Graduating Summa Cum Laude from Ashesi in 2007, with a degree in Computer Science, Araba Hammond (née Amuasi) was first in line for many job opportunities in corporate Ghana. However, a year after graduation, she chose to join the Village of Hope (VOH) orphanage, in Gomoa Fetteh, as Chief Operations Officer. Since joining the orphanage, Araba has been helping expand its schools facilities, which serves hundreds of children in surrounding communities, and strengthening its curricula.
Through committed efforts from the VOH team, academic performance at the Village of Hope is now stronger than ever. Pass rates in various exams have increased to near perfect, from a no-pass rate only a few years ago.
“If this continent is to be salvaged, we must improve our primary education system,” says Araba. “I want to be a part of building a new Ghana, where children look for the basic concepts underlying the things they study, and not how to commit procedures and facts to memory only to pass an exam.”
In 2014, Araba was one of 500 young leaders from across Africa selected for the Mandela Washington Fellows, as part of President Obama’s Young African Leadership Initiative. Programme Fellows are selected based on a proven record of leadership and accomplishment in public service, business and entrepreneurship, or civic engagement; demonstrated commitment to community service and a commitment to apply their leadership skills to benefit their home country and Africa, among other criteria.
Now, Araba is helping bring a new shift at the orphanage – an Honour Code system, inspired by Ashesi’s, which puts students in charge of their ethical posture and building trust within their community. In August, students in the VOH’s Hope College took end-of-term exams without invigilators, pledging to not cheat or allow cheating, against a backdrop of a national cheating problem.
In 2015 alone, over a hundred high schools were indicted for mass cheating incidents, with examination authorities issuing a clarion call for students, teachers and parents to help curb the problem. Hope College’s Honour Code, the first for high schools in Ghana, will represent a case for ethical training at lower levels of education.
“So far our students have conducted themselves with integrity, discipline and dignity,” says Fred Asare, head of VOH. “Indeed, if you train students well, and create the right culture and environment, they can be transformed to change the world for good.”
Source: Ashesi University