Three young Ghanaians, all students of Arizona State University in the United States, have launched a project to bridge the ICT gap between urban and rural children in Ghana.
The three, Golda Afoakwa, Richard Sewor, and Douglas Amoo-Sargon, who are the Founders of Sua IT, a venture which will improve computer literacy among rural Ghanaian youth.
The venture, the founders hope, will enable children in rural Ghana to catch up to children in the country’s urban communities.
The young students aim to travel long distances from Accra with laptops, textbooks, a projector, a generator, and other gadgets to rural areas to enable them to assist the less privileged acquire some knowledge in ICT.
Sua IT won the Resolution Social Venture Challenge in 2018, a competition that rewards compelling leadership and promising social ventures led by youth.
These young leaders earned a fellowship that includes seed funding, mentorship, and access to a network of young global change-makers to pursue impactful projects in their communities.
The MasterCard Foundation and The Resolution Project have collaborated to enable the Resolution Social Venture Challenge to provide support for socially responsible young leaders who want to create change that matters in their communities.
Sua IT is expected to promote ICT education in rural communities, benefiting between 1,000 and 1,500 children every year and targeting at most four schools in one year.
The team is also looking for partners to acquire enough computers for each student during the training.
With essential IT skills, the team believes that it is creating a community of thinkers who can harness the power of technology to become change-makers in society.
How it works
With the help of teachers and volunteers, the setup is done in one of the school halls, where a generator-powered projector is connected to a computer and the images appear on the wall.
After the introductory lessons, the students form groups and each group is allocated a laptop with one or two volunteers to take them through the practical session.
Once done, they come back to the workshop session to be evaluated and are encouraged to ask questions.
At the end of the training, a group of teachers and students with good computer skills is elected to help the rest of the students continue learning computer skills as they wait for the next training workshop.
“Most children in rural communities in Ghana do not get practical knowledge in ICT. The urgency for which these children must gain such knowledge has been clearly stated in the government’s ICT syllabus as an important and basic tool needed by every child in Ghana. However, we see most children not having such privilege,” said Golda.
She added that “We want every rural Ghanaian teenager to comfortably use technological products. We also want them to benefit from the internet by exposing those students to global and societal issues, as well as encouraging them to develop solutions to the challenges they’ve observed in their community”.
“Through the scholarship, I am now completing my master’s degree as well as benefitting from experiencing different cultures, exposure, deepened knowledge, and practical training. Being a Scholar and a Social Venture Challenge winner have been great achievements in my life,” said Golda.
According to the three young Ghanaians, they feel lucky to be among the Scholars whose education are supported by the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, which awards scholarship on the basis of academic talent, social consciousness, and leadership qualities.
It was through Scholars Program networks that they were first exposed to the Resolution Social Venture Challenge.
The expressed that “The MasterCard Foundation made it possible for me to meet my wonderful team of fellow Scholars and to found Sua IT for our community’s social good. This social venture is a chance for us to give back to our communities. I am proud of these accomplishments. Through Sua IT, I believe that we are giving young kids living in a rural community an equal opportunity to prosper and become change agents in their own right,” said Douglas.
“ICT is a course that needs to be taught with hands-on experience to help students gain an in-depth understanding, but it does not happen for most rural schools,” said Richard.
Richard further revealed that “Research conducted by Maxwell Peprah on ICT education in Ashanti Region, Ghana, in 2016 showed that 96.1 per cent of students did not have labs for practical training in ICT. Most students did not have enough books, computers, and the internet. A lack of access to the internet and electricity were major causes that prevented ICT expansion to the rural communities. Sixty-five per cent of students found it difficult to understand the course because they didn’t have the practical knowledge of technology”.
“We will focus on students in levels one to three in the junior high school classes. We currently have about six headmasters who are willing to have their schools benefit from this project,” Richard concluded.
Douglas also said, “the knowledge on how to use the information to create solutions is critical to our nation’s development. Through ICT training, we can enable Ghanaian youth to grow and learn. We see our project as an opportunity that other youth in Africa could adopt to improve digital literacy and ICT education”.