Hi everyone!

My name is Hannah McCollom. I am a volunteer with a US based NGO called Exponential Education in Ghana. I am here with some our students from Antoa Senior High School in Ghana.

The students I have with me are members of our newest program, Boys for Positive Change! Boys for Positive Change (BPC) is our newest pilot program at Expo. With the success of our Girls LEAP, we saw a need for similar mobilization with Senior High School (SHS) aged boys. The mission of BPC is to sensitize boys to recognize social norms underlying gender inequality and empower them to become agents of positive change by challenging these norms.

BPC is an afterschool club for SHS Form 2 boys. They meet once a week and discuss a number of topics which include: • expressing emotions • gender norms underlying inequality • family and relationships • masculinity • violence and gender based violence • community issues

Belief: Domestic violence is an internal, family affair, not a social problem. Fact: It is a social problem: Data from the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) was analysed. Here are the results: • Of the 1524 ever married women in this study, 33.6 % had ever experienced domestic violence. • Risk of domestic violence was 41 % higher for women whose husbands ever experienced their father beating their mother. • Women whose husbands drink alcohol were 2.5 times more likely to experience domestic violence as compared to women whose husbands do not drink alcohol. • Statistics from the Domestic Violence & Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service indicates that at least 17,655 cases of violence against women were reported to them in 2014. • Violence against women and children has many bad consequences that affect society. - It seriously damages women and children mentally and physically. It creates fear and loss of self-esteem. - It leads to the breakdown of families, society and trust between people. - It incurs costs for medical care and loss of ability to work and earn by women. Children take time off from school.

Belief: A man punishes his wife because she gives him cause to do so. He has rights to punish her because he is her superior & the “head of the household”. Fact: If we accept this belief then we accept that: - Men are superior to women, - “Superior” people are allowed to enforce their superiority by using violence. The idea that men are superior to women is not a fact. It is a value judgement. Women and men have different sex roles and their cultures may give them different gender roles. However these roles should be given equal value and women should be equal to men. This idea illustrates that according to tradition, the man is the head of the family so he can “educate” his wife or children even if this education is in fact just violence and not education. If we accept this belief, then we accept the fact that a man has right to use violence to impose his authority.

These are just a couple of the many beliefs in society about gender based violence.

If you'd like to help our organization out, please donate to our fundraising campaign. Any amount helps. All money goes towards our programs: BPC, Girls LEAP, P2P, and LUV. You can donate at https://secure.anedot.com/expoedu/expoedugivingtuesday Link to website: http://www.exponentialeducationprogram.org/

We are the students and staff of Exponential Education in Antoa, Ghana! Ask us Anything!

My Proof: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cZj-mGyZp4INrWmlOSVorNNby6vKjNzY/view?usp=sharing

Update: We have sent the students home and back to the school to eat dinner and get ready for their week! Staff members are still here to answer questions!

Update #2: It is getting late here in Ghana, so I am going to log off now! I will check back in tomorrow to answer any more questions you may have! Keep commenting!

Final update: Thank you all for the response and questions! Again, if you would like to donate to our program, visit https://secure.anedot.com/expoedu/expoedugivingtuesday or Link to website: http://www.exponentialeducationprogram.org/ Have a great day!

Comments: 255 • Responses: 83  • Date: 

hammerthefish118 karma

It's getting to be Christmas time. Is there anything you need we could send you that would actually reach you? Something we take for granted?

Expo_Education131 karma

Hi! That is so kind! As students, our needs are basic. Pens, paper, printing costs, snacks, water, etc. These are also things that are used for our BPC program with Expo! The best way to get these things to us, is to donate to Expo (link in description) and then they provide these items for our program.

Notausschalter109 karma

how much cents actually get to operations of one dollar donated?

Expo_Education7 karma

Hi! That is a very good question! As far as cents to dollars, 100% goes to our programs. I (Hannah) work as the communications manager. The only thing provided to me is a small data/phone stipend every month - 50 Ghana Cedis which is approximately 10.93 USD. This money is used for our website upkeep and social media. I took this position because I am extremely passionate about my work, and it is a great door to create a career in development work. Our other volunteers receive similar stipends. We also cover transportation, some data/phone, and small stipends for our Ghanaian staff as well. Along with those costs, we have the costs of printing materials for our programs, snacks and water for our programs. We also work to take our students to on excursions! This week, our Girls LEAP students will be going to visit KNUST to tour the university and see opportunities to attend university someday soon! In conclusion, all money is spent in country for the purpose of our programs! If you have any more questions, this link gives more information about the use of our funds! http://www.exponentialeducationprogram.org/donate

Yes, I know this is a link to donate, but this page lists the costs of running our programs as well!

HereticalSkeptic2 karma

crickets

I hate to be cynical, but - life experience. How do we know this isn't just a scam to steal money?

