Ensuring education for girls with goats

Through an innovative scholarship scheme providing the recipients with goats, Trax will ensure education for young girls in Ghana, forestall child marriage and a break with the culture of poverty inheritance.

By Hanne Eide Andersen, Sam Subbey
Photo: Trax Norway

The Kavli Trust has since 2016 partnered with Trax Norway and her sister organization, Trax Ghana, to develop an innovative scholarship scheme that will ensure that pupils complete Junior High School in the Upper East Region of Ghana.

The Kavli Trust provides a 3-year financial support to the project from 2017-2019.

“The Junior High school level, involving children aged 12–14 years, is the bottleneck of the basic education system in Ghana,” says Vincent Subbey, director of Trax Ghana.

High levels of poverty

The project is being localized in a region where, according to the Ghana’s own ‘Poverty Mapping Report’, poverty levels can be as high as 84 percent.

“Though farming is the main livelihood, due to poor, dry and barren lands, about 60 per cent of household farms have production capacity barely at subsistence level. For people living in these regions, there is a recurrent dilemma – whether to use hard-earned money for the most pressing immediate needs like food, clothing, shelter, or to invest it in the education of children”, explains Vincent Subbey.

Early marriage

When setting priorities, the cost of the girl-child education is usually the first item to be sacrificed, and drop-out rates among girls can be as high as over 50 per cent.

“These girls do not drop out because they are intellectually weaker than their male counterparts”, says Vincent Subbey.

According to the Trax Ghana director, “the fate of the drop-out girl is early marriage, child labor, and a continued cycle of inherited poverty”.

The Trax-Kavli Scholarships Farm is located in the Upper East Region in Ghana. The success of the program depends on support and engagement of the local communities

Innovative scholarship scheme

The primary goal of the scholarship scheme is to help youth earn an education. But there is a bigger and even more important impact, far beyond the fiscal.

“By engaging the youth in taking personal responsibility, we empower them to break the cycle of inherited poverty that has crippled their communities for generations. The key is teaching them at an early age, not to expect hand-outs without personal commitments, and more importantly, that they are capable of effecting change”, says Vincent Subbey.

Changing attitudes with goats

Thus, rather than give scholarships in cash, the Trax-Kavli scholarship scheme will give the recipients goats.

The recipients generate income from the goat manure, which is crucial for farming in northern Ghana, and selling kids to pay for uniforms, books and pocket money.

“Poverty eradication requires more than donor assistance to passive recipients. Above all, it requires a radical transformation of attitudes from both donor and recipient, and in these areas, a rejection of strongly held cultural norms and convictions,”, says Vincent Subbey.

Goat farm with 100 animals

With funding from the Kavli Trust, a goat farm has been built at Kanbusgo (Upper East Region, Ghana) to raise goats for the scholarship scheme.

The farm currently holds fifty animals, and with the arrival of fifty new animals on the farm by in the second quarter of 2018, the Trax-Kavli scholarship farm will have a total holding of 100 animals.

“Some nannies of the original fifty have indications of perhaps kidding before summer 2018”, says Vincent Subbey.

The support from the Kavli Trust has also enabled the drilling of a mechanized well, to meet present and long-term water needs of the farm.

The Trax-Kavli scheme will provide scholarship to:

• Five schools located in the most impoverished settlements in the Kabusgo area.
• 50 pupils per year, of which at least 30 (60 per cent) recipients will be girls.
• First batch of scholarships are to be awarded by the fourth quarter of 2018.

In the long term, the scheme will:

• Help the selected schools develop their own scholarship and revenue farms.
• Be a demonstration farm on sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry for schools and communities.
• Provide training in entrepreneurship and enterprise development for rural poor communities.

Visit the Trax Norway FB site for more pictures of the farm and information about the project >