Education Structure in Ghana - Part 3

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Education Structure in Ghana - Part 3

This is the final installment of our 3-part series on the education system in Ghana, and the goals of The Move Project Academy.

In Part 2 of the blog series we outlined how the education system is structured in Ghana. 

Mission of TMP Academy

TMP Academy exists to develop, encourage, and prepare children to advance through the academic system in Ghana, and so graduates process the knowledge and skills to be successful in the next stage of their lives.

The Academy aspires to be a model of educational excellence in Ghana.

Our initial offering will be Creche through Primary (Pre-K through 6th Grade) and the class sizes will be limited to 20 children per classroom for the Primary grade levels. This will help ensure we launch successfully, learn quickly, and give ourselves the ability to adapt wherever necessary. We desire to provide as much access to education for the community and we firmly believe we must act in a way that provides tangible the children and their families. 

When we officially partnered with Tsipasi three years ago, education was second on their list of most pressing needs. Second only to water. We have spent the last year fundraising, building, planning educational structures of the Academy, and preparing the community for what to expect when education becomes available through TMP Academy.

The community members are all in. They've dreamed of this day and it's finally here!

We will be launching with Primary school but the vision doesn't stop there. We know there is, and will continue to be, a need for Secondary education. This need will naturally grow as the children begin to progress successfully through Primary grades at TMP Academy.

Secondary School Challenges

  • Secondary schools are typically only located in larger towns and cities, making access difficult for rural villages like Tsipasi.
  • If children pass Primary school, they  must test into secondary school.
  • If the child passes admittance testing, Secondary education comes at a cost by way of increased tuition fees, travel expenses, or boarding fees.
    • Because secondary schools are spread out geographically, most also serve as boarding schools as well.

TMP Academy Secondary School

Our vision is to build a secondary school as part of TMP Acacademy in Tsipasi. This will accomplish a few things.

  • Provide local secondary education to Tsipasi children and surrounding villages
  • Increase access to secondary education by having a local option, thus decrease the overall expense (no travel or boarding)
  • Generate more jobs for the adults in the area 
  • Generate more income through the local economy

English Classes & Skills Training

TMP Academy will also be used to facilitate job skills training, various workshops, and English classes for adults. The lack of job opportunities is a problem in Tsipasi and it's right behind education on the list.

Tsipasi is in a rural setting and farming is the main source of income. While farming is a full-time job for the men, it isn't for the Women. We've been discussing with them what other opportunities we could make available. This is where the English classes and job skills training come in at TMP Academy.

Our first training will be in soap making. This training will not only provide a starter kit of supplies to get going, but will also provide them with the knowledge of soap making process so they can begin selling their soap products in the market which is in high demand. Following the training will be a small business workshop to ensure they have the ability to not only create a small business but run it effectively to help bring sustainable income to their families. 

As we've touched on before, the common language in the marketplace is English because people are coming together from various villages and Regions. English classes for adults will also be held at the Academy to provide them with the ability to successfully navigate the selling of goods and crops for themselves in the markets rather than solely relying on a wholesaler.

There are significant opportunities for the farmers of Tsipasi to increase their income if they can sell directly in the markets, and you need to be able to speak English to have the largest reach.

Here's Where You Come In

We can't do any of this work without generous supporters like you.

Nearly 100% of our funding comes from individual donors. Would you consider making a donation of any size to help sustain the work and vision of The Move Project? You can give a secure, tax-deductible gift right on our website, and join hands in the work we're doing in Ghana. 

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Holiday Support for TMP

There are a number of ways you can support The Move Project while shopping for your holiday gifts and planning for year-end giving.

We rely primarily on generous individual donors like you to sustain the work of The Move Project, and we've set up some ways to make giving  easier. Below we've outlined three easy ways to give.


Give directly through our website for an end of year gift


Amazon Smile

When you shop using TMP's Amazon Smile link a percentage of sales will be donated to TMP!


