In 2017 and again in 2018, SOI worked with Dr. Caridad Souza and students from Colorado State University (CSU) as part of a research collaboration. On the first visit in 2017, we had one-day program on storytelling by using photos with students (PhotoVoice). We met at Greater Care International School to discuss how the project would go on. Later, we moved into the community in groups with SOI students and students from Colorado State University. The SOI students were asked to capture whatever they wanted to capture in the community, and then tell the CSU students the story about the photos because they are in the community.
The second visit in 2018 was a two-day program with PhotoVoice activities on the first day (Friday), and they also introduced a new program on gender violence on the second day (Saturday), led by Dr. Angelica Murrey. For the gender violence program, Dr. Murrey gave us a lecture on gender violence and asked us to share our experiences. She explained to us that one way or another, we have all experienced gender violence, such as in the workplace or in the community. She also told us that most of the victims of gender violence are female. She also told us how in the US they handle these activities. She then gave us project work to do in the communities so that we bring out our findings.
The gender violence workshops was to solve the gender violence issues in the community. Most of the SOI team members shared their experiences of gender violence, and it varies how the US handles gender violence and how gender violence is handled in Ghana. Some people use religion and culture to handle gender violence in Ghana. In the US, they use laws to handle issues concerning gender violence. Both of the CSU students and SOI students came with solutions based on this workshop. The CSU leaders designed a three-year curriculum to help participants, researchers, and students to address gender violence, and then SOI facilitators in children could go into the Nima community and organize gender violence workshops to train children and potential victims of gender violence.
All of the SOI team members were involved in these activities. This was an open workshop to the SOI students for all those who were interested. There were more than 20 SOI students who participated in each of the two workshops. In addition to the workshop activities, a highlight was that the SOI students taught the CSU students games that they use like ampe, singing and dancing.
The workshops provided an important learning opportunity for we the SOI team members and SOI students. For the SOI students, this was that their first time doing this kind of project, so writing up their own stories was difficult. The CSU students helped the SOI students to edit their writeups, to come up with nice writeups to tell their stories using pictures. With the second visit, the kids were familiar with the project, so there was progress from the first experience. For the kids, it helped shaped them on how to do a presentation and how to work with team members. In the first time they were scared to make presentations, but in the second time, they were able to. As an SOI team member, I also didn’t know you can use a photo to tell a story before this workshop. So I learned how to use a photo to tell a story. Someone might take a picture in the same place, but it has a different story to tell.
By Abubakar Mohammed Rabiu