Expo_Education2 karma

Hi! I (Hannah) have been cynical as well! I can promise you that it is not a scam. If it makes you feel better, here is our website link: exponentialeducationprogram.org

Here is a link to our facebook page: https://web.facebook.com/ExponentialEducation/

Here is my personal facebook page: https://web.facebook.com/hannah.mccollom

Here is my email address if you want to reach out to me personally: [email protected]

regionjthr90 karma

To the students: what are your aspirations? What do you want to do with your life?

Expo_Education261 karma

Robert: I want to become a very famous engineer or news caster. I want to build my own airplane - I will set the record for the first person to build their own airplane in Ghana. I would also like to be a famous actor because I love acting!

Stephen: I want to be a vibrant politician and a lawyer. I want to be a lawyer because I want to help those who don't have money; if they have cases that no one will solve for them, I will solve it for them.

Bismark: As for me I want to become a famous journalist because I want to entertain and find out some truth about how politicians are governing the country.

regionjthr88 karma

All excellent goals! Best wishes to you all.

Expo_Education52 karma

Thank you so much!

mikejones7234 karma

I don't have any questions but just wanted to say this is awesome!

Expo_Education19 karma

Thank you!

Alpha_God9 karma

Stephen sounds like a great kid!

Expo_Education5 karma

He is!

MegalomaniacMkV74 karma

Are you GHANA answer my question?

Expo_Education124 karma

I would but I have TOGO now!

MegalomaniacMkV38 karma

But it might have BENIN-portant

qtoadcar29 karma

KENYA give us any ideas about what you want to know?

MegalomaniacMkV20 karma

What do SOMALIA do?

Expo_Education57 karma

All of a SUDAN I can't think of any more puns...

Expo_Education14 karma

;) Kidding! How are you today? Any questions about our work?

kreishna59 karma

Sounds like a great program, OP - did you experience any pushback from local parents when starting it?

Expo_Education58 karma

Hello! Thank you for the compliment. Some of us are boarders at the school, so we do not get to talk to our parents about the program. Me, Bismark, I live at home and my parents are okay with the program.

JeanLucDiscord57 karma

Hello from way Northern Canada, like near where Wolverine lived. My wife and I love cooking, but not that silly fancy stuff in cook books, but rustic, simple food. What does a good Sunday dinner look like at your houses?

Expo_Education91 karma

Robert: Rice balls and groundnut soup! Bismark: Fufu and palmnut soup! Stephen: Fufu and light soup!

Hannah: All of these are extremely popular dishes in Ghana! They are so tasty!

abebio44 karma

Ghanaian here...u have good taste 😊

Expo_Education12 karma

Thank you!

JeanLucDiscord14 karma

Okay.... Glutinous rice can make sort of a rice meatball pretty easily. How do you make fufu? Also a Bismarck here is a jelly or custard filled donut!

Expo_Education29 karma

How to make fufu: First, you boil cassava and plantain. Once boiled, you have to pound it into a large "dumpling."

azcalg3 karma

You can also buy powder that you just add water to if you don't have access to some of the ingrediants or are feeling lazy. Here's an example if you're way up north in canada I'm guessing there's not any ethnic grocery stores around, so the more expensive stuff online might be your only option.

If you're still interested in making Ghanaian food you could try making red red which is a stewed black eyed peas dish that goes really well with fried plantains.

Expo_Education2 karma

Red red is soooooooo good!!!!!!!

freytasticgal50 karma

This sounds like a great program! Students- what part of the program has had the most impact on you personally?

Expo_Education90 karma

Robert - Public speaking! Stephen - Being more open with my feelings! Bismark - I feel I can now talk freely about anything!

Moistened_Nugget36 karma

Staff: Do you have any opposition to education within the region? What future prospects do your students gain access to by completing their education?

Students: Why isn't there more demand for better education in your country or region? What do you hope to achieve with your education?

Expo_Education39 karma

Staff: No, we do not have opposition for the programs. We generally receive much support from schools in our region. They are becoming advocates for positive change in their community! They really feel like they are the future leaders in Ghana! Students: There is a demand for education. The challenge has been the resources for better education. This is the gap that Expo is filling. Robert: I hope to become a journalist. Bismark: I also want to become a journalist. Stephen: I want to become a politician.

SoccerMomXena34 karma

For the students, what did you learn growing up about how men are supposed to act? Which of those traits made you feel the most uncomfortable if any?

Expo_Education66 karma

Being brave, tough, strong, never cry, you are the head of the family all of the time, feeding and taking care of the monetary forms for the family. It puts us in a rush as we feel like we have to deliver to our family no matter what the circumstances. When we cry, we feel like people around us are being to critical. We feel like we have to have our emotions in check at all times. (From Charles, Bismark, Stephen, and Robert)

blue_eyed_fox716 karma

I think this is a common burden for men all around the world. In Utah USA where I live, my culture also shames men for having emotions. I think this is so unfair and damaging.

