Celebrating the launch of Foundation First’s School Development Centre!

We’re excited to tell you that we’ve recently found a new way to help strengthen and sustain ourselves as an organisation that is aimed at equalising the life opportunities of young children in Ghana. We’ve established a School Development Centre which will institutionalise our transformational teacher training programmes that we deliver to public and private schools across Ghana and will provide ongoing support to schools (primarily low-fee private ones) in and around the Western region of Ghana. So, what is the reason for the establishment of this School Development Centre?

As an emerging NGO, we believe strongly that we need to invest not only in the sustainability of our existing initiatives but also in the existence of our organisation because it is only when it continues to exist that our programmes will continue to exist. Research has established that successfully thriving and sustainable NGOs all over the world not only depend on funding from others, but develop their own funding streams through establishing social enterprises to sustain both themselves and their programmes. In establishing our School Development Centre, we have been particularly influenced by the West Africa Civil Society Institute’s (WACSI’s) research into The State of Civil Society Organisations’ Sustainability in Ghana: striving, surviving or thriving? (WACSI, 2015).

More about the School Development Centre 

The Foundation First School Development Centre (SDC), located within Foundation First’s premises in the Western region of Ghana, will enhance the professional standards of school teachers and leaders and serve as a centre of excellence supporting school growth and sustainability. In fact, it’s already successfully delivered two blended (both online and in-person) professional development courses for groups of teachers.

The SDC will be serving as a one-stop shop providing both training for school teachers/leaders and a place for making teaching and learning materials. We will be offering a variety of practical, school-based, tailor-made training courses and services, including:

  • School leadership development
  • School growth and sustainability
  • Teacher professional development
  • Teacher recruitment, training and supply
  • Teacher-learner resource development and supply
  • Curriculum design and training
  • Classroom setup and training
  • Volunteers for education development

Our SDC training and coaching staff are the same ones who already provide transformative training to the schools we support in marginalised areas of Ghana.

Our vision for expansion

Our ambition is to set up other SDCs, with teacher resource shops attached, across all 16 regions in Ghana.

Reference: 
WACSI (2015) The State of Civil Society Organisations’ Sustainability in Ghana: Striving, Surviving or Thriving? Accra: Ghana.

Meet our new Volunteers!

Our volunteers from the beginning have helped propel Foundation First forwards with their enthusiasm and determination to make a change. As we began with volunteers, we continue to do so, by connecting more with people who align with all of Foundation First’s values, joining us on our journey to providing quality early years education for every child. Foundation First is very happy to welcome our latest volunteers – Solomon, Gabriel, Patience and Archibald! Each of our new volunteers was encouraged to share their hopes and inspirations with us as they start their new journey with our team in Ghana.

Gabriel

By providing my free time and applying my own experience for the betterment of early childhood education, I have developed a further love and appreciation for the significance of early childhood education and the children whose lives are impacted.

To support the work of Foundation First I plan to use my knowledge and expertise in research, monitoring and evaluation in early childhood education to aid in decision-making, policy implementation and the best strategies for children’s growth and development. 

Ultimately, I am hopeful that with the knowledge, skills and experiences gathered from Foundation First, I will become one of the proud early childhood education ambassadors in the future.

Patience

All children need champions who will not give up on them, not necessarily for applause but so that even when their champion is not present what they have been exposed to through teaching and learning stays with them for life. I stand for the future well-being of every child and plan on serving as a voice who advocates for the success and prosperity of children through writing and publicity which are particular areas of joy for me.

Foundation First passionately support children in less privileged communities who lack quality educational structures and nurture. As the wise saying goes, “children are the voices we send to a future yet unknown, and if we can support in their upbringing, we can catch the creativity of their Maker.”  

Foundation First’s work help to spearhead this mandate forwards and by being a part of this I will also be able to bring my contribution. With my knowledge and skills in education, I will be supporting the making of visual aids for children’s development and that of their teachers’ professional development as we meet with them in person through various empowerment sessions and activities. As a Volunteer Support Officer, I hope to support Foundation First to become the pivot on which early childhood education thrives.

Archibald

As an individual, volunteerism has been and will always be a part of my life. It gives me great joy and delight to know that the help I offer can benefit others and bring change no matter how small.

