Thursday, April 28, 2011
The International Development Agency in collaboration with the Government of Ghana is embarking on a 5 1/2 year Water and Sanitation Project, constructing boreholes and sanitation facilities in six regions.
Two hundred boreholes, eight small town pipe systems and eight limited mechanised water distribution systems are planned to be constructed in the Central Region alone. In addition USD 4,400,000 of equipment for participating districts and USD 4,933,000 of equipment for RCCs are being allocated.
A representative of the regional coordinating council Dorcas Hutchful disclosed this at the launch of the IDA Sustainable Rural Water and Sanitation Project in Cape Coast.
Water is essential to almost every part of human life. However, many sources like ponds or rivers are contaminated with germs and therefore unsafe for human consumption if it is not treated properly. The Ghana Water Company is mainly responsible for the supply of water in Ghana, but many rural areas are not properly enclosed in their activities. The International Development Agency (IDA) of the World Bank is therefore implementing a project in six regions in Ghana including the Central Region to improve the situation in these rural areas. The objective of this “Sustainable Rural Water and Sanitation Project“ (SRWSP) is the improvement of access to safe water and sanitation facilities. The project has already been implemented at the national and regional level and is now being launched in the Cape Coast Metropolis at the district level. Selected communities and small towns in 13 districts in the Central Region are benefiting from the project, namely Upper Denkyira West, Upper Denkyira East, Awutu Senya, Asikuma Odoben Brakwa, Twifo Hemang Lower Denkyira, Assin South, Assin North, Agona East, Efutu, Mfansteman, Gomoa East, Gomoa West and Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly. The communities have to fill in an application form, open a bank account and deposit a minimum of one year‘s costs for the project. The CWSA will then estimate the total costs and considerate the application along pre-selection criteria. The level of poverty, existing water and sanitation facilities and their condition, water related diseases and the number of self-help projects completed in the previous five years are among the criteria.
According to Mr. Gustav Osiakwan, projects like this have adverse social and environmental impacts so that a framework has to be created that allows the communities to readily address these impacts. Wherever District Water and Sanitation Plans exist, the project should be based on these. For every borehole, land is required that needs to be properly acquired with a documented agreement, signed by the respective chief. These places also need to be sighted by professionals to minimise negative environmental impact.
As Paulina Abrafi, the Acting regional Director of CWSA, Community Water and Sanitation Agency, points out, there are many challenges to be met during and after the implementation of the project. Conflicts between local authorities and assembly members for example can lead to a lack of support within a community. Other problems are the delay and non-submission of reports to District Assemblies and insufficient monitoring especially after handing over newly constructed systems to the community. People need to be trained locally to be able to maintain the new infrastructure as sustainability is a key issue of the project.
Many different parties are asked to join their efforts to make the Sustainable Rural Water and Sanitation Project a success story. The Water Directorate gives the overall policy but the project is meant to strengthen the District Assemblies in order to ensure the effective execution of their responsibilities. Their roles therefore include the preparation and submission of development plans and budgets, the promotion of information on community water and sanitation, the transfer of funds to participating communities and contractors and the audit, reporting and monitoring of subproject activities. The CWSA is assisting the DA’s with their work on subprojects, and monitors contract performance and qualities. They facilitate prompt payment and promote, coordinate and monitor project activities.
The increase in access to safe water and sanitation facilities is a priority of the government as shown by the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda 2010 - 2013 or the Africa Water Vision of the New Partnership for Africa‘s Development. It is also an effort to meet the Millennium Development Goals that is worth fighting for.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Fifty percent of farmers in the Central Region are poor, with 80% of the farmers having less than 1.2 ha to cultivate, meaning they are only capable of doing subsistence farming, which also leads to great food insecurity in the region.
Due to the missing modern techniques, to have a steady harvest throughout the year the income of the farmers depends highly on the seasons. This situation is a sad reality for most of the people in Central region where 80-90% of the people are employed or dependent on agriculture. Even though so many people are working in that sector and the workforce is huge, with over 1,122,000 people related to agriculture, the potential in that sector is not properly realised because of the complications the agricultural sector is facing. That is one reason why the Central Region is the 4th poorest region and the challenges in the agriculture sector are one of the major concerns in the fight against poverty.