Shame is a tool people use to control other's behavior. You can take your personal power back when you refuse to feel ashamed. (Guilt is productive, shame is destructive). On a large scale I believe humanity doesn't know how to deal with our emotions. Because of this, when someone is vulnerable we can get overwhelmed and don't know what to do. It feels bad and a natural reaction is to push it away by shutting down the person who has the emotion.

One way to change this is to show others that it's safe to have emotions with you. If others are safe to show their emotions with you, you should be safe to share back. By doing this, you have created a safe environment.

Sometimes it can be difficult because you don't know what to do with their emotions. Many times, all that is needed is someone to witness the difficult emotion and know what they are going through. Someone else's emotions are not your responsibility. By offering a listening ear you have no obligation to fix it or help the person. You may choose to do so, but know that it is voluntary and you can establish your boundaries at any time.

Communication is very important when it comes to emotions. In order to create an emotionally safe space each individual needs to communicate their needs and boundaries without fear of negative consiquences. This is a long comment but I hope it help anyone who reads it. <3

Expo_Education21 karma

Brother preach! As a man working with teenage boys really is an emotional business. It's a tough world for a boy no matter where you live. Being vulnerable is the first step not only to helping create a less violent world but also to helping ourselves as men! Thanks for the comment I agree wholeheartedly. This is one of the core messages of our programme.

Annepackrat24 karma

What so you folks like to do for fun? What kind of music do you listen to?

Expo_Education35 karma

Mostly we play football and hang out. As for music we listen to Ghanaian music (like hiplife and hip hop) also gospel music and foreign music like Westlife!

Annepackrat6 karma

Thank you for your reply!

Expo_Education36 karma

I asked the audience and this was the recommendation for you to be introduced to modern Ghanaian music

https://youtu.be/GTUIlOudlHI

321dawg8 karma

What a happy song, I love it! Thank you to whoever suggested it, this is my first time hearing Ghanaian music.

Expo_Education12 karma

That was from the students (who've now gone home). There is so much music here from highlife in the twenties to hip hop and electronic music now. It's an an incredibly musical place, the radio is always on and always good! Another popular artist at the moment is ebony (below). There's a lot to explore!

https://youtu.be/3KwnKpEivg4

Expo_Education2 karma

That was from the students (who've now gone home). There is so much music here from highlife in the twenties to hip hop and electronic music now. It's an an incredibly musical place, the radio is always on and always good! Another popular artist at the moment is ebony (below). There's a lot to explore!

https://youtu.be/3KwnKpEivg4

Expo_Education0 karma

That was from the students (who've now gone home). There is so much music here from highlife in the twenties to hip hop and electronic music now. It's an an incredibly musical place, the radio is always on and always good! Another popular artist at the moment is ebony (below). There's a lot to explore!

https://youtu.be/3KwnKpEivg4

CityGirlSass17 karma

Social worker here....

How do you practice cultural awareness and recognize your own limitations while working with the children?

My biggest question:

What have YOU learned from them?

Expo_Education34 karma

Bethany: Just being aware that you are not from here and the impact you have. Know your position. Fergal: Quick to listen and slow to judge. Have plenty of (native) people around to discuss with and ask questions. Hannah: Learn as much as possible about the culture. Always be as respectful as possible. Ask questions! There is always someone around to answer them.

We also try to be sustainable by having all programs delivered by our local staff. When we started, we had all staff from abroad. Now, most of our staff is made up of Ghanaians. This helps with the impact we are making!

Hannah: I have learned that people are people, no matter where you are. Bethany: Money doesn't buy happiness. People are so giving here, no matter how little they have.

breakfastmonkey416 karma

What is health care like in Ghana? How does that impact the work you are doing?

Expo_Education26 karma

It is easily accessible. As a student, we have to have health insurance. When we are sick, there is a clinic here in Antoa we go to.

Shitty-Coriolis6 karma

Is it cheap? Expensive? Free? The care is pretty good?

Expo_Education2 karma

It is relatively cheap! I feel like the more you pay, the better your care is. However, most clinics in the small communities have easy access to malaria tests and medications to treat malaria, which is a common ailment.

SpeckledEggs12 karma

What a cool program! Thanks for doing this AMA and sharing your message! Teachers: What are your favorite ways of teaching classes and connecting to students at your school? Students: What ways of teaching help you learn the best? What do you like to do when you are not in class?

Expo_Education12 karma

Shaibu: I love to interact with the students during our lessons. It opens up doors and a time to discuss and see their views. Charles: Activity based learning. It makes the students always remember what they learned. Also, coming up with scenarios or examples of what you are learning.

Stephen: By practicals. Using examples and games to learn the content.