Amazon Wishlist

Order from this wishlist and you'll be contributing directly to TMP Academy by stocking the supply shelves with needed educational supplies. When you order, the supplies will be shipped directly to us. You order, and we'll handle the rest!

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Education Structure in Ghana - Part 2

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Education Structure in Ghana - Part 2

This is part 2 in a 3-part series on the education system in Ghana, and goals of The Move Project Academy. 

In Part 1 we outlined how the education system is structured in Ghana. 

It is important to understand that our focus is to work in and around Tsipasi, for the long term, rather than branching out in regions throughout Ghana. Our goal is, to borrow the phrase, to go a mile deep and an inch wide, in order to have a lasting and sustained impact on the children in the area. To help explain why, we'll now turn our attention to some education statistics and how TMP Academy was created to help fill the gap.

TMP Academy is located in Tsipasi, Ghana which is in the Ningo-Prampram District of the Greater Accra Region. 

Statistics

As of the last national reporting data (2014/2015 school year - sources below), here are a few enrollment statistics for the Greater Accra Region:

  • Creche/Nursery (Pre-school)
    • Only about 16% of children are enrolled in school
    • Greater than the National average of 10.9%
  • KG (Kindergarten)
    • Only about 43% of age equivalent children are enrolled, of which roughly 69% pass
    • Less than the National average by nearly half - 82.7%
  • Primary (Elementary grades)
    • About 75% of age equivalent children are enrolled, of which roughly 59% pass
    • Less than the National average of 91%
    • The Greater Accra Region currently has the lowest Primary enrollment rate of any region in Ghana

The current Teacher to Pupil ration is currently 1/32. TMP Academy will begin with a 1/20 ratio to ensure a successful learning environment. Keeping class sizes manageable will also help us see where we need to make improvements or where things are working well in order to scale when we're ready. 

TMP Academy Plan 

Our plan is to begin every child at the Primary grade curriculum that is best for them based on an assessment that will be administered by our Headmaster. Once school is up and running the children will advance according to the standards set by the Ghana Education System. 

As TMP Academy is launching with Creche through Primary grades, we will support the children that graduate out of Primary and are accepted into Secondary School, and on to University.

When the day comes that our students begin graduating out of Primary school and are accepted into Secondary school, The Move Project will support them with tuition and transportation assistance, the two main factors in keeping children from advancing. The nearest Secondary school is located about 5km (3.1 miles) away in the town of Dawa. The Move Project will begin a strategic relationship with that school to help create opportunities for our students.

Our future vision is to continue expanding TMP Academy and develop a Secondary school in Tsipasi. There are many additional benefits to having a Secondary school in Tsipasi beyond the educational aspect, but we'll get to that in the third part of this blog series.

English

The Move Project Academy will teach all classes in English which follows the standard in Ghana. One of the main ways people learn English and if they don't have access to school, they don't have access to learning English which is vital to livelihood in the market and communicating with other communities. Because access to education has been non-existent in Tsipasi, we're also using TMP Academy for adult English courses. This will enable them to successfully operate small business, sell in the marketplace, and work with markets and/or distributors in selling their crops. More on that HERE .

Sources

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Education Structure in Ghana - Part 1

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Education Structure in Ghana - Part 1

This is part 1 in a series of three posts to outline the current education structure in Ghana. In this series, we will break down the Ghanaian education system and outline how The Move Project Academy will impact that current state for the good of the children we serve in Tsipasi and the surrounding villages.

Although the education system in Ghana is comparable to the United States, there are a few significant differences to note. 

The general education structure in Ghana operates on a 6-3-3-4 system:

  • Primary School - 6 Years
    • (U.S. Equivalent - Grades 1-6)
  • Junior Secondary/High School - 3 Years
    • (U.S. Equivalent - Grades 7-9)
    • Following the completion of grade 9, students write exams to gain entry into Senior Secondary School
  • Senior Secondary School - 3 years
    • (U.S. Equivalent - Grades 10-12,)

Our immediate plan for TMP Academy isto establish a Primary School, serving approximately 120 children from ages 6-14.  

