The need
How we do it
Who are the Mentors?
Who are the Mentees?
The Pilot Program
About Osu Girls Correctional Facility
The Library
Collaborators

 

In line with impacting young women positively, GWV promotes the knowledge and lobbies for the respect of basic human rights of girls and women in Ghana. Under this mandate, GWV has implemented the Non-Formal Education Mentorship Program for young women in the Osu Girls Correctional Facility. This program is to ensure the girls have basic literacy and numeracy skills to facilitate their re-integration into society. The program pairs 20 Ghanaian women leaders with the young women who are at the Osu Girls Correctional Facility to create meaningful relationships that change the course of the young women’s lives.

 

The need:
In 2008, Ghana Women’s Voices Foundation (GWV) identified the lack of basic literacy and numeracy facilities in correctional institutions for young girls between the ages of 12 – 18 years in Ghana. As a result of this, there is very low literacy among the girls, and the aims of the authorities, which include character reformation and marketable skills acquisitions, are not being fully realized. Additionally, many of the girls lack proper role models to look towards for professional and personal development. Ultimately, the girls are limited in the skills they need to function effectively upon re-entering society. This makes them highly at risk to commit offences that may send them back to correctional facilities.

How we do it:
By using mentorship, we are able to achieve our goal of providing education to the girls of the Correctional Facility. We select 20 Ghanaian women leaders to be mentors and ask them to commit 3 hours each week to spend at the facility with their mentee. We then train our mentors in non-formal education by the Non-Formal Education Division of the Ministry of Education. In addition to this training, the mentors also receive training on child psychology by the psychologist who works at the facility. After completing the training, each mentor is paired with a girl at the home.  Upon her first visit to the facility, the mentor assesses the mentee to determine her level of education as well as to learn more about the girl’s goals and interests. From that point each mentor visits the facility 3 hours each week to tutor her mentee in numeracy and literacy, as well as to provide personal and professional guidance.

Who are the Mentors?
Our mentors are 20 Ghanaian women from various professional sectors of have achieved excellence in their respective fields. Each of our mentors generously devotes 3 hours of their time each week to go to the facility tutor their mentee. Most of our mentors are balancing full-time careers and children. They may choose to go to the facility on the weekends, lunch breaks, or after work. Click here to read the profiles of our mentors.

Who are the Mentees?
The mentees are girls ages 12-17 that have each had a run-in with the law. The girls are from all over Ghana, since the facility is the only facility for the country. The time they spend in the facility ranges from 6 months to 2 years. They have all received varying degrees of education before entering the facility, with many having received little to no formal education before.

The Pilot Program:
From May to July of 2010 GWV conducted a Pilot Non-Formal Education Mentorship Program with the Osu Girls Correctional Facility. 15 mentors were trained by the Non-Formal Education Division of the Ministry of Education in non-formal education methods. With that training, each mentor was paired with a girl in the correctional facility. Over the 3 month period, each mentor spent 3 hours a week with their mentee, tutoring them in numeracy and literacy, as well as providing professional and personal guidance. The pilot program demonstrated the impact that mentorship has on society’s most vulnerable girls. Each girl improved their literacy and numeracy skills. Beyond that, the girls experienced boosts in their sense of self-worth and became more engaged in their vocational studies at the facility.

About the Osu Girls Correctional Facility:
The Osu Girls Correctional Facility is an institution under the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare that seeks to provide temporary shelter for abused children, character reformation and skills training for young women under 18 years who have broken the law. The Osu Girls Correctional Facility is the only correctional facility for girls in all of Ghana. Financial support to the occupants of the correctional institute by the government is very limited and at most times delayed to up to 6 months. The annual budget that the government provides the facility is less than 800 Ghana Cedis a year, which includes food for the girls, teaching for the girls, as well as maintenance of the facility.

The Library:
In October of 2010, GWV built a library in the Osu Girls Correctional Facility. Since the facility is underfunded, it can not afford to provide books for the girls. GWV recognized the importance of having literature for the girls to read to practice their literacy and stay further engaged in their education.  GWV built a cabinet, and EPP Bookshop generously filled that cabinet with donated picture books, novels written by african writers, dictionaries, and literacy and numeracy workbooks for the library. GWV has created a library management system in cooperation with the girls of the facility. Each girl is a librarian for a month, keeping the keys to the library and monitoring the books, thus empowering each girl to have ownership over the library.

Collaborators:
Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ)
The Non-Formal Education Division of the Ministry of Education
Department of Social Welfare
EPP Bookshop

 

To learn more about our other programs click here