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SAMIRA MOHAMMED IBN MORO
8TH MARCH 2022
After a resounding, Amen I laid to rest a tired body that had combed the streets of Accra in search of some branded shirts for a family occasion, vividly I remember my dream; my cousin who had just graduated from one of Ghana’s premium universities was posted to a remote village for National service. My Aunty pleaded with me to escort her to the said village just to know where she will be leaving for a year. Lackadaisically I did! On arrival, the squalid and underdeveloped nature of the village threw us into moments of bewilderment; Honestly, we were displeased. We stood there contemplating what to do; fortunately, I woke up from such a nightmare, I assume I left my cousin in that death trap of a village.
As skeptical as I have always been, Deja vu I thought was only a myth or probably a mental illusion until UNICEF and KOICA embarked on a transformative trip to Dambai, the administrative District of the Krachi-East Municipality of the northern part of the Volta region of Ghana, to undertake the “better life for Girls project”. The Korean International Corporation Agency (KOICA) in the quest to help some deprived communities in Ghana collaborated with The United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF)to undertake some projects.
Unabatedly UNICEF’s impact in Dambai was laudable. Officials tirelessly educated parents on the relevance of formal education to their children, themselves as parents, and the society at large. However, more details and persuasive assertions were employed when the ward was female. Currently, quite an encouraging number of children especially girls have been enrolled in the Yariga D.A Basic School to have a taste of what their parents call “an extravagant and needless investment”. Without a shadow of doubt, that move is a great relief since more girls will be empowered and equipped to be better people in society and not only teenage housewives!
Even more intriguing, KOICA and UNICEF provided the students and teachers with learning and tutoring materials respectively. These Girls over about a thousand in the Village of Dambai were provided with Iron Folic Acid tablets containing 60mg of elemental Ion and 400ug(0.4mg) of folic acid to adolescent girls in the Krachi East district to be taken twice after meals to aid in blood circulation and ease these adolescent girls off the stress which comes with their menstrual period. Though some parents were fanatically against it because they thought those tablets were contraceptives that might damage the womb of the girls; UNICEF and KOICA tenaciously sailed through the herculean task of simultaneously dealing with these town folks and attending to these girls who were in dire need of this tablet.
Notwithstanding the menstrual phase which comes with its problems; worst of all is that girls still use rags as sanitary towels while menstruating and as for those who cannot afford sanitary pads or rags monthly, they either stay away from school or engage in promiscuous activities for money to help them through the Period-Yes! Your guess is right! That also serves as an avenue to get impregnated and if lucky, as they say; marry as a teen, become a housewife, a baby-making factory, and an unskilled farmer.
Ideally, one might be challenged to think that, these great initiatives executed by these benevolent organizations brought heaven to the folks of Dambai in the Krachi East District. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the village and its inhabitants are no were close to even the standard of Ho (the Volta Regional capital) so juxtaposing it with heaven will be hilarious enough for Lucifer to guffaw.
Speaking to Mr. John Kodjo the headmaster of Yiriga D.A Basic School in Dambai; he revealed some of the ordeals faced by the town regarding education. Pupils of Yariga Basic school comb the forest of Dambai to search for logs which they process into charcoal and sell to the people in the community and other neighboring towns to fend for their education since most of their parents and guardians are least perturbed about their education. These lads sleep and snore in class often due to the hassle and bustling they go through; Majority who are unable to withstand the pressure flunk out of school and run into truancy, and drug abuse the few reasonable ones depend on their primary occupation(farming) of Dambai to determine their fate.
Worse enough, teachers who are supposed to be shepherds of these students live several miles away and have to commune daily from their places to the school. Nonetheless, when nature validates a holiday by way of a heavy downpour these teachers are unable to render their services to the students in Dambai because of the lamentable state of the road. Honestly, teachers in Dambai are outraged and displeased with the fact that there are no bungalows for settlement. Heartbreaking enough, the headmaster sleeps in his office which is a muddy hut beside the school-teary he pleaded for immediate aid.
Aside from all these brouhahas, girls in Dambai are flunking out of school because literally, they lack motivation. It appears that the folks of Dambai haven’t yet heard “if you educate a man you educate an individual but if you educate a woman you educate a nation “contrarily young educated ladies who have heard this from infancy do not want to help educate and motivate nations. They reject posting to such remote villages because such places do not suit their personality or probably angel Gabriel showed them a grandiose place they will be posted to.
A female advocate; who teaches at Dambai said “To me, the reason I prefer female teachers in the community to male teachers is that you know in this community females are not doing well, they are not forcing themselves to move forward, teenage pregnancy after that they go and farm. So if other educated female workers are in the community …eee! So women can also do this job more than men? It will ginger them; As a matter of fact, some girls haven’t seen women in different professions except teaching and farming which is common. Per that, we occasionally organize excursions to the main town so these girls see doctors, secretaries, lawyers police officers, among others just to motivate them further their education.
Dear female reader, do you need another premise as to why you should not reject your posting to such underdeveloped villages like Dambai? Is not it heartbreaking that the gender parity we seek will never be attained because of our attitudes and egoistic preferences? Everything you touch, your handprint will temporarily stay but for the lives, you inspire, encourage and impact, your handprints shall be permanent, I entreat we redefine our femininity by being each other’s helpers that’s the only way we can collectively break the bias. Happy international womens’day