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 4, 2015


As of 2014, The Axim Girls Senior High School (AGSHS) has computers---lots of computers---thanks to the Ghana Education Service! AND, they have an ICT (information/computer technology) lab! This is no small miracle and is testimony to Ghana’s commitment to education, especially girls’ education.

BUT, in spite of all that, Axim is still woefully short on internet access, especially to an entire high school computer lab. And now they have all these nice shiny new desktops and laptops with wireless capability. What to do??

Enter Adam Holt and the computer wizards of Unleash Kids ( They knew about Ghana Together, because in their earlier days they were the folks who helped create the One Laptop Per Child XO computers. We have a nice XO collection in the Children’s Lab in Axim, right next the Public Library.

Adam asked if we’d like them to set up the first “Internet-In-A-Box” in Ghana! Well, YES, we certainly would!

And so, we learned that IIAB is a very small “server”, about 6” square, which contains:   

--all of Wikipedia through 2013, plus simpler versions in English, French, Arabic, and Swahili

--hundreds of Khan Academy math and science videos

--dictionaries, maps, books, medical info

--and much more…  

How could so much fit into such a small box??? (We read recently that Wikipedia, printed out, would take at least 1000 volumes!)

Adam's team took over Maryanne's internet connection for about twelve hours and "loaded" the server from Toronto...
See the little square silver-colored "box" on the small table? That's it!! Impossibly small.
We contacted James Kainyiah, our Western Heritage Home associate and, conveniently (!), current Chair of the AAGHS Board, and also Headmistress Stella Adjei, who has been transferred.  They were enthusiastic, and current Headmistress Theodora Appiah was no less so.

They connected us with Jerry Kwofie, ICT teacher, who gave us enough technical information about computers and had the technical savvy to give us confidence to go forward.

So Adam and Maryanne Ward were off to Ghana with about 35 lbs. of cables and connectors and lots of other “stuff”. With the help of our wonderful friends George Hayford and Ishmael Baidoo in Accra, found the right solar panels and a 12-volt battery. In Axim, we found the all-important soldering iron.
Ishmael Baidoo, George Hayford, and Adam Holt, at an electronics store in Accra, Ghana

And so, with about $2000 worth of equipment, we were ALL SET!

Maryanne with about 35 lbs of components
At the AGSHS, with the total support of Western Heritage Home leaders, and wonderful help of Headmistress Appiah, Jerry Kwofie, Eric Jim (science teacher), and Evans Arloo (WHH Operations Mgr), plus the other teachers and the students themselves, somehow we got it all to work!!

The President of the Nzema Youth Association (left), James Kainyiah, and Headmistress Theodora Appiah discussing the IIAB project
We used solar power technology as part of the girls’ science training. They can see, on the computers, a screen that graphs the solar power.

They helped set it up and have at least a rudimentary understanding of how it works. Because of the frequent power outages from the grid, we had to have solar power to make it work.

Eric Jim (science), Evans Arloo (WHH Operations Mgr), Adam Holt, Jerry Kwofie (computer teacher) and Maryanne Ward with the solar panels
The science class sets up the panels
Adam helps them verify that the panels are working!
Another class checks...YES, WE DID IT!!!
Thanks to the Vodafone staff in Axim who helped set up a minimal internet connection to one computer (plus the amazing skills of Adam and Jerry), we were able to connect with Unleash Kids experts Tim and George. From the East Coast of the United States, these two guys could “see” (literally with Skype) what was going on at the AGSHS and give technical support at every juncture.
Teachers were trained

Over two weeks, we tried to train every teacher and all 120 students. The girls were amazed to read about the history of Axim! One girl learned what menstruation really is. The literature teacher found the biographies of the African authors she was teaching. The Social Studies teacher had a class on “gender” the very next day, and got more information than she knew what to do with. One girl looked up her friend’s town on the map application....just a few examples...

The computers access the Internet-In-A-Box in much the same way that they access the actual internet---wirelessly, and with protocols common to typical internet use. This is an educational project, for study, and research. One interesting feature is the ability of teachers to post their handouts on the server.

Teacher Jerry Kwofie and Adam train the students

The school staff will move the ICT lab with the IIAB into the new two-story classroom building probably in mid-April. They will mount the solar panels on the south side of the roof, where the sun shines the most and where they'll be the safest.
New classroom building thanks to the efforts of Chief Awulae Attibrukusu III and the Ghana National Petroleum Council

Adam and his team will continue to give technical support, from the US via a real internet connection on one of the computers, if needed. Ghana Together will stay in contact with Headmistress Appiah and others.

It will take time for this resource to be fully integrated into the school's normal operations, both for teachers and for students. It’s hard to imagine the vast amount of information in this little box.

In 2003, a survey found that only about 7% of women in Nzema East District had a senior high school education. The Axim community founded the AGSHS as a direct response. Started in 2007, the school now has 120 students and is growing rapidly with girls attending from various parts of the country.
This is our 4th project at the school in the past few years. At their request, we provided about 50 scientific non-graphing calculators (we always need more!). We installed a hands-on science room. This year we renovated and furnished a run-down building on campus that is now an assembly/dining/study hall.

And no, Ghanaians don't speak Swahili, but since it was the ONLY African language offered, we took it just for fun!!!

We can’t think of a better investment! We give all our thanks to all you “investors”, both here in the US and in Ghana. Good work!
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