We will also use a separate structure to begin educating children in our pre-school and KG/Nursery (Kindergarten in the United States) education

Educational Structure in Ghana - Image from Wikipedia

Educational Structure in Ghana - Image from Wikipedia

Not every child continues their education beyond Junior Secondary. In order to gain admittance into Senior Secondary School, students must take the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). Continuing education is highly competitive and only a small amount of the total student population (roughly 150,000 nationally) gains entrance annually.

Tsipasi has had only 7 children graduate into Junior or Senior Secondary education and 0 have gone on to University. The Move Project Academy will lay the foundation for students to pass teh BECE and have the opportunity to pursue enroll in a Junior Secondary School, and beyond. 

Part 2 will explore education at National level as well as within the Region and District in which TMP Academy will be part. Academy will have in Tsipasi.

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Adult Education Classes at TMP Academy

As we put the finishing touches on The Move Project Academy, it's important to clarify that the school will not only be for the community's children. We will also be using the school for adult education classes. Our first offering will be an English class for 25 adults in Tsipasi. Here's why we're starting with English classes:

English and The Market

When TMP first began working with the leaders in Tsipasi, they presented us with their most pressing needs.

The number one issue was lack of access to clean water. This affected the entire village because without a clean water resource, the community had to draw water out of a trench shared with livestock. To meet the need, we installed a well and Tsipasi now has a sustainable clean water source.

The second issue facing the community was lack of education. Tsipasi did not have a formal school and the children had to walk for miles to get to the nearest school. Since Tsipasi is in a remote area, this made travel difficult and resulted in most of the children foregoing an education.

The third issue noted was a method to get crops to market more efficiently and effectively, overcoming the difficulties in transportation. Forced to sell through a wholesaler that comes to the village, the farmers are barely able to sustain themselves. Even if farmers were able to get their produce to market, they would be met with a significant challenges, as English is the common spoken language spoken in the market. 

As we met with the women of the village to hear about their specific needs we heard a common theme. They wanted to learn a trade they could turn into a small business to help sustain the family outside of the planting and harvesting times. Entrepreneurship also requires you to speak English in order to sell your goods at the market.

In the area around Tsipasi, you only know how to speak English if you go to school. Another reason we must provide access to quality education for the children, which will help break the cycle of poverty.  This is why our next move after water, was to create The Move Project Academy.

TMP Academy

In its initial stage, TMP Academy will offer schooling for Creche (pre-school) through grade 6, along with English classes for adults. Our vision for a multi-purpose school coming into focus.

With additional future financing, The Move Project Academy will expand our offerings to include secondary education (Middle School), which would require building a secondary school in Tsipasi. This will expand the access to education not only for the children of Tsipasi, but for the children in the surrounding area.

In Ghana, secondary schools are less numerous than primary schools. As a result, children stay at the school through the entire session, making them boarding schools as well. Having a secondary school in Tsipasi will have a positive impact not only in education, but the local economy as well by creating more jobs. Until we are able to build a secondary school, we will support children to qualify to continue to secondary school by way of tuition scholarships.

Soap Making

The Move Project is also hosting a training program to teach Women of the community soap making, which is a huge need in the area and a skill that can immediately be turned into a small business creating access into the marketplace. Our first class will be 25 people and done along with the English program. The training program will also include courses on small business management. These two items in concert will enable the Women to start their own business. This is all happening at TMP Academy!

This will all begin in the next two weeks. We are only able to do this through generous contributions received by individual donors.

Here is a breakdown of the cost of these programs. You'll be surprised at how little it takes to change the future!

  • Feeding Program: $875/month to feed 120 children
  • Adult English Classes: $315/course to educate & provide materials for 25 adults
  • Soap Making & Small Biz Mgmt Courses: $300/class to provide training &materials for 25 adults

100% of your contributions go directly to supporting the projects outlined above. Donate today at themoveproject.org/donate

 

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Staff Development - Innovations for Poverty Action Event

In the midst of creating The Move Project academy and all the things we're doing to provide a structured learning environment- fundraising, construction, purchasing of materials, etc. - how we develop our staff is a critical area of focus. Our goal is to provide continued educational opportunities for the staff of TMP Academy so they can be at their best. Not only do we look for teachers who will be a great fit for the Academy, be a proponent of Education within the community, and those with a passion serving the children to light the way to tomorrow.

