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Voices Of Inspired Children Engaging Society (Voices)

Program Overview

The V4C:CAT’s  program is our flagship community-based development initiative for teenagers. A 3-year school-based extracurricular program, it is run in selected junior high schools that score in the bottom 15% in the JHS matriculation exams. Through the use of the VOICES Empowerment model, CAT teams are guided in a capacity building process that achieves two main outcomes: a) Positively impacts self-confidence and sense of self-efficacy, and, b) Directly impacts how CAT team members engage with the school work and the role they believe they play in their communities. The final result is a gradual process of transformation from low-engaging JHS students to critically thinking and self-directed empowered agents of change.

VOICES Fellows facilitate the empowerment model inputs, shared in weekly modules on school grounds. The weekly “Team Meets”, 12 per semester, are designed to link to each other, creating a rich empowerment tapestry. Each academic year (cycle) is focused around a specific theme that causes CAT Team members to build a sound knowledge-base in Rights, VOICE, Empowerment and Participation. In addition, they work towards developing the corresponding skills-set necessary to engage meaningfully with their own personal development and positively impact community evolution. Using highly participatory and child-friendly delivery methods each cycle is guided by the following goals as listed below

 
 
Cycle 1: Self-awareness and Personal Development
  • To understand and celebrate their natural talents and passions
  • To create a database of the natural abilities within the team and spend time researching and dreaming where these skills and talents can be useful in a future profession
  • To assess baseline literacy & numeracy skills and begin working on improving thus.
  • To introduce them to basic financial management and its rewards.
 
Cycle 2: Human & Child Rights and Responsibilities
  • To guides the members in developing an understanding of Human Rights, Child Rights and their corresponding responsibilities: This helps to reinforce their sense of self and build their confidence in their value to their community
  • Using the Rights-based approach, to show the team members how to perform personal and communities child rights situational analysis. This helps to provide a clear picture of where and why they are not enjoying the Rights according to them as Children.
  • To create a community responsibility & capacity gap matrix. This develops critical analysis skills as they examine duty bearers roles and responsibilities as Right holders.
Cycle 3: Active Agents of Change
  • Utilize already developed matrices and situational analysis to peer-educate
  • Internalize the necessity of prioritizing by engaging in a series of activities to prioritize challenges they see to them enjoying their rights in order of how it affects their current well-being.
  • Learn how to use problem-solving and brainstorming strategies to put their natural talents and newly enhanced skills and capacities towards help positively impacting the highest prioritized issue
  • Acquire planning & implementation skills by planning an intervention and executing it
  • Understand the necessity of a monitoring and evaluation strategy in the sustainability and impact of their in(ter)vention by creating and implementing one.
 
Cycle 4: Academic mentoring
  • To guiding team members  in the use of newly acquired skills in preparing effectively for their final exams.This is done with VOICES fellows working as academic mentors.
 
Outcome: Graduates of our V4C:CAT teams are empowered young people equipped with a formidable transferable skill-set including Leadership skills, Problem-solving, Time-management, Teamwork, Project planning, Self-directed learning and assessment, Group evaluation, Communication, Self-confidence and Personal Financial Management.  All of the above coupled to their new and practiced understanding of their agency and ability to change outcomes, enables them to approach challenges with confidence, strategic thinking and effective solutions. These graduates are able to see their added valua to themselves, their communities and the global society.    

 

Program Implementation

 

This program then under the name the Public Health Clums began June in 2006, at Majomar Juniour High School, in the Abeka community and Achimota School, in the larger Achimota community. A summative evaluation at the beginning of 2008 showed an overall perception amongst all  stakeholders that the program had effectively helped improve the problem-solving, critical thinking, leadership and teamwork skills of its participants.

 

Footage from Pilot PHC in MaJorMa School:

 

On the success of the pilot , the program was rolled out into five communities in Accra, and has successfully graduated a cohort of students from theses communities.The program has to date (2013) undergone two summative evaluations and is designed to be evaluated after the end of every 3 year cycle in order to maximize learning opportunities and improve sustainability.                                                                                                                                                                                               

Combined Edited Footage:

 

Program Testimonials

“My name is Stanley. I am fourteen years old, and in Junior High 1 in Accra Royal Junior High School. I am in Cycle 1 of the PHC program. From my PHC teachers, I learned how I can keep the environment of my community clean. I tell my friends we have to clean the community to prevent disease. My friends are persuaded and they said I improved my speaking skills too!” --PHC Member, (Cycle 1) 

“PHC has taught me if you have something, believe in it. Be excited and united, work as a team. Don’t give up on anything. Have focus, listen, be determined, and know that your voice matters. When you graduate, you appreciate this more.”---PHC Member, (Cycle 2)

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