So farmers in the Central Region have drawn a bad lot. Not only is working in agriculture physical hard work, it also takes a long time to make any profit, and is one of the most competitive sectors on the world market. The profit that can be made by small farming is marginal and a lot of the youth are trying to flee from it by finding something different outside of agriculture. Agriculture also becomes more and more complicated with new standards established, upcoming new technologies and new things like sustainable farming being integrated into the sector of agriculture. All these things are turning agriculture into a science in itself, and without training and financial support most of the farmers will not be able to keep up with these coming challenges.
But what is done to help the farmers to overcome those challenges? There are a lot of projects of NGOS and other organisation in the Central Region but due to the lack of coordination these actions are damned not to prosper. That was the reason to set up a forum of stakeholders at the Centre for national culture in the Central Region with the topic: Unifying all Stakeholders in Agriculture to move Agriculture forward in Central Region and it is the first of its kind in Ghana. Among the participants of the forum were the Regional Director of Agriculture George Badu-Yeboah, Representatives of Moap Giz and other development partners, Metropolitan, Municipal and District directors of Agriculture and Farmer Representatives. All of them saw the need to spearhead a proactive program to develop agriculture in the Central Region. The aim of the program will be to move the Central Region from 4th poorest region to the 4th or 3rd richest in the period of 3 years by developing agriculture, and so supporting the majority of the population in the Central Region.
Is agriculture only a private supply activity? No, agriculture has moved to become a business and should be seen as one. And one of the main concerns of a business is to make profit, but most of the farmers are not capable of making any profit. So MoFA and the other development partners are trying to identify the reason for this. But MoFA in the Central Region is highly under-resourced with only one Agriculture Extension Agent (AEA) dealing with over 1,000 people when the normal and adequate ratio would be 1:500. Due to that MoFA needs to collaborate very closely with the development partner and good coordination is necessary. For the approach of coordination the held forum is a milestone.
With the following achievements to come :
- To identify stakeholders in the developmental plan of the region
- To identify the various stakeholders’ plans of activities for the agricultural sector in the region
- To identify strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities in the implementation of the organizational activities
- To develop a documentary of stakeholders activities for the sector in the region
- To raise the income levels of the rural poor through the collaborative effort of stakeholders within three years
These achievements could only be realized if stakeholders come together and work as a team. Soon to come is also a forum for farmers for deliberation on the outcomes of the forum with the stakeholders.
If all plans of the development partner and MoFA are realized and well-coordinated as a team there will soon be:
- modernised farming,
- products with a competitive standard,
- reduced poverty, raised income levels
- food security
- enhanced integration into the domestic and international market
- capability of producing food the whole year round
- sustainable farming
- better communication between producers and processors
- training provided for most of the farmers
- the youth will come back to the agricultural sector
This forum is an important step forward in finally bringing participants in agriculture to prosper, and also in reducing the poverty in Central Region. And in 3 years the word poverty might no longer be linked to the word agriculture.
|Students doing an experiment|
Science teachers in the basic schools in Ghana have been urged to demystify science related subjects in order to encourage more pupils to learn the subjects with ease.
The Member of Parliament for Cape Coast, Hon. Ebo Barton Odro made this known at a two day workshop for science teachers in both central and western regions. It was on the topic “Enhancing Learning of Physics-Towards Professional development of the Physic Teacher”.
Integrated Science, especially physics, is for most people a very mysterious and complicated subject. Words like Voltage Transistor or wavelength are foreign and their meaning not easily explainable, but there are people who are very familiar with those words because they are part of their daily work. These people are physics teachers. Even though these people are very experienced in the field of physics and teaching physics there is still a lot to learn about new methods of teaching and the very fast development of physics. To give those selected people the chance to further their skills, The United Kingdom Institute of Physics has organized the first workshop for physics teachers at the Community Science Resource Center in Cape Coast.
To share that memorable event, officials were invited, among them Nana Eyimfa, Hon. Ebo Barton Odro, Mr. Roger Green and others. All of them saw the need in expanding science education and bringing it to young students to awake their passion for science. By bringing science to the basic schools, young students’ interest in science will continue throughout their whole school career. Science and physics are also connected to the development of Ghana, and that is also one reason why science skills and teaching physics are important for Ghana.