We want teachers who have a desire to continue growing themselves. 

Part of the Academy's budget will be dedicated to continued educational development of our staff. This idea may be commonplace here in the United States, but access to these types of programs is far more difficult in Ghana. Not to mention with Tsipasi being as remote as it is, these types of programs also become cost prohibitive for teachers. In the future, we will bring these educational opportunities to Tsipasi for our staff but for now we have begun planning to send them to Accra for additional learning events. 

The first such event took place on October 10th. Innovations for Poverty Action in Ghana held a Dissemination event on early childhood education research findings. Our team was invited to participate and learn about IPA's Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training work as well as Quality Preschool for Ghana findings they have complied after extensive research. TMP Academy was particularly excited about attending this event as we will focus and invest heavily in our preschool and KG (Kindergarten) classes. This is due, in large part, to the fact that nearly all children in Tsipasi have not received a formal education, thus requiring us to begin their educational experience at the most basic level and build from there. 

Gaining this invaluable knowledge is another way to build towards a successful future.

For more information on Innovations for Poverty Action and the work they are doing in Ghana to inform schools like ours, visit their website at https://www.poverty-action.org.

To see their Ghana specific work, click HERE.

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World Teachers' Day!

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World Teachers' Day!

In honor of World Teachers' Day, we wanted to provide a more detailed introduction to Jerron, the Headmaster of The Move Project Academy in Tsipasi, Ghana.

Jerron was our very first hire, and he started with The Move Project on August 15th. Since then, he has been hard at work laying the groundwork for the Academy and the future success of its students in Tsipasi and the neighboring communities. Jerron is from Accra, which is the capital of Ghana. He will soon be moving to Dawa which is the nearest junction to Tsipasi, as there is no available housing within the immediate village. Being from Accra, we felt it important for him to make regular trips to Tsipasi in order to get to know the community and the families who will soon be enrolling their children at TMP Academy.  

Jerron has been warmly welcomed by the community of Tsipasi while making regular trips to village. His visits are to meet with parents, establish the importance of education, gather information on our prospective student population, and assess the educational needs of the children. All of this is being done in an effort to ensure TMP Academy is providing educational structure and opportunities that are needed by the village.

Until now, most all of the children, as well as the adults, have not received any formal education, and we are strategically addressing a few challenges as a result: 

  • Clearly understanding the needs of the community and students before opening the school.
  • Working with the adults to learn English andsharing tools so they can assist their children in the academic work at home.
  • Ensuring proper placement of the students in the appropriate class (grade). 

Jerron is working on each of these items and is making progress in preparation for the school's opening.

We are grateful for Jerron and his work to make educational endeavors in Tsipasi a success and we look forward to hiring more teachers in the near future. As we do, you'll get to meet the staff.

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International Literacy Day 2017

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International Literacy Day 2017

September 9th is globally recognized as International Literacy Day and we are thrilled to participate with the global initiative this year in Tsipasi! UNESCO established this day for observation back in 1965. It's aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities, and societies.

It is estimated that some 775 Million adults lack minimum literacy skills and nearly 60 million children are not in school. According to UNESCO's 2006 report "Global Monitoring Report on Education for All", the literacy rate in sub-Saharan Africa, of which Ghana is a part, is 59.7%. As of 2010, Ghana's adult literacy rate is 71.5% (rate among adult Women is 65.29%) and literacy among youth is 85.72%.

