About Ghana

Ghana is located on the West Coast of Africa. It is often referred to as the "island of peace" despite being located in one of the most chaotic regions of the world. In 1957, Ghana became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence. After leading the country for nine years, the nation's founding president, Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown in a coup d'etat in 1966. After Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana was ruled by a series of military despots with intermittent experiments with democratic rule, most of which were curtailed by military takeovers. The latest and most enduring democratic experiment started in 1992 and it is what has gained recognition for Ghana as a leading democracy in Africa. John Dramani Mahama has been president of Ghana since 2012.

Education in West Gonja, Northern Region

Ghana has a 6-year primary education system beginning at the age of six, and, under the educational reforms implemented in 1987 and reformed in 2007, they pass on to a 3-year junior high school system. At the end of the 3rd year of Junior High, there is a mandatory Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). Those continuing must complete the 3-year senior high school (SHS) program and take an admission exam to enter any university or tertiary program.

The Afafanto Scholarship works specifically with the villages surrounding Tamale in Northern Ghana. Many of our girls are from Larabanga, one of the largest villages. It is a Muslim village home to about 4,000 people. Education in West Gonja has traditionally been poor since education to this area was always provided by Christian missionaries.

In the early 1960s, Alhaji Mbemah took initiative to challenge the people of Larabanga and fight for an education system. Although the first school opened in 1962, it was unsuccessful due to the lack of teachers. To this day, retaining qualified teachers has been a problem in the North due to the primitive conditions there. However, in 1992 the Larabanga Development Community (LDC) was formed and improved the education system to a certain degree. The LDC started development projects in Larabanga to uplift the community by providing social amenities, schooling, community education, and wildlife conservation education.

The present school of Larabanga now includes Primary Six (for children ages 7-12 years) to Junior Secondary School (12-16 years) and is administered as a public school under Ghana Education Service (GES).

However there is still a lack of teachers, curriculum, and educational resources such as books and exam prep materials. Since the election progress has been made in building more schools, improved roads and marketplaces in this region.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will the funds raised contribute to?

The goal is to raise funds through Internet donors, solicitation, and grants to supply tuition, room and board, books, uniforms, transportation, and any other incidental costs to send at least three girls to secondary school for a year. The scholarship is renewed each year when provided with a succesful progress report. We expect to support a total of at least three girls per grade each year.

Is family life a factor in choosing a girl?

Yes, each girl who applies must submit an application. We look for the poorest yet most promising girls who apply. This is based both on recommendation and a written essay. The girl must have both of her parents or a guarian submit a signed, written statement of approval and support.

What needs is the organization addressing?

Poverty is widespread in Ghana. Almost half of the population lives on less than $2.00 per day. Over a third of children do not attend primary school. Education is a crucial way to beat poverty. With formal education, girls tend to have a better knowledge about health care practices, including family planning. They are also more knowledgeable about their rights and are more active members of the community.

How will the organization address those needs?

Offering scholarships to outstanding girls from the Northern Region who do not have the financial means to attend senior high, and post secondary institutions of learning. We also provide assertiveness and vocational skills training to better prepare the girls upon graduation from high school. Leah's Dream also gives advice on community development for women's businesses such as the Sangariku Shea Butter Women's Cooperative and Larabanga women’s cooperatives .

How is a girl selected to receive the scholarship?

The recipients are selected by the Afafanto Scholarship Advisory Board based on a letter of application from a group of potentially qualified females identified by the headmaster of area junior high schools according to four criteria: outstanding academic achievement in primary school and acceptance to a reputable upper school of students' choice; score on national B.E.C.E exam; need; willingness to share their knowledge with others in the community; and supportiveness of both parents or guardians.

How can I get involved?

The best way to get involved is to donate. If you would like to consider joining our Board or have resources that might be helpful, please contact Sandee Mandel.