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Pilot 2019: Seed Funding Global South - Project Summary

How can graduates in Ghana be supported in their search for education and work? Media Assistance of Ghanian Adolescents Searching for Education and Work (MedAASE)

    SDG 1:     No Poverty
    SDG 4:     Quality Education
    SDG 8:     Decent Work and Economic Growth


Formal education is the first step to an independent and successful life. The project "Media Assistance of Ghanaian Adolescents Searching for Education and Work (MedAASE)" investigates how young Ghanaians can be supported on their way into a prosperous future by means of digital assistance. In addition, it examines how small enterprises can be digitally supported. MedAASE is a cooperation between the Chair of Cognitive Psychology and Ergonomics of TU Berlin and Asedaye N.G.O. in Dormaa Anhenkro, Ghana.

For the development of a project idea and proposal, it was first of all necessary to meet potential partners in Ghana and to collect some first data. In this context, the conditions of education, vocational trainings and small businesses in Ghana were explored during a two-week field visit at Asedaye N.G.O, funded through the TU Berlin Seed Funding for cooperation with partners in the Global South.

During the visit various data collection methods were applied, such as the conduction of a survey with pupils, graduates and trainees. With the help of a specially designed questionnaire it was examined how the participants gather information about education and work opportunities and how they make use of digital means in this context. Furthermore, many interviews were done with employees from Asedaye N.G.O, official representatives from the education sector, as for example the Muncipal Director of Education of the Dorma Muncipal District and company founders.

First results of the questionnaires and focus groups show that pupils do have career aspirations in junior high school (JHS) and senior high school (SHS). However, they also indicate that clear aspirations at a young age (JHS) become fuzzy when pupils grow older. It seems that they lack information on what they have to accomplish to reach their career goals. Interviews with officials reveal that they do not have the resources to provide an overview of career paths and options, despite the existing regulations demanding them to do so. Pupils reported, that digital media (especially social media like WhatsApp) might help them to be informed about future steps in their career. SHS students and individuals completing a vocational training also believed that teachers were good sources of information. Friends and relatives do not seem to be an important point of contact in terms of career questions. Furthermore it becomes clear, that there are huge differences in education opportunities for young people living in rural areas and for those living in cities.

Future and current young business owners reported innovative ideas for growing businesses, like local transport companies or sewing shops, but complained the lack of seed money. Anecdotal evidence suggests that they also lack the necessary business knowledge for acquiring funding and for running their businesses successfully.

The results of the project suggest that support should start at the junior high school level. It should include information about conditions of further education (e. g. vocational training, university training) and corresponding job opportunities at early career stages. Digital media could support and improve people's education path. It could include a knowledge platform and a job board presenting job opportunities, necessary qualifications, and contact addresses. In addition, any form of career counselling (analogue or digital) would help to bring people into employment. Barriers for digital support include the lack of hardware amongst pupils, graduates and trainees as well as the shortage of electricity.

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