The community of Tsipasi has never before had access to education and due to this, the literacy rate within the village is lower than that of the National averages. We look to change that with the creation and work of The Move Project Academy. We understand that both adult and youth literacy is key to lessening the impacts of poverty and this concept has been proven out in various countries all over the world. To this end, we will be launching a two pronged approach to address illiteracy within the community. First, we will create an adult English education project to address illiteracy within the adult population. This education will enable adults within the community to have the freedom experienced with reading. It will also improve their ability to sell in the market and encourage their children to pursue learning. Reading benefits all!

Secondly, literacy will be a key element within the classes in each grade at the Academy. We believe early access to reading will reap wonderful benefits as the children progress throughout their learning journey. 

Our Headmaster, Jerron, has scheduled a reading day with the children of Tsipasi to participate in International Literacy Day. He has been hard at work talking with the adults and children about the importance of education and how The Move Project Academy will work to serve the educational needs of Tsipasi. 

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TMP Academy Update: Phase 1 Complete!

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TMP Academy Update: Phase 1 Complete!

We have structured The Move Project Academy project into three phases. The first phase is construction of the school building, the second phase is the furnish the school, purchase curriculum and uniforms, and the third phase is to hire the teachers and have their salary funded for at least one year in advance. 

We are so thrilled to announce that Phase 1 of TMP Academy has been completed! The money has been sent and the construction crew is putting on the finishing touches. The school will be painted within the next two weeks and we look forward to sharing more pictures with you soon, including the completed building!


Following the installation of a water well to provide the community with access to clean water, education was noted as the next most urgent need. After meeting with the community leaders, we began planning a strategy around education, raising funds, and working with the community leaders in Tsipasi to begin planning what will now be The Move Project Academy. The construction phase has taken a while, but we know with the energy and effort put into the foundation of the school, quality education will be a lasting reality for the children of Tsipasi.

As we neared the completion of the construction phase, we set out to hire a Headmaster who will oversee the teachers and staff at the Academy. As we announced HERE , we found Jerron who will serve as TMP Academy's first ever Headmaster.

Phase 2 will consist of furnishing the school with desks and chairs, purchasing uniforms for the children, and buying the syllabus and curriculum to be used in each class. The total cost of this phase will be $7,376.50 and is broken down here:

  • Furniture (Desks/Chairs, Cupboards):$3,996
  • Curriculum, Syllabus and Textbooks (students & teachers): $2,226
  • Uniforms (120): $1,080
  • Instructor Materials (7): $74.50

You can see the complete line-item budget of TMP Academy here, and also help purchase supplies off of the supply needs list here

If you've contributed financially, we thank you for partnering with us and the community of Tsipasi as we look to bring quality education through the Academy. 

Would you take one more step and share this message with your friends and family? It takes a village! 

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ANNOUNCEMENT: TMP Academy Headmaster Hired

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ANNOUNCEMENT: TMP Academy Headmaster Hired

The Move Project Academy has officially hired a Headmaster! John Jerron-Quarshie, who goes by Jerron, was hired on Aug. 15th and has already begun working hard to prepare the school for the grand opening.

Throughout the construction phase (Phase 1) of the TMP Academy project we were conducting a search for the school's headmaster. We are thrilled to have found Jerron. Nick Mahlstadt, TMP co-founder, met with Jerron during a visit to Tsipasi in June, and conducted an onsite interview. Once returning to the States, he then completed the hiring process and officially brought Jerron on board. 

By September, all construction will be completed and we will move to Phase 2 which is to raise funds and purchase furniture, uniforms, and curriculum. In this phase, we will be purchasing desks, chairs, cupboards for material and supply storage, uniforms for the students, and curriculum they will use to begin their education journey at TMP Academy. 

Jerron has already begun to work with Ghana's Ministry of Education to obtain the proper syllabus and curriculum for each grade. As we work to complete Phase 2 in preparation for the school's grand opening, Jerron will be conducting English classes for the adult community members in Tsipasi. Most of the community has not been formally educated and didn't learn speak English. This is especially important for conducting business and trade in the market, as the common language used when many native dialects are present is English.

We are thrilled to announce this milestone as we continue to make access to education a reality in Tsipasi. While the school may not officially be open yet, education is still top priority and English classes is how we'll start. 