Mr Roger Green, representative of The United Kingdom Institute of Physics, mentioned the good and still further developing collaboration between the IOP and Ghana Education Service. He also stressed the point of how important practical work is for teaching. Theory is the basic of every work in the field of physic but experiments and practical work will bring the students closer to the science and their use in even daily situations. Discussion and the exchange about the experiments and the topic of science among the students show their great interest, and are also a great source of new knowledge. That opinion was shared by every other speaker this afternoon. Hon. Ebo Barton also mentioned the important role of Cape Coast as an education Center or the Oxford of Ghana, thereby it is necessary to constantly further the skills of teachers to do justice to that title.
|More students doing experiments|
After this workshop the teacher should be able to transfer their desire and knowledge of physics to their students. Nevertheless these teachers must have the commitment to transfer their newly owned teaching skills to their classrooms. To end with the word of Nana Eyimfa: ‘After the workshop every teacher should be a worthy ambassador of science’.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
By Frances Black - Projects Abroad
The charity and gap year organisation Projects Abroad has a large and significant presence in Ghana, and is responsible for bringing thousands of volunteers to Ghana and numerous other developing countries around the world, for projects as diverse as orphanage and television work.
In Ghana it has bases in Accra, Cape Coast, Ho, Koforidua, Kumasi and the Akuapem Hills, and is constantly working hard to expand as the influx of volunteers increases.
Ghana is one of the most popular destinations for Projects Abroad volunteers, and according to Grant Appiah, Regional Coordinator for Cape Coast, this is due mainly to its political stability, its friendly and welcoming reputation, and the fact that it is an English speaking country.
|Volunteers at the Asiebu clean-up|
Appiah also explained that many organisations, such as schools, orphanages and newspapers rely strongly on the time, hard-work and enthusiasm of volunteers, who receive no payment for the work that they do. In Central Press Newspaper, for example, the editor Kwamina Bamfo estimates that approximately 90% of the articles are written by volunteers, showing how vital they are to some organisations. Many orphanages can have up to 9 volunteers at a time, which is also a demonstration of how much help some places need.
Eric Ekow Ewusie, Assistant Regional Coordinator defined the benefits of volunteer work as achieving a cultural exchange between Ghanaians and foreigners, whereby volunteers can bring new teaching strategies, techniques and styles, and they can also learn from Ghanaians. He noted that volunteers also bring new equipment previously unavailable in Ghana, which help to broaden the horizons of the organisations, so they can develop and evolve their teaching methods. Eric also emphasised that the children learn a lot from the volunteers, as their presence, enthusiasm and hard-work instils in them an understanding of the vitality and importance of education.
An example of the effectiveness of volunteers working together was displayed on Friday 15th April, when the majority of the Projects Abroad volunteers in Cape Coast came together to clean up the Asiebu orphanage.
Volunteers of all ages and occupations got together and worked hard to give the orphanage an overall restoration by moping floors, scrubbing tables and surfaces, and reorganising the children’s clothes, among other activities. After the clean-up, the volunteers joined the children in a number of races on the sports field nearby.
Projects Abroad began in 1992 when students wanted a break from academic study in order to travel and gain some work experience. Their teacher, Professor Dr. Peter Slowe, subsequently contacted some academics he knew in Romania and organised for these students to go and teach English in Romania, marking the birth of Projects Abroad.
Since then Projects Abroad has grown and expanded to become one of the biggest volunteer organisations in the world, offering placements in 27 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Since 1992 more than 35,000 volunteers have used its services, and this number of volunteers is constantly increasing. Projects Abroad now have 2 North American offices in New York and Toronto, and offer over 100 generic projects.
Volunteers tend to range from 16 to 75, consisting of mainly university students or young people taking gap years before starting university. As well as this, many people take career breaks or summer holidays with Projects Abroad, and there is even an increasing demand from those who are retired.
Gap years first gained popularity in the United Kingdom during the 1960s, when students took a year out usually between finishing secondary school and beginning University. General reasons for taking a gap year include desiring a break from formal education, wanting to experience a different lifestyle and to travel to exotic places, and also wishing to help others by doing charity or volunteer work. Gap years are hugely popular in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and are also growing in popularity in America, however are discouraged in countries such as Denmark.
