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Developing a just society based on equity and equal opportunities for all with respect for diversity.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"So for the sake of simplicity I'm changing my name to 'Salaminga-hello' "

Yesterday we had our first day out in the field, kicking off our research in the communities we aim to gather data from. So, at 7.30 AM sharp, with bright eyes and bushy tails the ladies of our team hovered around the front door – ready for our adventure.
We want to learn why boys are dropping out of school help support their families livelihoods; and why so many girls are leaving education due to pregnancy. Last week we designed comprehensive questionnaires for teachers, parents, young mothers and boys who have needed to drop out – so now we are ready to go.

Meeting with the teachers of Nayoku Primary Junior High

We went to the district of West Mamprusi, to prepare the ground for research in some of its more rural villages. So, when we arrived we met up with Miftau, the district officer RAINS, who asked us about our aims, and called a student who worked with him called Mohammed Halisu to assist in being.
We learnt quickly that approaching these communities for their help with the questionnaires would first involve setting up a relationship of mutual respect between us and the focus schools, and more importantly the Chief of the towns. This meant we would have the slightly daunting but very exciting pleasure of meeting the Chief – and we were on best behaviour in hope of his blessing.
One of the Chiefs wives hard at work inside the Chiefs Palace
Before we could get too nervous we found ourselves ushered into the Chiefs Palace, which had a thatched roof and mud walls. We were sat on chairs in front of this very important man, covered in a very large smock, sitting on steps, upon furs, surrounded by leather cushions, with pictures of previous Chiefs around the walls. The community ambassadors knelt before him and eyed the ground - We then realized privileged we were to be offered chairs. This was the Chief of the whole community and though he didn't speak a word of English, we were assured that he was welcoming us, insisting he would pray that God would help with our research.  We thanked him kindly with the local sign of respect reserved for dignitaries, clapping - this response seemed to reaffirm his opinion of us and he was very impressed by this!
Some very happy children from the local school we will be working with!

It was all too quickly then time to jump back in the car, and it was only just over an hour’s drive back to Tamale, the biggest city in The Northern region of Ghana, which seems a world away - crazy!

So, after the warm reception we have received from these communities we are ready to get to action and return to complete our surveys early next week. Until then we’re immersing ourselves in organizing a school uniform recycling scheme, so with top buttons done up and skirts rolled down, it’s bye for now from team RAINS!

By Becky