Together, we are helping the community of Tsipasi create a new reality for themselves and the coming generation. 

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New Year - New Site Content!

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New Year - New Site Content!

With the new year now in full swing, we are working hard at adding new content to our website and we're pleased to roll out our brand new Water pages! It is important that we continue to roll out new content to communicate what we're up to and how you can get involved. Water has been, and will continue to be, our main entry point into villages like Tsipasi and has been the catalyst to our working partnership with that village. The lack of access to clean water in Ghana and around the world is astonishing and is the number one felt need in the communities we work. 

Along with the project work to provide access to clean water, The Water Ride continues to grow year after year. The Water Ride is our signature annual event to raise both awareness and funds for our work in Ghana and we've had a blast with it! Leading up to the 2016 event, we published a few stories titled "WHY I RIDE" and it was a huge hit. These stories came from riders both past and present who shared the reason they participate in The Water Ride. This year, we will be releasing one WHY I RIDE post every month so make sure to check the website and follow us on social media so you never miss a story. As we began to look forward into 2017 we felt it was a perfect time to expand our website content to better articulate both what we're doing and how we're doing it.

So, we're pleased to present THEMOVEPROJECT.ORG/WATER! Within this new landing page you'll be able to explore:      

  • Why Water?
  • Register for future Water Ride events
  • View event pictures
  • Read 'WHY I RIDE' posts

We will continue to add new content so check back often. While you're on the site, check out ways you can get involved this year as well.

Go explore!

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Year End Giving - One Final Push for 2016

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Year End Giving - One Final Push for 2016

As the sun begins to set on 2016, we've taken a moment to reflect on all that has occurred over the last twelve months and what a year it's been! Our signature event, The Water Ride, was a huge success and the largest we've had to date. We were able to visit our friends in Tsipasi and you can be sure the message was relayed to them that we are all still with them. We let them know that YOU are still with them by participating, donating, engaging, spreading the word, and giving your time and voice to help improve their station. As you can imagine, the smiles were everywhere! They are eternally grateful for all you have done.

At the beginning of December a call to action was put out to help push the construction project to completion and you responded! A more formal announcement will be coming soon, but you all responded in a mighty way! As construction nears completion we have the honor of beginning to put phase two in place which is the outfitting of the school with supplies, desks, chairs as well as begin the hiring process of our faculty. More on this in the coming days.

As you consider your year end gift giving, TMP would be honored to be included in those plans. Donating is simple and 100% of your donations go directly to our projects. No one here gets paid, we have no office space, and all work is done on a voluntary basis or covered via specific sponsorship. While this makes the work slow going it has been part of the plan since day 1. We've structured this way to ensure that all of your hard earned dollars go directly to impacting those we're serving. 

Click HERE to donate today and thank you for your continued support!

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SO CLOSE!!

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SO CLOSE!!

We are so excited to let you know that between Thanksgiving and Giving Tuesday, we have received over $1,500 in donations to The Move Project Academy. That means we are only $500 away from being able to complete the construction of the school! This is huge!

Thank you to all who have stepped forward and backed this school, we are forever grateful! Share the news far and wide and encourage your circle of friends and family to jump on board.

Let's get the final $500 by the end of the week. Deal?!

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#GivingTuesday Selfie!

As we approach Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and #GivingTuesday we thought it would be fun to take a break from all the madness and snap some selfies! Between now and Giving Tuesday, November 29th, share your selfie support with your friends and family.

Join in by:

  1. printing a #TMPGives sign and write why you give of your time, talent, and resources.
  2. Take a selfie and share it on social media using #TMPGives
  3. encourage your friends and family to get involved as well

You can find us on Instagram @The_Move_Project 

Say Cheese!!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

As I look forward to Thanksgiving this week, I can't help but reflect and be grateful for how you have supported The Move Project through the years. It is easy to get caught up in the seemingly mundane project work, worrying if we're proceeding too slowly, if our neighbors in Tsipasi fully understand how committed we are as we chip away at the needs on their behalf. I'd love for all the money to be here, right now, but if that were to happen the journey would look different and it wouldn't include most of you. So, for that, I'm truly thankful for all of you. Some have been involved since TMP's inception and others have joined along the way and we couldn't have done anything without each of you. 

