|In Accra, youth reporters Edith Asamani, 17, and Steven Iseh, 15, advocate quality education on ‘Gems of Our Times’, a programme aired nationally during the MTN Africa Cup of Nations, GHANA 2008.|
ACCRA, Ghana, 1 February 2008 – Edith Asamani, 17 and Stephen Iseh, 14, are two of the youth reporters based in Accra who have joined UNICEF to raise awareness of the ‘Quality Education for All Children’ campaign during the MTN Africa Cup of Nations, GHANA 2008.
The reporters participated in a youth radio programme, ‘Gems of Our Times’, which has aired on Ghana’s national radio network during the tournament. Their voices have been heard throughout the nation, urging children to go to school and appealing to adults to take responsibility and ensure that all children have access to quality education.
“It is our role as young ambassadors to tell Ghanaian children that without education there can be no future,” Edith told listeners during the programme.
Children’s point of view
UNICEF is working with youth reporters to promote the need for quality education in Ghana from the children's own point of view. The project is part of a larger awareness campaign organized in collaboration with the Confederation of African Football and the local organizing committee of Ghana 2008.
Edith, who recently completed secondary school, has been a passionate child rights activist since the age of 11. She tells her own stories to help others understand the importance of education.
“At every stage of school life, I have been sacked from school at least twice a term because I have not paid school fees,” she said. “I then had to stay at home for weeks to help my mum … to raise enough money to be able to go to school.”
Stephen has been a member of an advocacy radio programme called ‘Curious Minds’ for several years. On the show, he inspires others across the country to tell their stories about education and share their experiences with their peers.
Challenges in education
In Sekondi-Takoradi, one of the host cities of the MTN Africa Cup of Nations, GHANA 2008, two other youth reporters – Samuel Tronu, 15, and Sandra Nyarko, 12 – have been on a mission to bring attention to the challenges that school-age children face in Ghana.
"Some children drop out of school because conditions in schools are not good,” Samuel said. “There are no chairs or desks to sit on. Others don’t have books, pens or pencils to write with.”
Through numerous interviews with other youths, Samuel and Sandra discovered that many families do not have the resources necessary to send their children to school. Many children are forced to work each morning until they have the small amount of money needed for the day’s transportation costs to school.
Vital to success
Both of Sandra’s parents are teachers and have deeply instilled in her the lesson that education is vital to success in life. ”Some girls do not go to school because they are kept at home to do household work such as cooking and cleaning,” she said.
UNICEF encourages children to make their views known on important issues such as education. This ensures their freedom of expression and encourages adult policy-makers to consider young people’s views when making decisions that affect them.
“When we get a chance to go to school, we all must fight hard and be determined, just like they do when playing football” said Stephen.
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