curves of Destiny, 20 teachers’ guides, 10 lanterns, 7 whiteboards, 50 markers, 4 packets of chalk, attendance sheets, visual aids, assessment and placement forms for participant evaluation, and facilitators/instructors evaluation forms. The ENA literacy program would be covering 10 communities in the Northern region of Ghana of about 340 participants.
I started the training by first of all teaching about the Quality of life Wheel which consist of; Spiritual, Financial, Family, Spouse, Business, Recreation/fan, Community and Education. I reserved education under the quality of life for the last so I could introduce ENA literacy manual and train them on how to teach it to participants. Questions were asked and experiences were shared on how to teach adults which is different from teaching a child. After my presentation to the supervisors, and facilitator/instructors, they were simply amazed by these principles. They could relate to the lessons
and apply the principles taught to every
aspect of their lives.
Adam, one of the supervisors from the Peace Corps said, “I wish I had known about these principles before starting school, I would have been a better person than I am now.”
Facilitators and the Peace Corps supervisors were all happy to receive such training, and promised to do their best to teach it to their participants. Evaluation and assessment tests for facilitators were performed after the training.
With the help of the Peace Corps volunteers we decided which class of literacy participants, each instructor/facilitator would teach. The training lasted for 3 hours and we took some time off to have our lunch. After lunch, literacy materials were shared among supervisors and transportation cost was reimbursed to supervisors and facilitators.
We returned to our hotel and met again the following day at the same venue to perform the assessment and placement test for participants at Gbangu community for Janeallison’s group and had about 120 participants turn up. After the assessment we realized that they needed to divide the class into 2 levels, the beginners and intermediate levels. We did the same at Daboya the following day with about 130 participants.
We also paid a courtesy visit to the chief of Gbangu to inform him about our mission of coming to his village and what our intentions were, and that if there was any way he could encourage participants to take the literacy program seriously. We explained to him that their involvement with literacy could change the mindset of the people for the better and further bring development in the communities. The Chief was happy with our visit and the ENA literacy initiative that we implemented in his village. Fortunately, he is a retired educationalist and has been waiting for a day a program like this would come to his people. He was really enthused about the program and opined literacy could enlighten his people. After the cordial visit, we sought permission to leave.
Our visit to the North came to an end on the 6th of December and we drove back to Accra. From Gambaga to Accra was about 14 hours’ drive. It was a nice but challenging experience for us and we had a very successful literacy training program!To learn more about ENA’s literacy and education initiatives visit our website here!]]>