Ghana: Creating awareness and joy with storybooks

Richard Mawunyo Mensah

Richard Mawunyo Mensah

Team MasterPeace Ghana

In this era of COVID-19, the whole world has become apprehensive on putting measures in place to curb the rate of infections and deaths. Upon this, restrictions have been put on several activities, especially social gathering. This has to lead to the closure of schools over months to avoid the spread of the pandemic among students. 

Here in Ghana, the situation is not different. The first case of COVID-19 was recorded on the 12th of March 2020. Since then, people’s daily routine has changed completely and economic activities dwindled as the rest of the world, education on Covid-19 preventive methods skyrocketed. But most of these activities with respect to education and aids were centred in the “big towns”.

Has anybody asked the state of knowledge of the people leaving in the remote areas of the country? Well, MasterPeace Ghana, with its operations under Dream Shapers Foundation, an NGO which is focused on improving quality education, healthcare, well-being and women economic empowerment, saw the need to reach out to persons in these areas, therefore, embarked on feasibility studies.

How did it start?

The Project Department conducted a feasibility study on McCarthy Kope and Pupuni. McCarthy Kope is in the Shai-Osuduku District in the Greater Accra Region with about 500 inhabitants dispersed over large acres land area, about 130km away from the City where the office of MP Ghana is located. Upon the visibility studies conducted, it was ascertained that they have poor education, health and water systems together with little to no knowledge in Covid-19 making them adamant in adhering to the safety protocols. No different story can be told about Pupuni, a village in Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region, about 100km from Accra. In addition, children in these communities have shunned studies while they stay home.

What did we do?

On the 29th of August, 2020, the team of about 30 members in possession of 1000 nose masks and hand sanitizers together with storybooks, set off from Accra at 7 am to the aforementioned communities with the first stop being McCarthy Kope. The journey took about 3 hours where the rough and dusty road from the main junction to the actual community took most of the time. Upon the team’s arrival, none of the inhabitants spotted was with a nose mask or sanitizer. Although the team was welcomed by house flies due to the rearing of cattle, nothing stopped them. As custom demands, homage was paid to the chief of the community, and about 10 hand sanitizers and nose masks branded with DSF and MP Ghana Logos were donated to his household. The medical department head took some time to educate them on how to use these PPE. 

The team further spread themselves into separate groups and went from house to house to donate these items together with storybooks to the children where some reading was done with them to rekindle the need to learn how to read and write.  Included to the storybooks were colouring books for children in nursery to help then practice and love painting. The same situation can be told of Pupuni but the residents have a compact settlement, unlike McCarthy Kope, making them more prone to contracting the virus. Moreover, all the community leaders of about 20 were present to welcome the team.

How did it feel?

The euphoria of the residents and children cannot be overemphasised as the Chiefs expressed so much joy for youths to come together to undertake this impressive project. The children mobbed the team with so much joy as they received their storybooks. Although the decision was to go from house to house, most of the children rather drew closer to the team. The opportunity was used to raise awareness by the use of photo cut-outs that have 7 different messages ranging from health to education (literacy).

It was all joy and new knowledge acquisition by MasterPeace Ghana members. This also paved the way to learn more about other problems which exist in the communities such as lack of potable water which was the major problem needing an urgent solution. Upon impacting about 1000 persons in the day, the team set off at 5:30 pm to Accra feeling very fulfilled. About 5 media agencies were present to carry the news across together with the grievances of the chiefs of these communities.

Thanks to the sponsors (Frankies, MoringaKing, Cherash Cash, Kasy’s Avenue, Alma Medical Laboratory, Abikrong Ventures, Great People of Greatness) and Media Partners. 

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