Community Journalism creates Impact- Story of Awalia E/A Primary School.
The Community Journalism component of YEFL-GHANA’s youth empowerment strategy has highlighted numerous community issues over the years to which solutions have been provided. The project has been active till present for the magnanimous results achieved periodically, hence expanding the pool of community journalists from time to time.
The Citizen-led Action for Educational Accountability and Responsiveness in Ghana, CLEAR PROJECT, implemented by YEFL-GHANA and GHANA DEVELOPING COMMUNITIES ASSOCIATION-GDCA and led by SCHOOL for LIFE presented yet another opportunity for young people to be trained as community journalist. YEFL-GHANA as a partner on the project shouldered the task and trained 12 selected young people to serve as community journalists in their various communities.
Four (4) days are surely short to train an individual to be a journalist, but not impossible, and with YEFL-GHANA’s principle of ‘learning by doing’ and the spirit of volunteerism 4 days was enough to prepare these young people to explore the educational loopholes in their communities. Evident to this is a story written by Issah Abdul Rashid, a community journalist from Gambaga, a town in the East-Mamprusi District, North East Region.
His story is based on the poor infrastructure state of a primary school named AWALIA E/A PRIMARY in Gambaga. The school has a total population of 186 pupils collectively from KG to Primary 6. This school since 2016 have lacked tables and chairs for all classrooms which makes learning difficult and inconducive to the students. The story highlighted the fact that administration of school reached out to the Municipal Assembly for assistance, to which ‘no funds’ was the response gotten form the assembly.
The education directorate for the Municipality, the Parents, Teachers Association of the school and the Member of Parliament for the Constituency were all informed of the situation all in hopes of aid. The latter responded by inviting an international NGO, during which photographs of the schools were taken for reasons not known. Unfortunately, nothing practical was done afterwards, thus all efforts taken as of then proved futile.
Luckily yet not sustainable, straw mats were provided by an Non-profit Organization, PTA and meager funds from the school to temporary help. This intervention surely wasn’t sustainable and suitable, since not all classes had the mats, so other students had to lie on their stomachs, sit on bare floors which surely doesn’t paint a good picture and far from the Quality Education Goal (SDGs4).
Rashid’s story which was published on his Facebook page on 29th June, 2022 at 8pm caught the attention of Ghana’s National television, GTV. The story was aired during the channel’s breakfast show
( https://fb.watch/e3YBL316DR/ ) which gave the community journalist an opportunity to report live from the school on the program. Effectively, a call from the Secretariat of the National Chief Imam was made to the CJ to be connected to the administrator of the school. The secretariat also took the initiative to involve the Ministry for Zongo Development, for funds to be allocated towards curbing the issue. Headmaster of the school confirmed receiving a call from the secretariat of the Chief Imam and also, a call from the office of the
Vice-President for validation.
Fingers crossed only to watch how this intervention unfolds to make AWALIA PRIMARY a better place for learning, whiles the continuous search for impact opportunities take place by the community journalists.
Rashid just like other community journalist have proved that youth empowerment needn’t a high position, or thousands of Cedis rather, a skill set which is suitable and long-lasting.
Compiled by - Yakubu Hamdiatu
Original Story by – Issah Abdul Rashid- CJ, Gambaga.