Ghana Together works with our Ghanaian friends of Western Heritage Home, a Ghanaian-registered and managed non-profit, to improve social, educational, and health conditions in Axim, Ghana. Together we accomplish projects, connect WHH to resourceful individuals and organizations, and create sustainable programs. We make a real difference to real people in a local, grassroots effort. Our website at tells our story.

Mar 6, 2014

Axim Community Development Vocational Institute (CDVI)

You may remember that Western Heritage Home, our partners in Axim, Ghana, renovated the CDVI Women’s Dormitory with our financial help back in 2013. We wrote about it about a year ago:

Newly renovated women's dormitory
So, it was Maryanne Ward’s pleasure to tour the dormitory building and to meet our 12 scholarship students, eight of whom are living in the dormitory, with 16 in residence total.
The young women reported they LOVE living in the nice, clean dormitory, and promised to use their marketing skills (one of their classes is marketing) to spread the word to friends that there is a good place to live, now, for those who want to attend but live beyond walking distance.

Resident shows off her room, demonstrating her bednet (malaria prevention)

Students typically have few possessions.
The courtyard provides space for getting together, doing laundry, drying clothes...

Inner courtyard showing area for relaxing together, laundry, clothes drying, etc.
 Ghana Together sponsored scholarship students because we wanted to kickstart the dormitory and also help a few with major financial barriers. We awarded funds to Western Heritage Home, which in turn granted the funds to the CDVI Parent Teacher Association.

Eleven of the 12 scholarship students with a teacher
The CDVI staff traveled to outlying towns and villages in the municipality of Axim, and distributed brochures describing CDVI’s programs.
Many students applied. Staff and the Headmistress interviewed all of them and their families, short-listing those who had major financial problems—not an easy job.

They awarded 12 candidates two-year bursaries, including 3 young men. Eight women receive boarding and three meals at day for two years, or about $500 each. Four “day” scholars, one woman and three men, receive lunch for about $150 each for six terms (two years).

The parents had to commit to pay 60 cedis in tuition plus incidental expenses per term for six terms as their share (about $200 total). To put this in perspective, the official minimum wage in Ghana is 5.25 cedis or about $2.10/day based on a 27- day month (about $700/yr).

What happens at the end of the two years?  The families will have to pay all costs for the third and fourth year, if the student decides to continue. Most do, because they want to acquire skills in multiple trades, ensuring greater economic security. Some leave after two years to apprentice or go into small-scale businesses. Four-year graduates are eligible for polytechnic schools.

CDVI Women Strut Their Stuff at the Annual 6 March Celebration (Independence Day!)
CDVI is a trade school, with classes in catering/cookery, hairdressing, computer science, sewing/tailoring/fashion, entrepreneurship, marketing, basic mathematics/bookkeeping, English, home management, and women’s health. These trades are in demand in this region.
Cooking/catering class.

The government of Ghana supports these students. For example, students specializing in sewing/tailoring receive a “kit” upon graduation, containing sewing machine, scissors, measuring tapes, thread, and other items necessary to start a business or enter an apprenticeship.
Since our last visit in 2013, the government of Ghana has also completed a new classroom building that had been years in the making! Ghana is investing strongly in education at all levels.

New classroom buildings at CDVI, completed in 2013
And, Maryanne and James Kainyiah, her Western Heritage Home counterpart, were delighted to attend and speak briefly at the retirement celebration of Madame Hajara Yakubu, who served as Director of CDVI for 38 years. She will be missed. We wish her and her successor, Madame Safiatu Seidu, well.

Hajara Yakubu, giving her farewell speech to her beloved students.

Hajara is a dedicated educationist, and a lay leader in the St James Methodist church.. She is a skilled manager and orator. She has served on the Western Heritage Board since its inception, and has provided exceptional leadership to the community of Axim.
In her remarks, Hajara fulsomely expressed her thanks to Ghana Together and Western Heritage Home for our contributions to the school. And we, in turn, thank all of you.
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