All: watching movies! We can watch them on a friend's phone!

iamawordofscience12 karma

Hello guys, thanks for doing this AMA. I have a few questions. What made you aware of gender inequality and that it was a problem? Also, how would you describe the people's attitude and response by generation?

I mean, I'm Mexican and while in my family everyone is against physical violence and "believe" a woman is as capable as any man, my grandparents and even my parents never fully accepted men doing the laundry and women the carpentry.

Expo_Education12 karma

Fergal: long before I came to Ghana I grew up as a boy and experienced first hands how difficult it can be growing up feeling that you can never fully express yourself or be vulnerable, along with the constant pressure to build your own self image around violence and degrading sexual conquest.

Shaibu: we took a hike in volta region with a female colleague and I went to help her and she said don't just help me because I'm a woman. This made me realise how deeply rooted our biases can be.

Charles: I realised my mom had only completed JHS whereas my dad finished SHS. This was because she was a woman. Also we've never had a female president. I realised something needed to change. Women are never given a chance to show us what they can do.

Stephen: if a woman can't give birth she is looked down upon. This made me think about women's position in society in all circles.

Robert: in our generation how we are going to do things is not the same as generations to come will do it. The generation before us was not like us. Before women had to stay home and cook and clean and couldn't go to school. Now things are starting to change.

Stephen: yes now things are slowly changing. Now sometimes men help women with the cooking and women are taking on more things to with money.

Also your experience in Mexico sounds very familiar. How are things changing there?

iamawordofscience6 karma

Thank you so much guys, I think your work is amazing and you all are beautiful people.

As for Mexico it is hard to say since the country is so big and diverse. Mexico can be incredibly noble but just as cruel. I don't think violence is ever approved openly. That is, we no longer think it is a common practice for men to beat their wives or women their children.

I can only talk from my experience/perspective, which is inevitably tied to privilege. I think we are headed in the right direction. First because we teach equality at school. I was taught my rights as a child, an adult and as a human. Second, those who advocate and fight for equality are not alone. We have government commercials advocating for a boy's right to cry and encouraging women and girls to denounce their abusers. We have all kinds of programs for preventing, dealing and overcoming abuse. (How well they work is another matter though).

Now I'm not saying our government is ideal, far from it, but it does provide information, help and ways to help spread the message for those who need it. We still have a long way to go, we need more education and opportunities to be equal in real life but the biggest problem is hate, power and impunity.

Edit: spelling

Expo_Education5 karma

Thanks for the support!

That sounds really cool, having a school as a positive environment is a major factor in creating a more just and equal society. In this way it definitely sounds like Mexico is heading in the right direction.

I think economic factors play a huge role, youth unemployment can really effect how families develop and the opportunities people have to expand their minds and see different viewpoints. Also unbalanced economic growth leads to social inequalities which I think spawns the power and impunity you speak of!

Thanks a lot for the insight, it's interesting for us to put these issues in a global perspective (which is why these AMAs are so much fun).

twocatsnoheart12 karma

Does the program connect with Ghanaian women activists to better understand what issues women are facing nationally?

How do you discuss people using religion to justify gender stereotypes?

What's your school food like?

Expo_Education18 karma

Exponential Education also has a Girls Leadership, Empowerment, Action Program that connects girls with Ghanaian women activists. BPC is a newer program so we want to eventually connect it with the girls' program so that both the boys and girls and work together on a community service project! But that's an aim for the future!

In terms of religion, religion is a central part of Ghanaian society, and any conversation on social issues can't avoid addressing religion in some way, sometimes this is addressing difficult messages put forward by religion, and sometimes it is embracing positive guidance found in religion. We see the issues we talk about as being human issues, shaped by people and this is the approach we take.

School food: Robert: "I'm the only boarder here and I would rate the dinners 3/10 because the meals aren't very balanced and there's not so much taste."

Bismark and Stephen: "We buy food from the canteen for lunch. We buy rice, beans, kenkey, and fruits, and it's really good."

MuddyDonkeyBalls9 karma

I am a teacher in the United States and once had a student from Ghana. He was older than I was and a grandfather, but finally made it to where he could work on his goals.

You all have great aspirations- lawyer, journalist, engineer, etc. What are your plans to try and reach those goals? Is the any community pressure to keep you at home to just work and provide?

The program you are in is working on appropriate treatment of girls and women. How do you hope to help stop society's acceptance of domestic violence once you leave school? I'm not suggesting being a super hero and confronting people directly (because it can be dangerous), but what would you like to do to help educate people the way you have been educated?

