With this Leave for Change volunteer assignment I am so very fortunate to have the chance to work at Pamoja Ghana, also known as Ghana REFLECT Practitioners Network.
The Ghana Reflect practitioners’ Network, popularly known as Pamoja Ghana, is a Network of youth and adult education practitioners who use REFLECT and other participatory methods for literacy and development work. REFLECT is an acronym, which stands for Regenerated Freirian Literacy Empowerment and Community Techniques. It is a right-based approach to development and a participatory tool to literacy, poverty alleviation and community development. Pamoja Ghana is affiliated to Pamoja West Africa, Pamoja Africa and the global network of REFLECT practitioners, known as the Circle for International REFLECT Action and Communication (CIRAC). The Ghana Network currently has a membership of thirty-two organizations in all the ten (10) administrative regions of Ghana.
Pamoja Ghana network has as its main aim, promoting empowerment and sustainable development particularly in rural communities with special attention to promoting, protecting and fulfillment of human rights of citizens and achieving the Education for All (EFA) goals by 2015. Pamoja Ghana works with the poor, the marginalized, and the voiceless; most of whom are non literate and live in hard to reach areas.
Pamoja is doing very important work. Approximately 40% of the population of Ghana cannot read and write, and the majority of these are women and girls! The literacy of this segment of the population is critical to sustainable national development in Ghana.
My assignment is with the Secretariate Office in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. Pamoja is located in a quiet neighborhood in Adenta Municipality, across from the MTN office, just turn down the road with the Turquoise building at the end…and yes, that is the ‘official’ address since there are no street names…which is disconcerting at first because we are used to following street names in Canada, however using landmarks for direction has become easier with practice.
…the view down the lane from the office,
…and looking back towards the Adenta to Accra Road,
Look for the two story green building with the brick-red-coloured gate, and there is a sign. The second story is visible from the Adenta to Accra Road. In this picture, mewo ha.
Millicent Akoto is the National Director and was the first person from Pamoja Ghana whom I met while taking part in the in-country orientation offered by WUSC. At lunch that day, we both enjoyed Banku; Millicent enjoyed the traditional Ghanaian sauce while I enjoyed the ‘very light spicy version for Canadians.” It was the first meal I ate with my fingers, and not the last.
With a network of over 30 NGOs across Ghana, Millicent and her team are very busy doing great work. Here is a picture of Millicent and I in her office,
At Pamoja, I share an office with the financial officer for Pamoja, Alfred Hammond. He is a very nice man and has made me feel very welcome. He has helped me learn some Twi! 🙂
Here is a picture of Alfred and I,
Janet Amewu is the Deputy and Program Coordinator, and she kindly accompanied me on my first Tro Tro ride home from the office to ensure I found my way,
Carol Greene is the Administration Officer and the friendly face that will greet you as you arrive. She is my newest facebook friend,
Robert Gbley works part time at the office as the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer. He also works on IT and related matters. He picked me up at the hotel on my second day at work and travelled with me to the office so that I could learn the transportation system. Ghanaians treat their guests and friends, and everyone, with much kindness.
There is a school near by and so often times you can hear the children playing. One of my most memorable moments occurred last Friday as I sat working beside the open window. Friday is physical education day at the school and so all of the children went to the field to play in the morning. As they returned to the school at about 10:30 or 11:00, the children all joined together, singing, and the joy of their music filled the office. It was truly beautiful.