Joyce, an EDS beneficiary shares her experiences of the Covid 19 pandemic
Background: On the 16th of March 2020, schools in Ghana were closed indefinitely to curb the spread of covid-19. On the 15th of June 2020 the gradual reopening of schools commenced with final year students returning to school to prepare for their final examinations in September and October 2020. On the 5th of October 2020 second year students in Junior and senior high schools returned to school to complete their academic year. Total reopening of schools commenced on the 15th of January 2021 with strict adherence to Covid 19 safety protocols like hand washing, social distancing and mandatory wearing of face masks. In order ensure the enforcement of these protocols in every school, the government provided hand washing materials like Veronica buckets, soap, hand sanitizers, paper tissues and reusable facemasks for all students and staff.
Joyce Anku a junior high school EDS beneficiary in final year at Bakatsir Basic School, Cape Coast, shares some of her experiences during the period of closure of schools as a result of the pandemic.
Interviewer: How did you feel when you were asked to go home indefinitely as a result of the Pandemic?
Joyce: I was not happy because l had to run errands for the whole period spent at home, so l could not study.
Interviewer: What exactly were you doing at home during this period?
Joyce: I was helping my mother trade, l had to peddle to sell salmon fish at the market every day except Sundays.
Interviewer: Did you have a study plan or study materials to learn at home during this period?
Joyce: Yes l had a couple of textbooks which l studied in the evenings.
Interviewer: Did your school give you reading assignments and materials to learn at home during that period?
Joyce: No, non-such were given to us.
Interviewer: Were you in touch with your teachers to get their help for your academic progress?
Joyce: No l was not in touch with my teachers.
Interviewer: What do you think are the negative effect of the pandemic on your academic progress?
Joyce: I did not have time to study, l studied only in the evenings and there are many lessons from the previous academic year which we are still yet to cover in school.
Interviewer: What safety protocols do you observe in school to protect yourselves from the pandemic? Which of these protocols do you also observe outside school?
Joyce: In school there is regular washing of hands, regular use of hand sanitizers, the use of face masks and maintaining social distancing both in and out of class. Outside school l follow some of the safety protocols but l don’t wear the face masks.
Interviewer: Why don’t you wear the face mask outside school?
Joyce: (laughs and gives no answer)
Interviewer: Do you think it is okay for you to return to school whilst the pandemic is still prevalent?
Joyce: Yes because we can protect ourselves whilst in school studying when we keep the safety protocols and so far there has been no recorded cases in our school, which l believe is due to the strict adherence to the safety protocols.
Interviewer: How are you making up for the lost study time?
Joyce: Since schools were reopened l am always in school so l no longer sell at the market during weekdays, and l now have enough time to study after school too.
Interviewer: Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
Joyce: You are welcome.
Commissioning Of Polytanks (Water Storing Facilities)
The chief and elders of the Esuekyir community in the Winneba area, an important town in the Central Region of Ghana have been privileged to receive four water storing facilities (polytanks) in their community. Some time back last year, the chief and elders made a passionate appeal to BHA to provide two major facilities which the community was in dire need of, namely, water storage facilities and public toilet facility. BHA promised to solicit support for the projects to enable it assist the people. With the help of friends and sponsors – Ghana Freindeskreis, the facility has been provided. Four polytanks have been provided for the people at four different spots in the community. The main community has been divided into four suburbs and each of the suburb has received one polytank. The water storage facilities become necessary for the community because they have been experiencing water shortages over the period. The water supply has not been regular in the community, as a result, they had been going through a lot of difficulties whenever the water supply cease. In order to deal with the situation, the polytanks had to be provided and BHA with the support of its sponsors have been able to provide the facilities.
On the 23rd of February 2021, the commissioning of the polytanks was done to formerly hand over the facilities to the people of Esuekyir. BHA was represented by Teye Kodzi, BHA Project Coordinator and Raphael Kyei, Field Coordinator. The commissioning tape was cut by the chief of Esuekyir and Raphael of BHA to formerly hand over the facilities to the people. In a short speech, Teye Kodzi thanked the Director of BHA Mr. Ben Turkson, the sponsors and all the staff of BHA especially Raphael Kyei for his day to day supervisory work that ensured that the project became a success. He also encouraged the people to take good care of the facilities so that they may serve the purpose for which they were provided. The chief and elders of Esuekyir were full of praise for BHA and promised to take good care of the facilities. They also reminded the BHA representatives of the second project which is the toilet facility.