Organisations such as Projects Abroad give people of all ages the tools to access a lifestyle and experience that might otherwise be hard to organise or come by. In Ghana alone, there are teaching, care, medicine, conservation, sports, journalism, human rights, veterinary medicine and building projects, which offer prospective volunteers a wide range of choices, so that anybody can find something they would enjoy. Rather than spending days in a hotel, volunteers live with a host family and get to experience Ghanaian lifestyle first hand, through the people that live it. Most volunteers find that immersing oneself into the culture of the where they are staying is an enriching and educational experience.
By Frances Black - Projects Abroad
Hans Cottage Botel is the perfect resort for reptile lovers everywhere, with an awe-inspiring array of unusual animals such as crocodiles and weaverbirds.
The Botel is situated 4km from Cape Coast, and is one of the most popular places of interest in the area, attracting a large number of tourists and locals alike.
The Botel is located in the centre of a beautiful lagoon, which is home to Nile crocodiles, turtles, Lessor Spot-Nosed monkeys, Patas monkeys, purple herons and weaverbirds, which can be observed from the restaurant in the middle of the lagoon, and from the bridges which cross the water. The atmosphere is tranquil and calming, with the sound of birds and wildlife all around, and it is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon. Visitors can take a walk around the lagoon and observe the many creatures on display, as well as the beautiful scenery and surroundings.
In addition to the attractive location and the laidback ambiance, brave visitors also have the opportunity to get close to the crocodiles and take pictures with them for 1GHC. An assistant will feed the crocodile before hand so that it is uninterested in the visitors, and one can then pose for photos near the crocodile, if you are bold enough! This is a sure attraction and must-have experience for animal-enthusiasts everywhere, and a priceless souvenir to take home. Bird watching, fishing and boat rides on the lake are also available, along with a one hour nature walk in the hotel forest to see monkeys, plants and resident farmers.
The restaurant also offers fantastic food, which caters to Ghanaian and Western tastes, with a large selection of well-made meals and snacks suitable for any preferences. Eating lunch or dinner, visitors can relax by the lagoon and watch the wildlife and nature, including crocodiles and birds. Most of the vegetables used are grown organically from the Hans Cottage garden, and there is a live band on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. In addition to this, Hans Cottage is mosquito-free, as the fish in the lake eat all of the larvae.
Hans Cottage also offer a guest house and hotel service, whereby guests can stay in a variety of accommodation types depending on their budget and preferences. These range from private guest houses to single room suites, to camping grounds for budgeting tourists unconcerned with luxury. Guest houses have bedrooms, a living room, private baths and kitchen facilities, and are ideal for families, whereas cheaper rooms possess a shared toilet and bath. As a result, Hans Cottage is a great place to stay in Cape Coast regardless of how much cash you have to spend, as they have facilities and accommodation for every kind of budget.
Along with its impressive hotel service, the Botel also offers internet and email facilities, a swimming pool, a tennis court, a pool table and darts, so visitors will never be stuck for something to do. Also present is a conference room of maximum 100 people capacity, ideal for business trips. Daily breakfast and luncheon buffets are also available, as well as a catering service specialising in cakes for special occasions, and guest laundry facilities.
In all, Hans Cottage Botel is a beautifully unique destination for tourists and locals alike, which offers a pleasantly surprising wealth of services and activities not easily found elsewhere in the Central Region, and is an ideal place to relax and appreciate nature.
By Frances Black - Projects Abroad
The Monkey Forest Resort is a charming and lively sanctuary for monkeys and numerous other animals, including turtles, snakes and antelopes, situated in Cape Coast.
The sanctuary was established, built, and is owned by a Dutch couple seven years ago, and has proved to be one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Central Region, due on one hand to its impressive collection of monkeys – some are even endangered – and other animals, but also due equally to its owners, whose open, friendly and quirky personalities create a visit that feels unique and special, due to their laidback and genuine manner, their hilarious anecdotes about the animals, and their obvious devotion and love to them.
As a visitor it is clear that each monkey is treated as an individual, with abundant stories of their mischief and behaviour, which are a joy for animal lovers everywhere. The affection and friendship between the owners and the animals is heart-warmingly clear to see, and it is wholly reassuring to know that the monkeys are in such caring hands.
Also enhancing the experience is the resort’s layout and structure, which is built up a large hill; the views from its summit are breathtaking and spectacularly beautiful, and visitors can see for miles around, offering a perfect photo opportunity. Even more staggering is the impressive fact that the owners built the whole resort themselves, which stretches from the bottom of the hill, slowly working its way to the top with a number of paths and staircases.