I've met some of you on the street and I've meet hundreds of you at The Water Ride. It's truly amazing to look back and see how our paths has crossed. The vision behind TMP is always to include as many people as we can to see what we can accomplish together. It's been clear from the start that this work takes a village and you've shown up. You've answered the call. Over the years you have shown up at the homeless shelter to serve those less fortunate. You have installed water wells to provide access to clean water for two communities that had never had access before. You are now in the middle of building a primary school for nearly 200 children so they can learn in a safe and productive environment. You're doing this and for that I'm thankful. 

May you go in peace this Thanksgiving holiday and take a moment to reflect on all there is to be thankful for.

-Nick

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The Water Ride 2016 Event Recap

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The Water Ride 2016 Event Recap

The Water Ride 2016 is in the books and the event was a blast! This year was our best event to date as we doubled our rider participation to a total of 102 and we raised just over $2,700. This year's event proceeds will be going directly to the construction of The Move Project Academy in Tsipasi, Ghana. We would like to thank each and every rider who participated and our event Sponsor, Des Moines Water Works. Without the partnerships and rider engagement, this event would still be just floating around as a dream. You all made this into a reality and because of that, over 200 children will receive a quality education! 

As I'm sure you've heard us say before, we are invested in the community of Tsipasi and events like this enable our work to continue. The children will have access to education that hasn't before existed, and the adults are seeing the lives of their children be changed. 

We are already beginning to prepare for the 2017 ride and we'd love to have you along. We are looking for a few people with a passion for event planning and cycling. If that is you, email me at Nick@themoveproject.org.

Cheers!  

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From Cycling to Education

As Nelson Mandela says, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

Education is an investment and is the most critical investment that we can make. Around the globe, over 61 million children are out of school and over half of these children do not have the opportunity to attend school due to harsh living conditions.

Education is the key to reducing poverty, preventing needless deaths and illnesses, and fostering peace within our communities and our world. Education is something so many of use take for granted; as it is something we are so accustomed to. Growing up in America, it is normal to attend primary school. It is normal for parents to sit down with their children and teach them how to read, write, and count. In villages like Tsipasi, education has not historically been available.

Until now.

We have the opportunity to give the gift of education to over 150 children in the Tsipasi community!

In order to complete the construction of The Move Project Academy, which will serve all primary grade levels, we need to raise $8,500. Our goal is to have the funds raised and construction completed by the end of the year so we can open TMP Academy's doors when the children return from Winter break.

The support we have received from the villagers of Tsipasi has been incredible. Nick (TMP co-founder) visited Tsipasi two weeks ago and during his visit the village presented a fundraising idea they could participate in. Watermelon is a huge crop for Tsipasi from June - August, Ghana's dry season, and Tsipasi is one of only a handful of communities that are able to grow this crop during this time. Because of this, the demand for watermelon increases dramatically and the market price obviously goes up. With this in mind, Tsipasi will be planting three acres of watermelon and donating back to TMP Academy all the proceeds from those three acres! As you can see, this community is all in!

In efforts to raise the remaining $8,500 here in the Unites States, we are hosting the fourth annual Water Ride. If you sign up today, you can use promo code SUMMERSWEETNESS and save $5 off the cost of registration. Promo code is good for today only and ends at midnight Central time.

The 25-mile bike ride is taking place on August 27th in Des Moines and begins at 1pm at Orlondo's. If you are unable to participate, please consider either making a donation to TMP Academy or sponsor someone who is riding in the event.

You can be the change! Help us end the cycle of poverty today by registering for The Water Ride.

A BIG THANK YOU goes out to our signature sponsor, Des Moines Water Works! 100% of the proceeds from this event will go to our education work in Tsipasi and we couldn't do that without their partnership!

