Report from Elijah Kombian Fant, Master Programme in Indigenous Studies, University of Tromsø
Financial support to the project:
“Education, NGOs and the Girl Child: The Case of Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo District in Nothern Ghana”
The Centre for Sami Studies and the Centre for Environment and Development gave me financial support to help me travel from Tromsø to Ghana to collect primary and secondary data from May 19 to August 30, 2007. My thesis is about the education of girls in predominately patriarchy society in Nakpanduri (Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo District) in the northern region of Ghana.
Girls’ education is a right and also a powerful force of economic and social development particularly in sub-Saharan Africa that has some of the world’s poorest countries and the highest illiteracy rates. Undoubtedly, education as a human right is guaranteed under the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child. This convention is the most widely ratified international treaty in the world today. Yet, Basic Education for All is still very far from being achieved for African children particularly the girl child.
The colonial legacy of uneven acquisition of education, by different ethnic or groups or in different regions in Ghana has challenged education in the North. This unevenness in the impact of education was sometimes owing to colonial policies favoring or “protecting” one group or section against another. The late arrival education of education into the Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo District (Northern Ghana) has thus being a factor responsible for the low level of literacy in the North. It is however unfortunate that upon accessing education, the people of the area have not given equal opportunities to both females and males. It is not unusual among the people to see some parents deny their girl child the opportunity to access education. Favorable environments are usually credited for the boy child right from childhood till they become adults. Even in the area, when a boy is born, he is considered as a higher human being than a girl. Traditional beliefs practice and sayings perpetuate gender imbalance in terms of education.
In the light of this, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are complementing the government efforts to enhance educational opportunities of girls in the Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo District through the provision of teaching and learning materials, school uniforms, recreational facilities and the paying of school fees as some of the interventions in the education sector. Providing uniforms particularly has a very positive impact on girls’ self-esteem. Clothes are valued in rural communities and the sight for the first time of large numbers of girls walking smartly and confidently to school are rising parental and community pride.
The motivation behind writing on this topic is due to the fact that, Nakpanduri and for that matter Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo has the large of illiterate women in the area. Second, there has not been enough research and studies done on the status of girls’ education in the area. I have interest in the issues of girls’ education with the belief that when the girlchild is educated, they would be in a better position to fight discrimination held against women in the area and the nation as whole.
This study hypothesizes that certain cultural norm of the people Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo District keeps the girl child out of school. That the education of girls would improve their life chances prepare them for adulthood and enhance the welfare of their household.
Various techniques of data collection methods were use in my fieldwork in Ghana. For example, open-end questions, informal discussion, focus group discussion were use to interview schools girls, Teachers, Parents and Officials of NGOs. Document studies were also employed in the field to gather secondary data. The purposive sampling selection technique otherwise refers to as judgement samples was therefore employed in this study to get information rich girls for this research.