This Initiative Is Leading African Communities Out Of Poverty

By: Jessica Bennett

If you have not heard of the Ghana Health and Education Initiative (GHEI), it is an non- profit charitable organization that invests their time in children and youth in the Bibani-Anhwiasco-Bekwai District of Ghana in order to establish healthy, educated and driven individuals who can lead their communities out of poverty. GHEI and Photographers Without Borders (PWB) photographer, Rohit Lakhani, teamed up earlier this year to photograph the work GHEI is doing. GHEI was featured in Issue 4 of our magazine in August and you can order a copy.

PWB's Jessica Bennett spoke with Rohit to learn more about GHEI:

Photo: Rohit Lakhani, Photographers Without Borders

Photo: Rohit Lakhani, Photographers Without Borders

Jessica Bennett: What programs does GHEI offer?

Rohit Lakhani: A very important one is the Malaria Prevention Program. With malaria causing such high mortality rates amongst children and youth throughout sub-Saharan Africa, GHEI started an initiative for insecticide treated bed nets (LLINS). They believe these treated bed nets are the best way to prevent the illness in the community.

This program commenced in 2006 and through trial and error has become wildly successful in Humjibre, Kojina and Soroano. The program is promoted through community-wide educational events, where consumers can become knowledgeable about the product and learn how to use the nets. To improve success rates of this program, GHEI has realized the importance of supplying citizens with community health workers. The community health workers help with installation of the bed nets, household support and biannual follow-ups. The biannual follow-ups include pre-determined visits to inspect usage, educational support on usage, along with help mending or repositioning the nets.  Throughout this experience, citizens build lasting relationships with community health workers and have the potential to develop into a community spokespeople for the Malaria Prevention Program.

This Malaria Prevention Program is not only within Sub-Saharan Africa. GHEI has also partnered with the United Nations Villages Project (MVP) in the village of Bonsasso since 2007. GHEI’s model of the Malaria Prevention Project has been used and evaluated for 30 villages in the MVP area.

GHEI also offers other programs, including hand washing with soap, sexual reproductive health tips, health facility (birth) delivery, along with general health training, donations and advocacy. You can check them out on their website by clicking on the link below.

Photo: Rohit Lakhani, Photographers Without Borders

Photo: Rohit Lakhani, Photographers Without Borders

What education programs does GHEI have?

GHEI runs the Youth Education Program (YEP). YEP provides supplementary classes to high-performing students, smaller class sizes for a more intimate learning experience and 1-on-1 assistance. The classes are provided with materials to enhance critical thinking skills and foster active learning, which most students have no access to. The main purpose of this program is to prepare students for Basic Education Certification Examination (BECE), which is focused on the core subjects.

The YEP program has proven extremely successful amongst male and female students in Humjibre. In fact, from 2001-2013, BECE pass rates increased from 24% to 99%. Even more impressive, the increase in pass rates for girls in Humjibre jumped from 4% to 99% over the same time period.

Learn more about the Youth Education Program and other education programs at the link below.

Photo: Rohit Lakhani, Photographers Without Borders

Photo: Rohit Lakhani, Photographers Without Borders

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