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Summer Trips to Ghana

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Summer Trips to Ghana

This Summer, we were able to take two trips to Ghana. We took the first trip in July and spent some time checking on The Move Project Academy school building project.

We are thrilled with how this project is moving along. The building looks great and the crew is hard at work to make sure TMP Academy is ready as soon as possible for the children of Tsipasi. As the construction progresses, we continue to spend time with members of the village in an effort to form long lasting relationships. It is important to us that we stand along side those we serve, getting to know them as people and forming bonds that will last a lifetime. It is in these moments that we get the most joy and consider ourselves so fortunate to take part in this restorative work...and it couldn't happen without you! The Move Project and the people of Tsipasi thank you for your support. 

We followed the site visit with a meeting with women of the village. It quickly became clear the village has some very engaging women leaders.

Tsipasi relies fully on agriculture as its livelihood which keeps everyone busy with the tasks associated with farming their land. In the dry season, however, it is a different story. Without crops to plant, tend to, and harvest, the women of Tsipasi are left without a trade.

That is where TMP will come in. The community expressed a desire to learn entrepreneurial skills that will benefit their families and launch small businesses. We will be working to empower the women of Tsipasi which will further the vision of helping this community alleviate poverty. More to come on these programs as they take shape over the course of this next year.

A little over a month later, we returned as part of a larger group trip to Ghana. TMP partnered with two other non-profit organizations working in Ghana, Acts 2 Collective and AgriHope.

AgriHope is an organization that trains farmers to increase their yields using sustainable farming practices. AgriHope and The Move Project have partnered to bring this training to Tsipasi. To kick off our second trip, representatives from AgriHope reviewed a plan to use the 1-2 acre plot the community donated to TMP Academy to support the school's meal program. The plot of land will be used to train farmers using proven, sustainable farming practices. They will then be able to take their training and apply it to their plots of land. By using the learned practices, the farmers of Tsipasi will be able to achieve better yields which will be one more step on the path to full sustainability as a community. There is a lot of excitement stirring in Tsipasi and this next year will prove to be full of growth and development. 

First things first, however, let's get that school built and ready for the kids. We are roughly half-way to completion, will you join us and donate today?

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Education Structure in Ghana - Introduction

As we continue to progress through our largest project yet, The Move Project Academy, we'll not only be sharing updates on that progress but will also communicate how the education system works in Ghana. Although it is comparable to the United States, there are a few significant differences. Over the course of the next three blog posts we'll break down the Ghanaian education system into two parts and the third post will outline the current state of education with a focus on rural education. We will outline how The Move Project Academy will impact that current state for the good of the children we serve in Tsipasi and surrounding villages.

As we've mentioned before, we fully anticipate educating more children than live in Tsipasi once the school is fully functional. Quality education is extremely difficult to find in these rural villages and cost also plays a factor in lack of attendance. The Move Project Academy will work to remedy both of these factors to ensure a quality education for these children. Our immediate plans however factor in roughly 167 school aged children from ages 3-14 yrs old. Our school plans will accommodate grades 1 - 6 and we will utilize the existing structure to develop our KG/Nursery Class, which equates to Kindergarten here in the United States.

The general education structure in Ghana operates on a 6-3-4-4 system:

  • Primary School - 6 Years
    • (U.S. Equivalent - Grades 1-6)
  • Junior Secondary/High School - 3 Years
    • (U.S. Equivalent - Grades 7-9)
    • Following the completion of grade 9, students write exams to gain entry into Senior Secondary School
  • Senior Secondary School - 4 years
    • (U.S. Equivalent - Grades 10-12, +1)

Not every child continues their education beyond Junior Secondary/High School. In order to gain admittance into Senior Secondary School the students must take the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). Continuing education is highly competitive and only a small amount of the total student population (roughly 150,000 nationally) gains entrance annually. 

Our next post will dive into Primary School in Ghana and continue to shed light on the vision and impact we expect The Move Project Academy will have in Tsipasi.

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