All visitors will receive a guided tour around the sanctuary, in which they are shown each animal, which is normally accompanied by some information and interesting stories about it. Visitors will also have the opportunity to hold turtles on the top of the hill, and to take photos of some of the monkeys, although there a few for which photos are prohibited.
In addition to these attractions they are also in process of building a Mrs Doolittle Snackbar on the hill’s summit, and also guest houses for volunteers to stay in. This latest development will be an incredible opportunity for many animal enthusiasts, as volunteering would involve helping with the running of the resort, and invaluable experience and time with the monkeys.
By Frances Black
The donation occurred after Projects Abroad learnt that Central Press did not have satisfactory graphics software, or a computer that could use such a programme, for the creation and editing of their newspapers. A short ceremony was held at the Central Press office, which was attended by Tom Davis, the country director of Projects Abroad in Ghana, Anthony Egyir Aikins, the Mayor of Cape Coast, Joseph Opoku Adjei, credit analyst of UT Bank, Ebo Sackey, the regional chairman of Ghana Journalist Association, the manager of the Hampton Printing Press and Victor Savage, as well as some others.
Most of the guests present gave short speeches concerning their involvement with Central Press Newspaper and Projects Abroad, and how they hoped that Central Press would grow, develop and expand in the future. Sackey emphasised the importance of bringing more written news to the people of Ghana, stating that reading newspaper was declining, but that ‘putting thoughts on paper is very important’. He also highlighted the importance of engaging young people to read, and used the Central Press Newspaper as an example of a medium to achieve this.
The Mayor also pledged his support to CPN, saying that he was ‘going to go a long way to support Central Press’. Victor Savage, a board member of CPN stated that he was ‘overwhelmed’ by the support from UT Bank and Projects Abroad, and praised the non-political and unbiased stance of the newspaper.
Projects Abroad have been long-time supporters and sponsors of Central Press Newspaper since it began in January 2010, and the new computer is just one donation among many, along with new desks and chairs. Those at Projects Abroad are now also locating a permanent office for the newspaper, which has published a total of 15 editions. Central Press Newspaper has so far received 12 volunteers from Projects Abroad, from countries as diverse as England, France, Holland, Germany and Australia, and the editor Kwamina Bamfo expressed his sincere gratitude towards Projects Abroad’s contribution and help, without which he said he could not run his newspaper.
Tom Davis gave those in attendance a brief summary of Projects Abroad’s history in Ghana so far, explaining that it is 13 years since they first started. Accra was the first destination made available for volunteers, and Cape Coast the second, allowing for further expansion into different areas and regions in Ghana.
We at Central Press Newspaper would like to thank Projects Abroad for this generous donation, and everyone who supports the newspaper.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
While within city limits traffic is moving rather slowly it gets worse when travelling on the intercoastal highway that connects Accra, Cape Coast and Sekondi-Takoradi before going to Cote d'Ivoire. When having a slow moving vehicle in front, drivers seem to be challenged to overtake it by any chance. No matter if they drive a 200 HP 4x4 or an overloaded Tro-Tro with 15 passengers in it. And they obviously don't care if there is a twenty-car-queue behing the slow truck or if they are going uphill or through a turn where they don't see what is coming from the opposite direction. And if so, they seem to hope that somebody lets them in again or that the other guys will give way to avoid a collision, even if they have to drive on the shoulder or through the gravel next to the roads. And although you oftentimes see carwrecks next to the streets which should be considered as warning memorials, but drivers don't seem to care. They rather seem to rely on the help of god which might be the reason why many of them have stickers saying „Jesus loves you“ or similar on their rear windows.
The danger increases during the night. While during the day you can see the other vehicles moving on the streets, during the night some of them are basically invisible due to broken lights. And with the sometimes really bad road conditions another potential danger comes into play.
Central Press spoke with Linda Affotey-Annang of the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) how safety could be improved to decrease the number of accidents. NRSC has been established in 1999 as a part of the Ghanaian Ministry of Transportation. Their vision is to make Ghana's road transportation system the safest in entire Africa. In the year 2000 the fatility rate was 36 per 10,000 vehicles. While in 2008 it has decreased to 19, the long term goal for 2015 is a single digit.
Linda says that the human errors are reason number one for the amount of accidents. Fatigue, DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol), speeding and wrong overtaking, just to name a few. The same is for pedestrians: crossing streets without caution, jay-walking or walking the wrong direction.