Expo_Education11 karma

Our plan is to continue to work hard and be submissive to our education! We hope to go to university. Yes, we do feel pressure to just stay home and find a job. We just try to explain to our parents how this is important to us and our future. On the flip side, many people also will tell us how important it is to go to school and continue our education. To stop the domestic violence, we hope to share what we are currently learning at other schools. We can share the message anywhere to anyone.

tungvu2569 karma

What do you and most people think of USA? How about our current president? You can be honest

Expo_Education18 karma

Bismark, Stephen, Robert: It is a developed country. It is very nice. We have also heard that the president is cruel and doesn't want Africans to come there; not sure if that is true.

Charles: The restriction is mostly for muslim countries in the middle east.

Charles again: I know the U.S. with facilities that can help in terms of your education. You have more access to gain your education. I think that the perspective is that people have never been there, just want to go there because they think it is paradise on earth!

Expo_Education2 karma

Bismark, Stephen, Robert: It is a developed country. It is very nice. We have also heard that the president is cruel and doesn't want Africans to come there; not sure if that is true.

Charles: The restriction is mostly for muslim countries in the middle east. Charles again: I know the U.S. with facilities that can help in terms of your education. You have more access to gain your education.

xRGx-B-RAD8 karma

Want to share my love and support to you! My question is what is your plan after getting your education? Do you want to leave Africa? Or do you plan on trying to improve the place you live now?

Expo_Education18 karma

Stephen: I will improve my community by informing them about the relevence of going to school. I will be a politician so I will be able to ensure their basic needs are met.

Robert: I want to stay and improve my home.

Bismark: If I'm given the opportunity to leave Ghana I will take it, but I will definitely return to improve my community with the knowledge I get!

Criss-Istr7 karma

Hi, Hannah. Why do you hate paragraphs?

Expo_Education10 karma

LOL! I typed it in nice neat paragraphs, then when it posted it was just one! I am trying to fix it now! Sorry!

Criss-Istr6 karma

you need to press enter twice

Expo_Education6 karma

Thank you so much!

achaedia6 karma

Given everything you’ve learned, what is the number one piece of advice you would give a younger boy?

Expo_Education10 karma

Bismark: Take your time. Don't rush into something because your peers are doing it. Robert: Focus on your education to achiever your goals. Stephen: Be time conscious. Use your time wisely. Robert: Also, don't worry yourself with gambling and things like that.

Hydropos6 karma

In reading about the program's educational agenda, I couldn't help but have my eyes glaze over a bit. What methods do you use to teach social concepts like these while keeping students engaged and without coming across as "preachy"?

Expo_Education5 karma

Staff: We balance this by, firstly, focusing on the ideas, for example by hosting debates or watching videos and, secondly, by working on self expression, for example, by working on acting and trying to put ourselves in other people's shoes. In general we try to keep things practical, varied, and non judgemental. We are not trying to tell the boys how to think, only how to reflect more on what they think and to work towards being truer to ourselves as men. We aim to have it feel less like a class and more like a safe space, to give young men a place to be vulnerable and explore themselves as men and to form their own community based on their own values.

coffeeunderthesheep6 karma

Hi Students! What does a normal school day for you? Do you take lots of different classes?

Expo_Education16 karma

School starts at 7:30AM. On MWF, we have assembly first. Then, we go to our first lesson. Breakfast starts at 8:50AM after our first lesson. After, we go to our next lesson. After that lesson, lunch is at 1:20PM. Our classes resume at 1:50PM and end for the day at 3:50PM. Sometimes, we take extra classes to help with our studies. On Wednesdays, we have our Boys for Positive Change Program after lessons. As a boarder (Robert), supper is at 5:00PM. We have Prep (study time) at 7:00 to 9:00PM. Lights out is at 10:00PM. Between study time and lights out at 10:00PM, we socialize with the ladies! ;) As for us nonboarders, it varies.

Classes: History, Twi (native language), Economics, Christian Religious Studies, English, Math, Integrated Science

xRGx-B-RAD5 karma

How do you feel about Trophy hunting? America is split on it where some think it’s terrible for the animals and others say the money and meat that village/ locals receive is actually helping.

Expo_Education15 karma

Charles, Stephen & Robert: there isn't any trophy hunting in Ghana that we know of but many people hunt wild animals for food. Most of these people can't afford to buy meat so this is the way they get food.

coryrenton5 karma

How do the wealthy in Ghana live compared to most others in Ghana, and how do the wealthy in Ghana live compared to the wealthy in other countries?

Expo_Education6 karma

The wealthy in Ghana live similarly to the wealthy around the world; instead taking public transportation they can drive - but they still get stuck in traffic! ;P

In all serious, the more money you have the more access to resources and comfortable living you have. In rural areas, constant electricity and running water might be unreliable. If you are wealthy you would be able to afford a generator for when the power goes out!

coryrenton2 karma

Do the wealthy in Ghana generally live amongst the others or do they live in secluded/gated areas? If they still need generators, that suggests that there isn't enough wealth to fund their own better infrastructure.

