Ghana’s economy has expanded significantly during the past decade, hailed as one of the fastest-growing in Africa. Economic success has contributed to an impressive reduction in poverty, with Ghana becoming the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to achieve Millennium Development Goal 1 (The World Bank in Ghana, 2019), a target within the UN’s framework to eradicate extreme poverty. (United Nations General Assembly, 2015) Over the last two decades, poverty in Ghana has been reduced by more than half (The World Bank in Ghana, 2019), something that can be attributed to government-led initiatives combined with the fantastic contributions of non-government organizations. As is the case in many countries across the globe, however, there remains much work to be done, particularly in more rural areas. The UN declared the eradication of poverty as the first of 17 Sustainable Development Goals. To achieve this, Ghana must, by 2030, ensure that no individuals are living in “extreme” poverty, ensuring access to adequate food, water, shelter, and healthcare (United Nations General Assembly, 2015). A recent publication from UNICEF demonstrates, worryingly, that extreme poverty is most prevalent among children. Troubling, too, is that this poverty is multidimensional, with children deprived in numerous areas. (UNICEF, 2019) Deprivations in relation to education are particularly concerning. Often, poverty is inter-generational, with deprivation transcending the life of one individual to affect their descendants too. Inter-generational poverty can be incredibly complex and therefore extremely difficult to remedy. Studies repeatedly indicate, however, that ensuring the provision of high quality, easily accessible education is crucial in liberating communities from cycles of poverty (Mshoro, 2019; Koulouris, 2020).
In 2017, president Nana Akufo-Addo made the country’s commitment to education evident, pledging to ensure free secondary level tuition for all young people (Martínez, 2017). Literacy rates are consistently increasing across much of Ghana, indicating the success of government policies, but many children continue to be denied a high-quality education due to a lack of resources and facilities (UNICEF, 2019).
The World Inspiring Network passionately believes that every child, regardless of background, should have access to education. Government initiatives are crucial to improving education in Ghana, but, due to their scope, naturally have the potential to generalize communities, neglecting to consider each child as an individual. It must be non-government organizations and charities, then, that must place emphasis on the individual within the initiative.
The World Inspiring Network, through numerous projects, is working to do this, forming close connections with communities to determine how best to help. In May of 2019, for example, the organization, directed by the conclusion of a survey conducted earlier in the year, collaborated with the Church of the Pentecost to compile and deliver essential resources to Osunu Dompe Methodist school. The World Inspiring Network ensured, too, that the wider community was supported, providing clothing and food to the children and their families. By fulfilling their fundamental needs, volunteers ensured that children could begin to concentrate on their education, helping them, in turn, to fulfill their potential at school.
Efforts such as these are, of course, crucial steps along the path to providing an education to disadvantaged children in Ghana. It is critical, however, that this effort is sustained over the coming months and years. Poverty is truly horrendous, with the potential to reach across generations and constrain entire communities, presenting a complex problem to governments and non-government organizations alike.
The World Inspiring Network is determined, however, to be part of the solution and has, as such, launched the Education Response Fund, supporting children and providing them with the resources they need to fulfill their potential. Ghana has one of the world’s youngest populations (UNICEF, 2019).
To ensure continued growth, the country must invest in its young people, supporting their fundamental rights and ensuring that they have access to high-quality education. By introducing the Education Response Fund, the World Inspiring Network vows to make a sustained contribution in this investment, making positive differences to the lives of individuals, and, consequently, contributing to the wider success of the nation.
By: Hannah Jackson
Koulouris, G., 2020. Why SDG 4 Quality Education Is Important for Poverty Reduction. [online] LSE International Development. Available at: <https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/internationaldevelopment/2019/11/25/why-sdg-4-quality-education-is-important-for-poverty reduction/#:~:text=Education%20is%20the%20most%20powerful,better%20future%20in%20their%20life.> [Accessed 11 June 2020].
United Nations General Assembly. 2015. Resolution 70/1: Transforming Our World (25 September 2015). [Online]. A/RES/70/1. [Accessed 11/06/2020]
Martínez, E., 2017. Ghana Makes Secondary Schools Free | Human Rights Watch. [online] Human Rights Watch. [Accessed 11 June 2020].
Mshoro, I., 2019. Reducing Poverty Through Education – And How | United Nations. [online] United Nations, Chronicle. [Accessed 11 June 2020].
World Bank. 2019. The World Bank in Ghana. [Accessed 12 June 2020].
UNICEF, 2019. Multi-Dimensional Child Poverty in Ghana. [online] Accra: National Development Planning Commission, p.11. [Accessed 11 June 2020].