ATE is extremely excited to be launching its 5th ‘Hub of Development’ in Lawra!

By Sarah Albeboure

The new community to benefit from our innovative poverty reduction model is centred around Bagri Junction Junior High School (JHS), which serves the four nearby communities of Konwob, Tabier, Orbile and Bagri.

To begin working in a new area, we always start at a school. We spend time searching for a government school, which has 4 key ingredients:

  • Located in a rural community
  • A vibrant PTA
  • A committed head teacher and excellent teachers
  • Children in need of support to enable them to thrive in the free government education system.

We first visited Bagri Junction JHS in July 2018, and felt immediately that it was a really good fit. It is a small school of just 44 enrolled children, which serves extremely rural areas and has many students who walk a long distance to attend school each day. At our first meeting with school staff, hunger was identified as a major issue. The primary school, which is on the same site, benefits from the Ghana Government Feeding Program, and as children progress to JHS, they begin to struggle with attending classes on empty stomachs. Very few children at rural schools like this eat breakfast, and if lunch is not provided at school, they have to learn for 6 hours with absolutely nothing to eat. This leads to very high drop out rates.

Children learning in Bagri Junction Junior High School in November 2018

After many lengthy discussions with community members, ATE committed to working with Bagri Junction JHS as the centre of ‘Hub 5’. Our Hub Model puts the community at the centre of all we do, working in specific geographic locations to make change in access to education, economic growth and support for disabled children and their families.

We hope that by summer 2020 we will have a minimum of 10 small businesses generating sustainable income in the new Bagri Junction Hub, as well as a community run school feeding program and outreach support for disabled children in the area. By combining all the programs in one small area, we make the most of our resources and maximise impacts.

Nicholas Naawe, one of ATE’s newer employees is the Hub Manager for Bagri Junction. A native of Lawra, Nicholas is passionate and motivated – he is excited to make a big impact in Bagri! As Hub Manager, Nicholas will spend most of his working week at the school, and in the communities surrounding Bagri Junction. He will manage the feeding program (with support of the school staff and PTA), mentor Small Business Owners in this area, and seek out disabled children who may benefit from our SNAP Program. He is the key link between ATE and the people of Bagri Junction, and will ensure he is embedded in the community in order to really understand the needs of the people who live there.

Nicholas Naawe talking at a PTA Meeting at Bagri Junction JHS this week

This week, the PTA met to discuss progress of the construction of the school kitchen. As always, ATE requires the community to build a kitchen, before any funds are provided. This ensures that the community are engaged and committed. The kitchen is starting to take shape, and yesterday all parents contributed 2GhC (about 30pence) to buy nails to complete the roof. At this meeting we were also given the good news that the Municipal Chief Executive has donated 20 roofing sheets to support the project – we are always thrilled to work in partnership with Ghana Government.

The PTA identifying a site for the school kitchen

The Konwob and Orbile Chief in smocks

The PTA are working quickly to construct a kitchen, this is a compulsory aspect of the partnership between ATE and a community

At the meeting Nicholas identified a physically disabled child, and invited her to join our SNAP Group in Lawra Town. The Hub Model in action!

We are really excited to begin work in Bagri Junction, and especially to feed the children at the school. We hope to begin feeding in April… watch this space!