We’re back in full swing after a joyful Christmas-and-New-Year’s-Break. Naturally, the end of the year is a time for self-reflection. Suddenly you feel the necessity of reliving moments of the past 12 months; The pressing urge of contemplating about the many ups and downs; And the indispensable need to ask yourself if some things could have gone better, or what exactly it was that made some moments seem so positive and rewarding, yet others so negative and shitty. In comes New Year’s Eve and with it the chance to do things right this time, to improve situations or pledge to continue following a successful path.
We as an organisation have also been doing our fair share of introspective and came up with two New Year’s resolution that will hopefully help to achieve our aims:
Evaluation One of those aims has always been to put quality over quantity. And though we set ourselves lofty expectation, in terms of the amount of students we want to reach out to (8000), we've always felt a stronger obligation to have an effective and sustainable impact on the (sexual-) life of a few, rather than scratching on the surfaces of many.
This sounds awesome on paper, but poses real difficulties in real life. It’s just that 'effective impact' is really hard to measure, given that we hope to entice a change of perception, or even behaviour, in very limited time. Still, we have realized that one of the measures we can take is - plain and simple - the good ol' testing of knowledge. We want to evaluate an adequate sample size of students and, through targeted questioning, hopefully find out if we have been able to transport our values and the basic sexual knowledge that we believe every human being in the 21st century should have. Albeit, this is not the answer to the riddle, it will give us a sufficient assessment of our teaching units and help to lay a foundation, on which we can build further evaluations. The results of the first round of evaluation will be released in early March, but don't worry you'll hear it here first.
Commitment After losing the services of Cliff and Evelyn due to job opportunities (I was tempted to write “the gruesome cold hands of the corporate world” ultimately deciding against it, because it might would've been a little bit over the top...well... there... I said it anyway) we found ourselves in a bit of a personnel shortage. However, due to the great efforts of our remaining teachers, Nicholas and Kamara, we we're able to keep our pace, finishing of the year – or two and a half month, I should say – in style: 17 schools, 69 classes, 2343 students, 3 zillion gallons of sweat, 2 five day seminars, 1 teacher training and masses of condoms!
Still, the fact remained that we were down two teachers and had yet to decide how we could effectively avoid further teacher dropouts. It was clear to us that, in order to find new teacher that would commit for a longer period of time, it was inevitable to minimize the factors that had led to Cliff and Evelyn leaving us. We had to accept, that applying the same standards we had set for ourselves (=voluntarism) to the economical situation over here in Ghana, just wasn't working. We had hoped that our teachers would find enough time beside their engagements with Boa Nnipa to do part time work and earn extra money, in order to satisfy their financial needs, but the truth of the matter is: there are no 400 Euro jobs, no BAföG and most of the time no financial support by the families, at least not to the extent where young people can go and follow their desire to be socially active.
To us, expanding the working hours to almost fulltime and increasing the teacher’s allowance to 300 Cedi (125 euro) serves as a good way to enable our teachers to fully commit to their developmental work for Ghana, without losing integrity, in terms of the social aspect being the primary motivation. Of course, we could have also gone the other way by cutting down the working hours and getting more people on board, but that in our opinion would have decreased the quality of our teachers and maximised the amount of energy we would have to spend, in order to get everything and everyone organized, up-dated and truly taken care of.
The tricky thing about new years resolutions is, of course, that they tend to be broken. But not this year... we promise!