Stories of Capacity Development: Nonformal Education for Girls in Ghana

September 16th, 2022 | Stories

Creating sustainable pathways to education for young women in Ghana requires close collaboration with local experts. We partner with organizations who have deep connections within communities where we work and who can continue improving access to learning far beyond the scope of our project. For one of our local partners in Ghana, Pro-Link, stakeholder collaboration is a highly important aspect of their work. Their goal is to ensure that communities have ownership over project interventions and are engaged in the empowerment of all people.

For 20 years, World Education and Pro-Link have worked collaboratively to improve access to education and enhance well-being for individuals and communities in Ghana. From 2002 to 2007, World Education and Pro-Link implemented the Strengthening HIV/AIDS Partnerships in Education (SHAPE) project, and our strong relationship led us to partner together again on the the USAID-funded Empowering and Mobilizing People Living with HIV/AIDS (EMPower) program from 2010-2012. Today, we implement the Strategic Approaches to Girls’ Education (STAGE) project together. Pro-Link’s partnership has been crucial in the success of each of these initiatives.

The STAGE project lowers the barriers that girls face in achieving an education by providing out-of-school girls with opportunities to pursue formal and nonformal education tracks. Pro-Link is focused on nonformal education, supporting girls aged 15 to 19 years old who go through World Education’s accelerated learning program (ALP) for literacy, numeracy, and life skills. 

Pro-Link works with district-level government and other stakeholders who have databases to identify girls aged 15-19, including girls with disabilities, to participate in the program. Following the ALP, the girls develop skills in vocations like weaving, bread baking, and soap making, and are given seed funding and mentorship to start their own small businesses. 

Pro-Link trains ALP facilitators and master craftspeople to teach these skills to girls, and monitors the progress of girls who have graduated from the program. Pro-Link is currently reaching hundreds of girls who have, until now, missed out on their education due to factors like gender-based violence, poverty, and early marriage.

Throughout our partnership, World Education has provided technical assistance to build the capacity of Pro-Link to implement projects like SHAPE and STAGE. Pro-Link noted that World Education helped them with organizational development and staff management, and held trainings on child safeguarding, gender and social inclusion, and the use of online data collection tools and participant assessments to ensure high-quality implementation and monitoring. Pro-Link is establishing offices in each of the STAGE districts in order to continue supporting participants.

In assessing the progress of girls who graduated from the program, Pro-Link found that they are receiving apprenticeships, using seed money, contributing to their family income, and supporting other girls to learn new skills. Additionally, girls who have visual impairments received service animals to increase their independent living abilities. Many of the girls and their families gave testimonies to Pro-Link on how the project has changed their lives. The mother of one STAGE participant talked about the positive changes she has seen from her daughter since starting the program, saying that “apart from learning how to write her name and make pastries, she has gained more confidence and self-esteem, which has shown in the way that she cares for herself.”

Pro-Link is seeing communities in Ghana adopt interventions to promote girls education and ensure the gains made through STAGE are sustained and the girls are taken care of beyond the project. World Education, Pro-Link, and our partners continue to work together to achieve our collective goal of improving learning outcomes in numeracy, literacy, and life skills, and establishing relevant and appropriate partnerships and pathways for the successful transition of more than 17,000 girls between ages 10 and 19 through the STAGE project.

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