Ghana Training Trip: 4 exciting days in the home of fufu and kelewele

Image representing the International Parents Alliance Ghana training trip, highlighting cultural immersion and partnership building

Between 22 and 27 April, our team visited Ghana to meet and train the team of Parenting Education Network Ghana (PEN). It also concluded our discussions about membership, so they officially joined the Parents International family. In 4 warm days, we did not only have fruitful work experiences, but could also learn about the history and culture of this fast-developing country.

Day 1: the Ghana Training Trip begins

The visit was carefully planned through several meetings, so upon arrival we jumped immediately into training the PEN team. Before the visit, they shared the current training manual used in pilot trainings for parents, and our aim was to give them some ideas about enriching the training offer by experiential methodologies and some extra topics.

The two-day training focused on needs analysis methods to support tailoring their trainings, parental engagement in education and entrepreneurship with special focus on financial literacy, creativity and critical thinking. The experiential learning methods and the fact that training can be fun was totally new to their otherwise experienced team, and they are determined to use them. We have also agreed at the end, during the harvest, that further support and training is also necessary.

Day 2: Immersive Learning and Cultural Exploration in Ghana

On the second day our Ghana Training Trip we also had the opportunity to visit a Montessori school owned by one of PEN’s board members located in a disadvantaged area of the capital. In the evening, we visited the memorial park of Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah (1909 – 1972), and learnt of the legendary establishment of the country by 5 tribes, Ga, the Hausa, the Akan, the Nzema, and the Ashanti, whose names’ first letter make up the name of the country, after the colonisation period.

Day 3: Strategic Collaborations, Historical Landmarks, and delicious food

The third day of our Ghana Training Trip was dedicated to meeting government officials from the Ministry of Education and the Education Services. It was a first step towards a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry and PEN that both parties would very much like to have in place. It also became clear that the Ministry is also looking for support in creating a national, bottom-up representation of parents that PEN can support with Parents International’s help and by learning from experiences in other African countries.

In between meetings, we visited Osu/Christiansborg Castle, a key hub in the transatlantic slave trade, where enslaved Africans were held captive before being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. Osu Castle also played a significant role in Ghana’s struggle for independence. It was here that the historic event of Ghana’s independence declaration took place on March 6, 1957. Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African nation to gain independence from colonial rule, marking a pivotal moment in the country’s history and inspiring liberation movements across the continent

We also had a chance of experiencing the deliciousness of Ghanan gastronomical tradition, as our hosts guided us to the discovery of Fufu and Kelewele.

Image of fufu, a traditional Ghanaian dish enjoyed during our Ghana training trip, representing the country's rich culinary heritage

Fufu is a staple food in many West African countries, including Ghana. It is made from starchy root vegetables such as cassava, yams, or plantains. The vegetables are boiled, then pounded into a smooth, dough-like consistency using a mortar and pestle. Traditionally, this pounding is done by hand, but nowadays, electric appliances are also used. Fufu is often served alongside soups, stews, or sauces made from a variety of ingredients such as vegetables, meat, fish, or seafood. One popular accompaniment is light soup or palm nut soup. Fufu is typically eaten by tearing off small portions with the fingers and then dipping it into the soup or sauce before consuming.

Image of kelewele, a flavorful Ghanaian street food enjoyed during our Ghana training trip, representing the country's vibrant culinary culture

Kelewele is a flavourful Ghanaian street food made from ripe plantains. The plantains are cut into chunks or cubes and then marinated in a mixture of spices such as ginger, cloves, pepper, and sometimes nutmeg. The spiced plantain pieces are then deep-fried until they are golden brown and caramelized. Kelewele is known for its sweet and spicy flavor profile, with the natural sweetness of the ripe plantains complemented by the warmth of the spices. It is often enjoyed as a snack or side dish and is popularly sold by street vendors in Ghana. Kelewele is sometimes served alone or paired with peanuts for added crunch and flavour.

Day 4: the Ghana Training Trip comes to an end – Celebrating Partnerships and Planning for the Future

The final day was dedicated to strategic discussions with the Board and Management of PEN. We celebrated their official joining Parents International, and discussed next steps of our collaboration, including exploring the possibilities for funding for further trainings for the PEN team and teachers as well as their potential participation in the Parent Summit in Georgia, in the coming Autumn. The conclude our Ghana Training Trip with deep feelings of gratitude and satisfaction for many exciting and heart-warming encounters, and strong sense of anticipation for the future developments of our shared way forward.

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