Expo_Education4 karma

Wealthier people usually tend to live in different neighborhood/areas, but I think that's the same even in the U.S. There aren't really any gated communities near us though! Across from the SHS is a big house where a rich man lives but he doesn't have a high fence or anything like that.

coryrenton2 karma

do they suffer from fewer social problems (domestic violence, etc...) or do they get away with more because they are rich?

Expo_Education5 karma

Hmmm... Probably yes and no. Usually wealthier people have access to a better education so they are able to overcome certain social problems. Unfortunately, the latter is sometimes true too! Corruption can be a problem.

BlackProcrastination3 karma

To the students. Would you like to move to another country in the future or stay on Ghana? What country and why?

Expo_Education8 karma

Charles: I would love to move somewhere else (no where specific in mind) in the near future, however, I would then like to come back to use my experience to develop my own country. I would look to go a country with means to accomplish my aim, and also with nice people and a great culture!

Shaibu: I initially didn't like to travelling, but now I do. However, I wouldn't like to move to another country. I would still like to travel back and forth too. I'd love to travel to Ireland.

Bismark: Yes, anywhere in Europe. Because I have heard it is a great place. I want to see it and experience it.

Robert: Yes, USA. Just for a short time. It is very developed, and I can learn from my time there.

Stephen: Yes, I want to go to the U.K. especially London! I want to see Chelsea Football club!

ArtyFischel3 karma

Is it sometimes difficult to carry over things you learn in class to things you experience at home or when you are out in your village or city? Meaning, if you see things like abuse, or mistreatment of women and children, do you find it difficult to use your voice to speak up because of a fear of causing an even bigger issue?

Expo_Education11 karma

Stephen: I can be an negotiator; I saw a fight the other day and I tried to break it up.

Bismark: If the issue concerns me, then I will speak up. It can be difficult because other people don't see things the same way and they might insult me.

Robert: As for me I don't find it difficult to speak out against bullying. I see it a lot when older students will bully younger students in the dormitories. I saw it happen yesterday and I made them stop and I reported it. If it happens in my family, then I have to speak up. I don't think abuse or beating someone is the right way to solve problems. I don't agree with beating children to discipline them.

TangoMike223 karma

(Whoever wants to answer) What's a normal breakfast for you?

Expo_Education7 karma

Staff: We eat a lot of egg sandwiches! There is a store across the road from our house that always has eggs and bread! Charles: Porridge! My favorite is made with corn dough and water. Once mixed, it is heated over coals or gas to thicken. Add sugar to taste!

mineawesomeman3 karma

About the husbands abuse of their wives, how can you be able to change a culture like that. In many of these countries it has been like this for centuries where men unfairly treat their wives. How do you go about showing women they have the right to stand up and men that women are just as important as men are? PS: I really hope you guys get this done! I hate the fact that some people get life better than other people just because of their gender.

Expo_Education2 karma

Of course there are many countries where it has been so for centuries, but also many countries where it was like that for centuries and then changed quite rapidly. Things are already changing rapidly in Ghana, as economic growth and increased educational opportunities become the norm, people naturally reflect on their position in society and how they can improve peoples lives.

We run programmes for boys and girls to focus on helping this process and to become leaders for the future. This isn't something we are doing against the will of society. Overwhelmingly we have the support of everyone from parents to the department of education. People here are hungry to learn more, hungry to change and build a fairer society for everyone.

In practical terms we do this by promoting reflection, discussion and action. In both boys and girls programmes we try and develop the individual to grow their self-esteem to the point at which they feel comfortable becoming leaders. This is then used as a platform from which students can take on action projects in which they practically address gender related issues, and in the case of our girls programmes to take on mentorship roles themselves.

historyfrombelow3 karma

How did the students come to be at this school or program? Have students chosen to leave before or does everyone graduate?

Expo_Education3 karma

Students: We attend senior high school, some as boarders and some as day students in the same town as the SHS. We have to take a standardized Ghanaian test in junior high school to apply for SHS. Right now we have to pay school fees too. Most students graduate from SHS these days!

In terms of the BPC Program, we had to fill out an application to join. We were selected because we showed that we were excited about the program. Some of the students have left the program because it's after school and they might have extra classes.

Mistarwayne3 karma

What’s a typical day like?

Expo_Education4 karma

School starts at 7:30AM. On MWF, we have assembly first. Then, we go to our first lesson. Breakfast starts at 8:50AM after our first lesson. After, we go to our next lesson. After that lesson, lunch is at 1:20PM. Our classes resume at 1:50PM and end for the day at 3:50PM. Sometimes, we take extra classes to help with our studies. On Wednesdays, we have our Boys for Positive Change Program after lessons. As a boarder (Robert), supper is at 5:00PM. We have Prep (study time) at 7:00 to 9:00PM. Lights out is at 10:00PM. Between study time and lights out at 10:00PM, we socialize with the ladies! ;) As for us nonboarders, it varies.

