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Ghana

International Women's Day 2018

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International Women's Day 2018

In honor of International Women's Day, which is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, we would like to honor the women of The Move Project.

Selina, Angelina, and Rebecca make each day special for the children they educate. These ladies are relentless in their pursuit of education and inspire the young people of TMP Academy to dream, learn, and take their education seriously. They invest themselves in the lives of the children and it is because of their effort, love, and ability that the students of TMP Academy will thrive.

We believe gender parity is key to a successful mission, school, and community, and we will continue to commit to equal representation in our work. No one should be refused a job or access to education because of their gender and we've committed to the community to Tsipasi to do what we can to improve access to both of these things. 

Today we celebrate the women of The Move Project and female achievement and advancement all over the world! 

To read more about the celebration of International Women's Day, click here.

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Ghana Trip with Drake Univ.

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Ghana Trip with Drake Univ.

TMP was honored to host Drake University students on their J-Term this past week. We explored education at TMP Academy and discussed what the future holds for Tsipasi which is centered around educational opportunities for children and adults. The group also participated in a job skill training course which will be used to launch a micro-finance opportunity for the adults in the community. With the extra sets of hands, the new kitchen structure received a new paint job and is now ready to have the food and supplies moved in! That was just day one and we traveled to two other communities through the week to provide a full cultural immersive experience. The team was able to get a great view into daily Ghanaian life in various settings throughout the trip.

We love sharing what we're doing up close an personal with people and we're constantly amazed at the discussion, insight, and ideas that come out of trips like this. Our eyes are opened and understanding broadened when we choose to experience people in lands and cultures not our own. 

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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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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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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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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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Water Ride Event Re-Cap

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Water Ride Event Re-Cap

This past Saturday, we held our third annual Water Ride. We are thrilled to hold this event every year and we thank everyone who participated to make the event a success!

A very special THANK YOU to our signature sponsor,  Des Moines Water Works. They have been a trusted partner for all three years and for that we are truly grateful!

It is because of partnerships like this that allow us to send 100% of the proceeds from this event, and all previous rides, directly to our ongoing efforts in Ghana. The Water Ride began as a ride to raise funds and awareness for the clean water crisis impacting the villages we have partnered with in Ghana.

These villages, Tsipasi and Korpehem, had never had access to clean water prior to 2014 when we were fortunate enough to install three wells in total.  As this event continues to grow, so do the opportunities to make a profound impact in the lives the the villagers we serve.

As we've mentioned before, we have begun constructing The Move Project Academy to educate nearly 200 children in Tsipasi and surrounding villages. Now that they have access to clean water the next need was education. Through events like The Water Ride, we have begun to transform the future of these villagers.

This year's event saw over 35 riders raise more than $1,180! To date, The Water Ride alone has raised over $22,500! What an impact! Check out our Instagram page (@The_Move_Project) to see photos from the event. We look forward to seeing you on an upcoming ride!

 

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Indoor Water Ride - A Success!

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Indoor Water Ride - A Success!

The mission of The Move Project is to pursue holistic poverty alleviation one project at a time.

Our strategy is to create repeatable, sustainable projects that are realized through community engagement.

Our goal is to raise awareness and present opportunities for others to join the pursuit of poverty alleviation through a clear call to action.

To this end, we host annual bike rides for clean water, both indoor and outdoor. We have partnered with the Indianola YMCA to bring our signature event, The Water Ride, indoors. Our latest Indoor Water Ride, held on Saturday, April 11th was a huge success! We saw 77 people jump on a stationary bikes and pedal for clean water, raising just over $2,100!! Because of our generous sponsors, 100% of all event proceeds from The Water Ride (both indoor and outdoor) go directly to our ongoing projects in Ghana, West Africa.

Since the Water Ride's inception, we have had over 370 people participate and a total of $21,353.47 has been raised, and we've installed three wells to provide access to clean water for villages that have NEVER had access!

We couldn't be more thrilled about this progress and we have YOU to thank! We are so grateful for your participation over the years and we look forward to seeing you at an upcoming ride.

If you haven't ridden in a Water Ride event yet, don't worry. We have our annual outdoor event coming up on Saturday, May 16th and we would love to have you ride. Click the Register Now button below to purchase your ticket today.

If you aren't local to Des Moines or aren't available but still want to participate, you can give using the "Donation" ticket! 

Eventbrite - The Water Ride

Educational opportunities will be presented to inform riders on the need and  importance of clean water as well as the water projects we are currently working on and are planning for the future.

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How The Water Ride Began

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How The Water Ride Began

With our second annual Indoor Water Ride on Saturday, April 11th quickly approaching. And with our third annual Outdoor Water Ride coming into focus we thought we'd take a moment and let you know how this all came to be.

A post from Emily Boyd, co-founder of The Water Ride:

"In 2012 I journeyed across the country on a bicycle. During the ride, our group was raising money for clean water in Kenya. Every time I wanted to give up I kept pedaling because I knew that someone in Kenya was suffering way more than me and all I had to do was turn my legs round and round and round.

I came back from that trip completely & utterly changed. I was so empowered to continue serving our friends who don't get to go to school because they're fetching water, so I started a bike ride. It was one of those ... "it would be so cool if I could host a bike ride in Des Moines" ... and at a nonprofit fair at Simpson College, I connected with Sam and Nick from The Move Project. I mentioned my idea and we met to discuss. It was the perfect partnership as our passions and vision both lined up. We shared our story with Des Moines Water Works Park and they committed to financially supporting our ride, and have now been our Corporate sponsor for three years in a row! We pulled together a team of friends and committed do-gooders and made the ride a reality.

Since May 11, 2013, The Water Ride has hosted four different rides, raising over $19,000. Three wells have been installed in Ghana and now funds are being raised to build a school. We are hosting The Water Ride on May 16 (and our Indoor Water Ride on April 11!) and my hope is that this becomes bigger and better every year. Putting your ideas out into this world is a beautiful and dangerous thing."

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