16-year-old Bernice Gbadzi lives in the Koru community located in the Kadjebi District of the Oti Region of Ghana.
A student of the Koru District Assembly Basic and Junior High School and currently in Form Three, Bernice is preparing for her final examinations with one goal of becoming a nurse in the future.
“I finally feel ready to write my Basic Education Certificate Examinations.”
Bernice’s favourite subject is science; and she would need to ace the subject in order to fulfil her dream. However last year by this time, she wasn’t confident about taking the examinations.
“My science teacher used to stay far away from the community and always arrived late to school. Because of this, we never had enough time to finish any of the lessons.”
With a population of about 700, Koru, a rural community, is located about 44km from the district capital, Kadjebi, and lacks access to some basic utilities such as electricity, water and health care. However, the community has one good thing, Primary and junior high school block that provides education to children from three surrounding communities. However, its remoteness and inadequate basic amenities coupled with teachers neglecting or refusing posting to the community, have s affected access to education for children from Koru and its environs.
As one of ActionAid Ghana’s sponsored communities in the District, Koru has been supported with training on the Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) as well as sensitisation training to its Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and School Management Committee (SMC). Due to this, community members understand the role of education in breaking the cycle of poverty. As a result, community members and teachers took the initiative to construct a Teachers' Quarters to attract teachers to the community and promote access to education for their children.
The proactiveness of the community attracted the attention of volunteers from Greece and Cyprus and in August 2017, a 32-member volunteer team from ActionAid Greece paid a week-long visit to Koru to work hand-in-hand with community members to complete the construction of their teachers’ quarters.
Months after the support of the volunteers, teachers are coming to school on time and increasing contact hours with students.
Sylvanus Atumi is a teacher at the school,
“I used to miss lessons due to lateness, I live in the Dodo-Tamale community which is about 7 kilometres from Koru. Getting to school was very tiring because I had to use my own motorbike and fuel it myself. On days when I didn’t have enough money, it was difficult to get to class. Aside that, the long treacherous commute was another issue. I had an accident with my bike on the way to school and was admitted to the hospital for a week. I was falling behind on the curriculum but since the Teachers’ Quarters was built, I am yet to miss a class. It has also cut down my cost of living and reduce safety threats.”
Head Teacher of the school, Wilson Sogah Kwaku is hopeful students’ performance will improve as a result of the construction of the Teachers' Quarters
“I am grateful to the volunteers. Without them and the support of ActionAid, the Teachers’ Quarters would never have been completed because we run out of funds and it made the structure uninhabitable. I was happy and amazed by the efforts of the community members and the volunteers. I helped to dig the foundation and supervised the work so I feel I am a part of the structure. Even more important, I am hopeful that the academic performance of students will increase. Already, I have begun recording reduced absenteeism and students are punctual and regular, which was never the case before because teachers always came late to school.”