Wednesday, October 20, 2010

GHEI holds community meeting to discuss research results

GHEI held a community meeting in the community center in early September. More than 110 people attended including the village chief, queen mother and elders.

The goal of the meeting was to relay why GHEI does research, the results of recent research and to allow the community and chief an opportunity to discuss the findings. Planning for the event included a series of meetings with the village chief to discuss research in general, recent research results and the strategy for the community meeting.

Diana Rickard, MD, GHEI’s Executive Director, informed the audience that GHEI performs research for two reasons: to gain information that helps the organization plan programs to improve the health and education of the community’s children or to improve current programs.

She then discussed results from the general survey performed in 2009.  Highlights included that half of the population is under age 18, half of households rely on unimproved water sources, half have electricity and half have latrines.  The chief implored the audience to improve household conditions by removing trash and installing household latrines.

The audience then learned that occupations are highly stratified by gender, one third of adults have had no formal education, 90% of adults have no education beyond middle school level and that males receive far more education than females.  The chief added that all children deserve the investment of education and females must be educated.  He also reinforced GHEI’s health programming in handwashing and malaria prevention after a discussion of the need for improved bednet usage and high rates of diarrhea.

Clement Donkor, GHEI’s Program Director, continued the presentation with a discussion of community priorities for children communicated during a 2010 qualitative study.  Of all age groups under age 18, the community prioritized children under age 5 years the most.  Education, opportunities, illness and health care topped the list of priorities.  The results of this work will help inform GHEI’s programming in the coming five years.

Jen Artibello, GHEI’s Education Program Coordinator, then showed the results of the national exam pass rates after Junior High School for all students and for girls and boys separately.  The pass rate for girls increased from 4% in 2001 to 98% in 2009.  The audience was amazed and excited to learn how far Humjibre’s youth had come in just a few years.

A local radio station covered the event and conducted a live interview with Clement Donkor.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

GHEI's Annual Leadership Retreat

GHEI held its annual retreat in Winneba this year with thirteen people in attendance. The first three days of the five-day retreat focused on discussion to develop GHEI’s five-year strategic plan. These discussions included refining our vision, reviewing GHEI’s history to launch a discussion of values, discussing baseline quantitative and qualitative research, establishing priority areas and approaches and drafting five-year plans by sector.

We also created a plan to improve our capacity building approach that will start with a comprehensive assessment by Jen Artibello, our Education Program Coordinator and Clement Donkor, GHEI’s Program Director. One component of in-service training will be on planning and monitoring programs and will be led by Jen Artibello through weekly sessions in January-March 2011.

In an effort to improve our focus on girls, we created a plan to increase the percentage of girls to 60% in our early childhood education, youth education and scholarship programs. We will also begin an annual award for the top female student in Senior High School. A new quarterly staff evaluation process was approved at retreat as well.

The completion of retreat was marked by an award ceremony for staff.