Super Intendent Paul Aduhene of the Cape Coast MTTU agrees on this by saying that drivers only have their own mind in business and seem to think that the rules are only for the others. People treat the police as a foreign entity and just try to avoid them.. Aduhene also states that not enoguh police are present to cover the entire Central Region. He wishes to have a moving patrol for traffic enforcement, too. Everybody knows the check points along the roads, so drivers will slow down and when get past the, even when they are still in sight of the police, they start speeding again. With a moving patrol, equipped with a video camera, they could enforce traffic in different areas and forward the information to the next check point where the reckless drivers could be stopped. With the knowledge, that such an „invisible“ patrol is moving around, people would also be more careful not to get caught and would reduce speed. DUI is, regarding to Aduhene, not the biggest issue although there are no reliable stats because there is only one alco-meter in the entire Central region.
While traffic enforcement is the main task of the MTTU, Linda Affotey-Annang of the NRSC told Central Press about other activities to make Ghana's roads safer, like Engineering (road maintenance) or Emergency. But the most important part is the education. Not only in driving schools but also in schools and in the public life of the people. „We have to change the people's minds, they have to understand that they are not only risking their own lifes but also endanger other people's lifes“ both Affotey-Annang and Aduhene agree on.
|no. of accidents||811||1189|
|no. of vehicles involved||1067||1860|
|no. of fatal accidents||110||141|
|no. of killed people||167||141|
|no. of injured people||812||998|
|2010 (4th quarter)||2011 (1st quarter)|
|no. of accidents||274||263|
|no. of vehicles involved||348||342|
|no. of fatal accidents||28||35|
|no. of killed people||46||71|
|no. of injured people||289||262|
|no. of pedestrians knocked down||109||78|
What can I do?
- Walk on the left side of the road (facing the oncoming traffic)
- Watch the traffic when crossing the road; use traffic lights or crosswalks
- During the night wear bright clothes with reflection stripes
- Teach the children and be a good role model
- Help the elderly and the disabled when crossing the street
- Watch the speed limit
- Overtake carefully (not uphill or in front of turns)
- Maintain the vehicle (lights, brakes etc)
- Do not overload the vehicle
- On long drives take a break to avoid fatigue
- Don't drink and drive
- Watch for pedestrians
The members of the association who's head is Dr. Mate Siakwa, head of the UCC Department of Health sciences, come from universities from all over Ghana.
After describing the jobs first, Dr. Antwi pointed out the challenges to education of nurses and midwives:
She then started reflecting on the concept of Excellence, which she said, reflects brilliance, distinction, superiority and quality and then quoted the Ghanaian preacher and entrepreneur Dr. Mensah Otabil: „Excellence is an antidote to limitation. It means going beyond the mark“.
To achieve excellence the university nursing and midwifery programs must seek for
- Robust Education
- Achieving global standards
- Periodic curricula review to address gaps and changes
- Advocate for a strong and competent nursing and midwifery faculty
- Strengthening of regulatory mechanisms
Dr. Antwi closed her speech by saying that to achieve excellence ASNUP will need to reflect on the past role of higher educational systems. She also stressed that although the midwives are not part of the associations name and are sometimes seen as a part of nursery, midwifery is a profession on its own.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
By Frances Black
12th April signalled the main examinations for young students to pass from junior high school to senior high school.
A number of prominent figures made formal inspections of four schools, including Ebo Barton Odro, the MP for Cape Coast, Deputy Minister of Justice and Attorney General, and the Mayor of Cape Coast, Nana Kwamena Nyimfa. A total number of 2,803 candidates are taking the examinations today in Cape Coast, which will determine whether they can rise to the next level of formal education.
The main role of the visits was to inspect the schools, speak to, encourage and inspire the candidates where possible, and to gain a perspective on the attendance and organisation of the examinations.
Encouragingly there were few absentees in each school, with MFantsipim at 440 candidates and St. Augustine’s College at 407, having no absentees, Holy Child School missing only 4 candidates out of its total 485, and Adisadel College also missing 4 out of 517 candidates this time. These figures give an extremely promising and positive image of the examinations, showing nearly full attendance from the main schools of Cape Coast, which demonstrates the commitment, determination and hard-work of many of the students. This is especially poignant as all four schools were hosting the examinations for a number of schools in the area, with Holy Child School opening its doors to 14 different schools, and St Augustine’s College to 9 schools in total.