CBate2 karma

What was breakfast?

Expo_Education3 karma

For me? This morning I had an egg sandwich, bread and eggs is a staple for us. Lots of people eat porridge though. My favourite is bofrut which are sweet deep fried doughballs flavoured with pineapple... delicious!

Expo_Education2 karma

Hi! For breakfast, most Ghanaian people like porridge. We also make lots of egg sandwiches at our house!

wazzzzzup2 karma

Are many of the boys in the program looking to pursue higher education? Is that a goal of the program?

Expo_Education4 karma

Yes, many of them are! We always hope our students will somehow continue to learn and grow. Charles was a part of our early Peer to Peer programs, and is now a freshman at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)!

Ganondorf22 karma

How could one get involved with this organization, and what kind of qualifications would be sought out for someone seeking a position?

Expo_Education1 karma

We are not currently accepting volunteers until the 2018-2019 school year, but you are always more than welcome to send your cv/resume to us at [email protected]. You can also check out our website at http://www.exponentialeducationprogram.org/how-to-help! Thank you for your interest!

Expo_Education2 karma

Most of our volunteers have a bachelors degree in some sort of development field, however, we just look for people who are passionate about improving education and access to education in developing countries.

historyfrombelow2 karma

How difficult has it been for you to learn about these gendered issues and actually take your new knowledge on board and use it in your lives?

Expo_Education5 karma

Charles: Few people here know about gender issues. When we talk to our friends about helping a woman, our friends might make fun of us. However, now that we have also learned about self-esteem, it doesn't negatively affect us.

xPluto2 karma

How is the day to day life for the students?

Expo_Education3 karma

Stephen, Bismark: We are able to walk to school since we stay in town. Robert: I am a boarder since my home is 1.5 hours away.

School starts at 7:30AM. We have assemblies in the mornings on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday before our first lesson. Then we have breakfast before our next lesson. After that lesson, lunch is at 1:20PM. Our classes resume at 1:50PM and end for the day at 3:50PM. Sometimes, we take extra classes to help with our studies. On Wednesdays, we have our Boys for Positive Change Program after lessons. As a boarder (Robert), supper is at 5:00PM. We have Prep (study time) at 7:00 to 9:00PM. Lights out is at 10:00PM. Between study time and lights out at 10:00PM.

As for us nonboarders, it varies. We usually do our homework and spend time with our friends and family.

CasperOnyx2 karma

Students: What’s your favorite Western snack food?

Expo_Education3 karma

Students like biscuits (cookies to Americans), frozen yogurt, plantain chips, and popcorn. All of those are easy to find here.

SparklyUnicornLady2 karma

Are there any efforts to create a co-ed program? It seems like there would be a benefit for young men and women to participate alongside each other.

Expo_Education3 karma

This is currently the second year of the program, last year being the pilot. We hope to integrate our boys and girls programs even more beginning in the 2018 school year! We want to keep certain aspects of the program separate so it's still a safe space for the boys and girls respectively to be able to discuss sensitive topics like self-esteem and sharing feeling. However, we think a group community service project would be really beneficial!

SparklyUnicornLady1 karma

Thanks for the response!

I used to teach in a school that had a significant West African population, particularly families from Ghana. Off the top of your head, can you think of anything that might be helpful for teachers of new arrivals from Ghana to know about education system there? We never got a lot of details about the children's school experiences prior to moving to the US.

Expo_Education1 karma

Off the top of my head, I would say that they typically have knowledge of many topics, but not necessarily in depth. Most of their learning is based on memorization of information, not necessarily understanding. Most of the teaching is "chalk and talk" instead of using activities, discussions, etc. Also, while they have a good English base, they might not speak the same dialect as most. It is just a little different.

ProfApocalypse2 karma

How well stocked is the local library?

Expo_Education3 karma

Nope, no library right now!

FatFishLover2 karma

How do have internet in Ghana?

Expo_Education8 karma

Of course! There is 3G and we use our phones to hotspot as wifi for our computers!

ParanoidAndroid30006 karma

I think my question sort of ties in with this one, what is Ghana like? I mean is it a well developed country with thriving cities? The image of Africa often put out here in the UK (and presumably elsewhere) is often that of struggling villages. So I always like it when I get to see/hear of the other side of Africa.

Expo_Education8 karma

While we are in a small town right now, we are very close Kumasi the second largest city in Ghana. There you can find Kejetia, the largest outdoor market in West Africa! We have a shopping mall in Kumasi too. Sometimes there is a lot of traffic as well! In Ghana there are large thriving cities in addition to small villages, but all people are focused on growth and moving Ghana forward.

