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(Ghana) ‘Let Girls Learn’ Brings Education Technology to Rural Villages

Let African Girls be Great!

“There are so many girls who are so desperate for education that they will get up at 3:00 in the morning. They will go and fetch water. They will go and feed their brothers and sisters and their family. And they will study. And they will walk miles and miles to go to school” – Gina Tesla

In parts of the developing world, girls are expected to do house chores, care for siblings, and fetch water. But they are last in line after their brothers to get an education, if at all. And if they are lucky enough to go to school, they sometimes are shut out.

To tackle some of these issues, the U.S. Peace Corps, IBM’s Corporate Service Corps, and local tech firm TechAide came together under the Let Girls Learn initiative to “provide more access to education for girls who are not receiving it.” The initiative was launched by U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in 2015, and the Peace Corps has been “at the forefront of implementing” it, according to Tesla.

TechAide has also partnered with banks to help set up education labs in schools, where students can access approved educational content, including audio, video, and interactive games. Teachers can use a free wireless hotspot to look up content for education or community development, including textbooks and curricula which have been published over the years but are now damaged or lost.

In addition to the curricula, TechAide, IBM, and the Peace Corps visited schools and talked directly to girls to learn more about their needs. They then put together 20 topics “that were interesting to the adolescent girls about the problems that face them and making choices,” he said.

Reaching out to the girls, said Tesla, helped IBM and Peace Corps volunteers understand the gaps in communities that need support, perhaps with more “delicate content” to “help educate girls about some of the more nefarious … ways that they can end up in situations where they are being promised access to education and that’s not really what’s happening.”

In one collaboration, IBM and the Peace Corps brought 27 high school girls from rural Ghana to Ashesi University, a nonprofit college in Accra, for two days of empowerment and mentoring and an address by IBM’s Country General Manage for Ghana, Angela Kyerematen-Jimoh.

 

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