Also of significance was the presence of 34 deaf and 4 blind candidates from Cape Coast School for the Blind among the students taking their exams at Holy Child School, which is in an example of the progress and opportunities being supplied for those with disabilities.
Those inspecting channelled their main focus into giving motivational words of advice to the students who were about to sit their examinations. They were encouraged to ‘forget the negative habits’ and keep on ‘reading, reading, reading’. As well as this, Nyimfa emphasised the importance of reading questions at least three times to fully grasp and understand the question, and to spot the tricks intended catch out students.
Ebo Barton Odro explained to many of the students that this was a ‘defining moment for you […] your teachers love you so much’, appealing to the candidates to not disappoint their teachers. He also discouraged the students from becoming too overwhelmed or stressed, saying: ‘Get relaxed and remember all that you have been told’. However his most poignant and direct words of advice were to greatly deter students from giving into the temptations of cheating, and to instead complete their exams with honesty.
Each speaker wished the candidates the best of luck, and congratulated them for coming this far already. The importance of education in success was deeply highlighted, and it was made clear to the candidates that this day was an incredibly important one in shaping the direction and outcome of their futures. We wish all of the candidates the best of luck.
Monday, April 11, 2011
By Axel Patsch
On Friday, April 8th, the Ghana students' chemical society invited the University of Cape Coast (UCC) Chemistry students to join a presentation by Mr. Michael Amponsah Kwatia, a UCC graduate and representative of the Ghanaian National Petroleum Comission (GNPC).
GNPC owns the Jubilee field, an off-shore oil field southwest of Takoradi, which has been opened in the fourth quarter of 2010. Right now, the output averages 120,000 barrel per day but should increase to 240,000 barrel/day later on. Additionally, natural gas is being produced at the Jubilee field, too. With the discovery of oil at the Ghanaian shores, experts say that there will be a need for many kinds of workforce. Besides the jobs that are directly related to the oil and gas production, also a lot of secondary businesses will have a demand, for example infrastructure, transportation, accommodation, banking, insurance and many more. Since Takoradi is only 80 km away from Cape Coast, this should also have a positive impact on the Central Region.
But first and foremost, the oil industry needs workers and engineers of all kinds, for example mechanical, electrical and also chemical engineers. Michael Kwatia, who himself graduated in chemistry at UCC, pointed out a few of the many things chemical engineers can do at and around Jubilee field. Some of the tasks are gas chromatography, oil and gas processing, analysis of the products and the water, treatment of sour water, and safety and environmental issues, just to name a few. With an estimated 1.5 billion barrel volume, Jubilee field should be able to offer plenty of secure jobs for the next several years as oil is still one of the most important and most wanted resources in the world. Unfortunately Kwatia was not available for an interview with Central Press after his presentation which left many questions unanswered, but by contacting GNPC, interested students or graduates should be able to learn more about their possible future in the oil industry.
Central Press also asked Jonas Commey about other financial sources like the sales of TV rights and merchandise. The TV rights are owned and sold by the FA and the money is distributed to the club, but so far the numbers are not very high.
Regarding the merchandise: When walking through the streets of Cape Coast one can see many people wearing football jerseys. Most of them are from the European top clubs like Chelsea FC, Manchester United or CF Barcelona. But yellow and green, the Dwarfs' colors, are yet to be seen. Uli Hoeness, former GM of the German top club Bayern Munich, saw very early the huge potential in merchandise sales and started marketing his club all over the world. He said that one day, the club might be able to give away the game tickets for free because all necessary revenues to run the club would come from merchandise sales and TV rights. Commey stated that so far there is nothing available, but that he knows about the financial potential and that the club will start selling jerseys and other articles soon.
On a cloudy afternoon on April, 10th, the Ebuasa Mysterious Dwarfs hosted the Aduana Stars at Robert-Mensah-Stadium in Cape Coast.