Expo_Education2 karma

Of course! There is 3G and we use our phones to hotspot as wifi for our computers!

tchustz2 karma

Do you follow the boys afterwards? To see if perceptions really changed?

Expo_Education3 karma

Yes, we are in touch with some of the boys who were a part of the pilot program last year. We also have done surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.

tchustz2 karma

So do the boys work with the girls?

Expo_Education3 karma

Staff: at the moment no but this is something that all parties (staff, boys and girls) are interested in. Next year we are looking at a way in which boys and girls can come together and work on a project.

TheScreendoor1 karma

Is a fish wet in water?

Expo_Education6 karma

Well I think wet is a relative term. Is 30 degrees hot or cold? Hot if your a person, cold if you're an oven. Therefore I would say since a fish exists solely in water it can't be described as either wet or dry.

Expo_Education2 karma

Well I think wet is a relative term. Is 30 degrees hot or cold? Hot if your a person, cold if you're an oven. Therefore I would say since a fish exists solely in water it can't be described as either wet or dry.

gharbitta1 karma

  • Are the beliefs you re bringing in easily accepted by both parents of students?
  • Are these students orphans?
  • Do you think after teaching them this and releasing them in the wild society, your students will survive the difference and keep those beliefs?
  • what kind if support do they have at home to consolidate these beliefs?

Expo_Education2 karma

  1. Generally speaking yes. Of course it varies from household to household but most parents want the best for their children and are willing to change from the past.

  2. None that I know of. We have the usual mixture of regular and single parent families.

  3. Yes! Ghana is moving very quickly on these issues, especially in more urban/educated circles. I think our boys will have plenty of space to become leaders in their communities.

  4. Support from home again varies on the household. We try to work a lot on action, ie working on putting the messages we cover into practice, mostly by trying to change things in their own homes.

Mpikoz1 karma

What day to day tasks do you fulfill as a CIA agent? Lol just kidding.

Expo_Education6 karma

Mostly working out how exploding cigars will work in a country where no one smokes... also I'm Irish I don't think they'd let me in the CIA.

dammrobotz20201 karma

do u even lift?

Expo_Education3 karma

Carrying Water from the well and pounding fufu is all the workout I can handle right now...

sjnims1 karma

Do you know Justin Bienio?

Expo_Education2 karma

No but if he lives in Antoa I'm sure we'll meet him!

Expo_Education1 karma

Cool, congrats on raising the money! Where is the project you're working on?

Atillatheblonde1 karma

Just as a glance into the daily life of young people in Ghana, would a few of your students share what they had for breakfast this morning?

Expo_Education3 karma

Our students have had to go home because it is getting to be late in the day here, but most people have a form of porridge for breakfast here!

RainbowDonkey4731 karma

How do you use technology to make learning fun?

Have the teachers thought about applying for funding grants out of technology companies?

Expo_Education3 karma

One of the programs we run is called Level Up Village. LUV connects a classroom in the U.S. to a classroom in Ghana. The classes learn the same content and have a pen-pal relationship by sending videos to each other. These videos are taken with smart phones or tablets here in Ghana. We are currently looking for a grant or donors so we can purchase a set of tablets of better quality used specifically for the LUV program. Right now, it is just a teacher or Expo staff members smart phone being used. Any suggestions?

tchustz1 karma

Do you think the things you are teaching really make a difference?

Expo_Education3 karma

Staff: this is a good question and a tricky one to answer. The impact we are really hoping to see comes years down the line as these boys grow to hopefully become male role models for their communities.

In terms of the immediate changes we definitely measure an improvement in attitudes on certain core issues as well as a general rise in self esteem and openness. Another good indicator is the contact we have with students from our programmes last year who have shown interest in running their own programmes when they finish school this year!

Pingaring1 karma

Do kids play League of Legends in west Africa? Please say no...

Expo_Education3 karma

Bismark, Robert, and Stephen: We have never heard of it.

Pingaring1 karma

That’s actually a relief to hear.

But does Ghana have car cultures like they do in some Asian countries (like Tokyo Drift esq)? Where I’m from people are really into Ford trucks or Mustangs, and have a somewhat friendly rivalry with Chevy/Camaro owners.

Expo_Education6 karma

No, we don't really have any competition about cars or anything like that. In terms of clothes though we like to look sharp!

Varatec1 karma

As I know next to nothing about life there I suppose my question would be this.

What exactly is you're culture and day to day life like? As someone who has never had to worry about much given where I live I want to know these things so that I can hopefully one day try and help make the lives of others better, even if it's just for a day.

Expo_Education2 karma

Some cultural differences in day to day life would include gathering water from a well or stream instead of just turning on a tap in your house. Most people here don't have personal cars, and they walk or use public transportation. Also, everyone is so friendly here, so you spend a lot of time just greeting people and talking to/making new friends!