Saturday, 16 January 2010

Preparations continued

VSO emphasise the importance of thorough preparation and self briefing before a placement begins to increase the likelihood of it being successful. Before leaving England I had spoken to or been in e-mail contact with volunteers who have worked or are still working on education projects in the north of the country. This went to prove what a small world we live in as we discovered that Janet will be staying in Walewale with Charlotte and Mike from Loughton in Milton Keynes. I also had discussions with a number of Ghanaians at Walton High to gain a better understanding of the customs and culture of the people - I have even been introduced to a new handshake and learnt a couple of phrases in the most widely spoken language in Ghana which is Twi, e.g. Wo ho te sen?

Walton High’s Chair of Governors, Marilyn Moffat, drew my attention to the TESSA Project that The Open University is involved with. I meet the Programme Director, Freda Wolfenden, at the OU to discuss how the TESSA project could fit in with my VSO placement. Most of the teacher training materials are web based, which I thought might make them inaccessible to some teachers in the district I will be working in. Freda kindly arranged for the resources to be transferred to CDs to make the materials easier to share. I have since been in e-mail contact with a Senior Researcher, Might Abreh, at Cape Coast University to discuss how we could possibly use the TESSA materials during our placements.

 Before leaving for Ghana I also met with Walton High's MP Mark Lancaster, who is also the Shadow Overseas Development Minister. We had an interesting discussion about a range of development issues. Mark explained that he had already had a number of meetings with VSO relating to the Conservative Party's policies and their commitment to protecting the overseas development budget. Matk also informed me that he was scheduled to visit Ghana at some point during my stay.  However, as I am working in the far north east of the country the chances of our paths crossing are remote!