While the home team still needs every point to avoid relegation, the visitors were seeded 4th in the GLO Premier League. In front of an estimated 2,000 fans, Aduana had more posession of the ball at the beginning, but did not come close to the Dwarfs' goal. The home team had a few scoring chances, but most of the times it took them to long to direct the ball towards the net. After 30 minutes, Dwarfs forward Bancey took a shot from 10 meters left of the goal but it went straight into the arms of Aduana netminder Adams. In the 40th minute, the Stars had their biggest chance when they hit the crossbar from 16 meters. Only three minutes later, Dwarfs midfielder Kwame Asimeng Frimpong scored with a beautiful one-timer from 20 meters, a ball Adams never saw before it ended up in the back of the net.
During the dying minutes of the game, the visitors opened their defense to try and force the equalizer, but lost the ball several times. Dwarfs could not profit from these turnovers but they were able to bring home the well deserved victory which helped them to climb on the 7th rank in the league.
Dwarfs mananger Jonas Commey stated after the game that he was quite happy with his team's effort. The team controlled most of the game and deserved the win. Commey said that at the moment the team plays better on the road because the pressure and the expectations of the home crowd are quite high obviously they could live up to expectations against Aduana.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Frances Black – Projects Abroad
Despite the skill and hard work of a numerous number of musicians in Ghana, it appears that many are finding it very difficult to break into the vast and lucrative European and American music market, regardless of their current success in Africa. The American and European market has always been notoriously difficult to penetrate, with often very narrow criteria for what is generally successful. Although African pop music is very popular in Britain among the African disapora, with artists like P-Square, for example, selling out venues to almost exclusively Nigerians living in Britain, it appears that there is a barrier for some artists who wish not only to be recognised by Africans living in Britain, but who also want to be successful among the non-African community.
World Music is extremely successful in Britain, with a huge audience listening to Salif Keita, Baaba Maal, Youssou N’Dour and many others, who instead of playing to the African disapora in Britain, actually play largely to white, middle-class crowds; however, this kind of music bears few similarities with the music that is actually currently popular among Africans in both Africa and Britain, as it is carefully tailored and produced to appeal to white audiences who are looking for what they believe to be more authentic African music, which does not contain influences from Western contemporary pop. This audience is looking for what they perceive to represent a more traditional, ‘real’ form of African music, while those in London’s African communities are listening instead to artists that most world music fans would be completely unaware of, such as Koffi Olomide from the Congo, or King Wasiu Ayinde from Nigeria. As a result it is clear that there is a divide between what is popular among white Europeans, and what is popular among Africans living in Britain and in Africa, despite the former wanting to experience what they perceive to be real African music.
As previously mentioned, although many African artists do have a standing in Britain among the African communities, this is not satisfactory for many, as a large number want to branch out from the African population and to appeal to white and non-African people living in Britain and Europe. Many artists reject the marketing used for some African artists coming to England, for example in the case of P-Square, where he is only marketed to the Nigerian community through Nigerian press and radio, without trying to reach out to the mainstream media, as ticket sales are guaranteed from the Nigerian population so those in charge feel it is unnecessary to market more broadly. It appears that this is where the problem lies for many African artists who wish to become popular in Europe: they only receive press and publication from the African community in general, rather than from the rest of Europe’s population.
There are many people in Britain and the rest of Europe who would definitely be interested in hearing modern, contemporary African pop music, especially as many of the songs feature upbeat rhythms and synthesised beats that are great to dance to, which are also all popular elements in most Western pop music. The music scene in Britain is one of the most diverse in the world, and one can find almost any kind of music there: rock, pop, reggae, classical, punk, jazz, the list goes on. The British music and club scene is always on the look out for something new, different and colourful, which are all characteristics of a lot of African pop music. There are without a doubt many people, young and old, who would love to embrace contemporary pop music from Africa, but it would appear that it is more a matter of giving those who are not part of the African community the tools and ability to access this music, as most of it is not advertised to the mainstream media. In Britain, one would not normally see music from most countries in Africa advertised freely and obviously, but one would have to look quite hard to find it. JJC, a Nigerian rapper played the Womad festival in London, and remarked that although the crowd was ‘95% white’, they were still going wild, and the atmosphere was identical to his sell-out shows with a solely Nigerian audience, showing that anyone can enjoy music, no matter where they are from.
As a result, it is the destruction of the barrier preventing contemporary music from Africa from being played on mainstream radio and television, and being advertised in mainstream newspapers and magazines that could be the key to increasing its success and popularity among those who are not members of the African community in Britain and the rest of Europe, as this would surely open many new paths for Africa’s many already established, and up-and-coming artists.