Visuals for Gender’s “Data for Gender-based Advocacy” project is still running since its commencement last year. The project is being sponsored by the US Embassy Ghana. Last year Visuals for Gender successfully trained 300 girls from Junior High Schools in the La Nkwatanag Madina Municipal Assembly as well as 20 staff of CSOs and 10 journalists. The purpose of the training programs was to educate these girls on the realities of sexual abuse and empowering them to become great women in the future. Journalists and the staff of CSOs/NGOs were also given in-depth training on how to incorporate data analysis and visualizations in their advocacy and news reporting.
As part of the project, our target was to train teachers from various schools in the Assembly. This year, we organized training sessions for these teachers in the month of February. We trained 87 teachers in total. The training sessions were held on three separate days so the teachers came in batches. The training dates were 5th, 7th and 12th February.
Many teachers have not been adequately prepared to deal with the complex Social and Psychological issues that have wrongly affected abused children. Our goal is to give these teachers knowledge about abuse, describe possible interventions and communicate an understanding of the emotional issues involved. Therefore, the training program focused on:
- What child abuse is, the various forms and how to identify children who are being abused.
- Equipping them with the requisite skills in dealing with their pupils who are vulnerable to sexual abuse.
The training was carried out in five sessions for the three days. The first session was facilitated by Florence Toffa (Director of Mobile Web Ghana). She spoke on the topic “Data Visualization and the role of Teachers”. She gave a statistical breakdown of sexual abuse cases reported to the Domestic Violence and Victims’ Support Unit (Headquarters and La Nkwantanang). This gave the teachers knowledge on the forms of sexual abuse which is predominantly happening to children and the need for them to be concerned and take action. She also made them understand their role in ensuring that their students are handled well and also to be able to address issues on sexual abuse.
Present at the training program were two Psychologists who took the teachers through training on how to identify signs of abuse amongst their students and how to tackle such cases if ever a student faces a situation like that. Dr. Dzifa Attah, a Psychologist and lecturer at the University of Ghana together with Miss Dziedziom, a Clinical Psychologist, led these sessions. They highlighted the signs of sexual abuse children display which could aid teachers to take action. The teachers were also made to undertake a self-assessment test on “Self-Esteem and Adverse Childhood Experience”. The purpose was for them to evaluate themselves on their self-esteem and their childhood experience. This is important for them because it will help them to be able to relate with their students properly.
The third session was led by ASP Patience Quaye. She taught on the topic, “Consent and the Law”. She exposed teachers to aspects of the law that protects children who are abused sexually. Her session gave teachers an understanding of how the police work and handle child abuse cases. They were also taught the right procedures for reporting sexual abuse cases amongst children and organizations they can seek help from whenever there is a child abuse case amongst their pupils.
The teachers were given an exercise to do. They were made to come up with an action plan on how they would tackle sexual abuse cases in their various schools. They were put into groups and each group gave a presentation at the end of the day.
Two representatives from the US Embassy Ghana were present at the training on the last day to witness. Alison F. McKee ( Regional Public Engagement Specialist), gave an address on the importance of the training and the need for the teachers to take it seriously.
At the end of every training, teachers were awarded certificates for participating in the workshop. The training was successful and we believe that the teachers have been well equipped to support their students against sexual abuse.