I joined Foundation First to demonstrate and share my expertise and abilities in ICT (i.e. hardware repair, servicing and maintenance) and my passion for the growth and proper upbringing of young children, especially in the area of education, where a lot of Ghanaian children are underprivileged. So joining the volunteer team to contribute to idea planning and sharing to help shape and save the future of our young children has become my main focus. 

Foundation First is already on a great path to supporting the lives of numerous early childhood educators, complementing the government’s role in the education field. Because of this, I pledge to support Foundation First across the length of the country to bring transformational change in our educational system to impact our young children positively to produce the best future leaders ever.

Solomon

Growing up, I had the privilege of getting support from Jenny Reid, a missionary from the USA, through my high school and tertiary education. Children receiving quality early years education is one of the best gifts they can have for their futures. I am very glad to have joined Foundation First to add my quota and skills that I have experienced in other fields.

As a shepherd and a Sunday School teacher in my church, my desire to bring positive change to children’s well-being grew when watching children learn naturally in a stimulating and welcoming environment, which is what Foundation First is noted for.

As an accounts clerk, I will support Foundation First’s work through budgeting, auditing accounts, record keeping and other administrative work. In the next five 5 years, I envisage Foundation First working all across Ghana and internationally, providing a strong educational foundation for young children.

Meet an Intern

An Introduction to our Intern Taylor Carlson

Meet Taylor Carlson, a student in her fourth and final year of studying for a Bachelors in Business Administration at the University of Florida. Taylor joined Foundation First as an intern and as her time comes to an end she reflects on her time with us.

With prior experience volunteering and working with NGOs, Taylor joined Foundation First bringing a different perspective and valuable experience in marketing through her work for Project Canis, where she works as a Marketing Coordinator.

Internships with NGOs have become popular amongst students as it provides important skill-building opportunities, hands-on learning experience, and the opportunity to contribute to the beneficial work that charities do. Interning with NGOs provides the opportunity to work on important projects that help contribute to society and societal issues, whilst working with people from different backgrounds is another benefit making it a great place to meet new people.

The great thing about interning or volunteering is that it is a chance to use your existing skills to make a contribution to society. NGOs always need additional help and support but what is offered in return is a chance to learn and develop skills.

Interning for 2 months, Taylor’s time with us is short but shows the importance of internships to anyone who is interested in working with nonprofits. She has helped us launch our Christmas Fundraiser and has been working closely with our social media and marketing team to share & exchange knowledge and skills. Helping to contribute to a charity that gains something special from every internship and volunteer.

Volunteering and internships can open doors to new people and new experiences, helping people who want to help, get together to make a difference.

Meet a Volunteer

Meet one of our volunteers, Harriet Delali Deku. Dela joined the Foundation First (FF) Ghana team in February 2021 and is planning to stay with us until she decides to leave. 

My views on volunteering:

Volunteering is the act of giving your time and service to a cause without payment. It can be done for a variety of reasons. Some volunteer to pass government classes, some volunteer to give back near the holidays, and some just do it for the sake of doing it, without reason. For me, volunteering is a way of life. It was how I grew up, and it defines me. My goal in life is to inspire others to give back in any way they can, not because they have to, but because they want to.

My background and my volunteer role within FF:

I am a tertiary educator in the field of educational psychology, with over seven years’ experience of volunteering in different aspects both with local and international organizations. Currently, I am responsible for managing FF’s social media accounts and I am part of the newsletter team. I have a keen interest in developmentally appropriate practices in the early childhood education classroom and have expertise in understanding how children learn.

Group photo of, from left, Fidelis, Araba, Sabina, Godwin, Brou, Stephens, Dela & Wada

A taste of how I’ve developed through volunteering with FF:

I was glad to join an FF training-of-master-trainers workshop as it has helped me learn more about FF’s processes and procedures and prepare for my journey towards becoming an FF master trainer. The workshop included the following topics: Ghana National Teachers’ Standards, best practices in early childhood learning, and how to set up a contemporary model classroom. I learned, unlearned, and relearned many things and I notably gained from the workshop. 

My personal recommendation to anyone wondering about volunteering: 

My personal recommendation to you is to join a club or group that does community service. In addition, or alternatively, find a worthwhile charity that you would like to help, then call them and ask them what they need help with. You could get your friends involved and make it even more fun. For me, I love knowing I can do something, and that we as a generation have control over something. Volunteering does so much for the community, but it does so much for you as an individual as well. 

Painting Bibiani Children’s Library