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How Mako Helps Close the Gender Gap in Ghana

The children in our programming often spend their core child development years fighting for their family’s daily survival while sacrificing their own education and future.

They are regularly tasked with caretaking for younger siblings, selling goods by the roadside or working on local farms to pay off family debt. Many kids in our care don’t even enter first grade until the age of twelve.

The barriers to quality education in rural Ghana, especially for girls, are overwhelming. The most clear and prevalent inequities are related to childbearing and early marriage. According to UNICEF, pregnancy is the number one cause for young girls dropping out of school in Ghana and early marriage is the biggest stumbling block to reentering school.

In fact, 1 out of 5 girls marry before the age of 18 and 50% of Ghanaian women have their first child before the age of 20.

In rural Ghana, it remains common culture for young women to act subservient to both men and their elders, which is deeply problematic and creates a cycle of sexual assault. In Gbi-Wegbe and the Volta region specifically, many still practice the tradition of Trokosi. This involves the ritual servitude and enslavement (often sexually) of young girls to a local priest as a way to atone for the sins of a family member. These girls remain isolated and are denied schooling and access to their loved ones, therefore increasing their vulnerability to abuse.

Our programming combats these disparities by prioritizing both the health and well-being of our young girls and their path towards a more prosperous adulthood. We empower them through long-term education, removing barriers to daily survival and providing enrichment and skill building opportunities. We were first in the region to organize career talks featuring female leaders and entrepreneurs and our soccer program helped organize girls sporting leagues. This work is not just with our girls, we must also educate the boys, men and caretakers in the community to bolster more systemic change.

Continued education beyond primary school is vital to a young girl’s future in Ghana as it correlates directly with a child's ability to break the poverty cycle. Preparing them to graduate high school, a milestone only 8% of Ghanian females accomplish, means we must double down on those who need to catch up from lack of education in their early years.

Mako’s Secondary and Vocational School Scholarship provides funds for our kids to attend and graduate from Secondary School, ensuring at least 50% of our continued education scholars are female.

Our local counselors guide them through school choices and even help with job placement and additional educational opportunities upon graduating.

Empowering young girls through education and providing a safe and nurturing environment is a high priority for our mission and we are unafraid to face it head on. There’s always more work to be done for gender equality, combating gender norms and the advancement and education of our girls and boys. We look forward to exploring more ways we can do our part together.

How to Help Close the Gender Gap

Every dollar counts in providing continuous care for our kids. Become a member of our EveryChild and Scholar Collectives, make a one-time donation or get involved as a volunteer or board member today.


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