I arrived in Ghana last Monday. I live in Accra, the capital, in a lovely house with other 10 volunteers. Will upload photos of them soon.
Accra is an absolute mess but it was love at the first sight. I'm not sure why I like this city so much. The architecture is definitely not my cup of tea, the traffic is beyond bad and yet the atmosphere is great. Ghanaians are incredibly friendly.
I started working pretty much immediately for CEPHERG (Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights in Ghana). It's a very small local organisation. They work mainly for young people's rights focusing particularly on sexual rights. Here in Ghana being gay is still illegal, so there is a lot of work to do!
They have also a drop-in centre for people with HIV/other STDs where they can have councelling and receive medical treatment.
My first task is to teach human rights in shools to kids aged between 12 and 20. I mentioned that I had never done it but they didn't seem to mind. So I found a program that the UN run 10 years ago, which is an interactive and proactive way of teaching human rights.
The first part focuses on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, explained in very simple terms. Then the kids are asked to think about which human rights are respected in their community and which ones are not. They then pick a not so respected human right and develop a little community based project to raise awareness/improve the situation in their community.
They could for example write a letter to the local authorities or put up posters in the street or just get some food to the homeless.
It will take 3 meetings in each school, so next week I'm supposed to convince the headmasters that it's a good idea. Not all headteachers are very receptive I was told, as human rights's education is seen sometimes as very threatening. We shall see, I'm definitely going to give my best, I really like this project.
Last week I attended a theatre performance organised in a school by CEPHERG. It ws really cool. The performances are about human rights' violation and the kids are asked to intervene and change what they didn't like. It was very interesting to see that many of them felt that some abuses are unjust and wrong.
In one performance one of the performers was acting the father who made the son keep studying whereas he denied the same right to his daughter even though she had much better grades than her brother.
The kid who froze the scene and intervened said:"If she can't study who's going to help her kids with homework if her husband is not at home? And who is going to find a decent job in the event that the husband fall sick?". Here girls still struggle to get educated so it was very interesting to see that the youngsters are rebelling against the status quo. In a country where there is little western influence you would not expect them to question very common practices or beliefs at the age of 10.
Will keep you posted, I never liked headmasters....