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Friday, June 26, 2015

The RAINS are here again...

Rafia Hussain and Paisley Allan

Regional Advisory Information and Network Systems (or RAINS) is a registered NGO in Ghana. It was founded in 1993 and has over 22 years of experience improving the lives of marginalised communities and sections of society. RAINS works to reduce child labour and exploitation, increase access to education, improve educational governance structures, assist farming communities to adapt to climate change and promote safe sexual practices. 
RAINS ICS has two main projects - Safe Choices and Students for Schooling. 
The major aim of Safe Choices is to prevent occurrences of teenage pregnancy and STIs in Tamale and surrounding communities, to empower young people to take control of their bodies and prevent school drop out. The project aims to increase education about safe sex practices by running sensitisation sessions for communities in partnership with medical professionals from Marie Stopes International. Peer educators have been identified in communities previously sensitised and have been trained to ensure the sustainability of interventions, so that when volunteers leave there is a trusted point of contact for any questions or queries about sexual health. Non-Traditional Condom Distributors such as barbers or seamstresses are in the process of being trained so condoms can be cheaply available within the communities, and media campaigns have also been in full swing to spread the message of safe sex to Tamale and beyond. We are hoping to continue work begun by previous cohorts to develop an image based leaflet to distribute to communities after our sensitisations.
Students for Schooling is a twinning scheme between underprivileged government schools and private schools in Tamale and surrounding areas. It started as a simple uniform and school equipment donation programme to ensure children don't miss school because they lack equipment. It is evolving into a more involved partnership scheme where the schools meet and develop relationships between the staff and students to share friendship, knowledge and ideas.
We are the eleventh ICS cohort with RAINS, which is testament to how productive the partnership has been. We will continue work begun by previous cohorts to continue to empower young people across the northern region by tackling some of the root causes that prevent them from accessing education. We've spent our first two weeks getting to know one another, learning how RAINS works and doing preparatory work so we can get out and about in the rural communities as soon as possible. We can't wait to make it RAIN!