International Schools Partnership Programme

Linking Children & Breaking Down Cultural Barriers

Location: Ghana
Current Programme Phase of Operation:
New/Research
Implementation
Monitoring & Evaluation

Overview

PWA's 'International Schools Partnership Programme' has been operational since 2013 & has created effective and valuable partnerships between schools in West Africa and schools from the international community, allowing students to reach out to their counter-parts from different backgrounds, cultures and circumstances. The Programme offers cultural & academic projects & field trips which bring children together, breaking down cultural barriers, unpicking prejudices, & encouraging children to become responsible global citizens.

 

Our role is to remove the hard-work and risk from your staff in the planning & execution of what are often complex, ethical, logistically demanding relationships.

The Partner West Africa International Schools Partnership Programme Encourages Responsible Global Citizenship
VWA volunteer, Zach, teaches language in a VWA partner school in Africa
College students planning their project field trip to Ghana, West Africa with Partner West Africa
PWA partner School member Alex with his new friends at a partner Junior School in Ghana, West Africa in PWAs International Schools Partnership Programme
Partner school students express their delight during a global poverty workshop with Partner West Africa
Zach, a Partner School Student, returned to Ghana after school to volunteer with Partner West Africa to help deaf and hearing impaired children from one of our partner schools
Children planning an international outreach project discuss ideas
PWA Partner College Students interact with children from a local fishing community while visiting Ghana, West Africa
Students from UK Schools mix it up with street children in Malawi
PWA Schools Partnership Volunteer, Sophie, relaxes after a hard-days work in Ghana
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Project Aims, Objectives & Activities

 

Programme Aims & Objectives:

In our programme, we do not necessarily partner you directly with one school, but instead provide a range of options. Your school can take full advantage of our charity's full-time presence and network of contacts in Ghana to work with a number of partners, engage in projects with different schools or educational/youth organisations, and design and engage in a range of projects that both bring children together but also appropriately introduce themes of global development - themes that will be increasingly critical to future generations.

This programme is of particular relevence to schools engaged in the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Programme; a scheme provided by UNICEF to allow schools to introduce issues surrounding international development and the rights of children in to their curriculums or activities.

Aims & Objectives include:

  • Enrich young people's understanding of global development challenges & children's rights;
  • Develop multi-layered relationships between children from different circumstances that break-down barriers, disrupt prejudice, and promote cultural & global engagement;
  • Create opportunities for school pupils to visit their peers & partners in West Africa;
  • Guide children to become responsible global citizens with a good understanding of development issues, global challenges and the circumstances of children from different circumstances;
  • Deliver a narrative that celebrates all children and that does not create feelings of superiority or misfortune;
  • Reduce the burden on schools & educators to establish and fund what are often complex, ethically challenging international relationships, projects & logistics, by providing an experienced management team & all required resources, and by working closely with schools & students to create a bespoke programme that meets specific, pre-agreed learning outcomes.

 

Services Provided by PWA:
  • Attend & support UK schools to present the programme, discuss potential options and opportunities, and work with educators & students to design a bespoke programme that best-suits the learning outcomes of your school;
  • Work with schools & students to set up student management committees who will lead & represent partnerships, relationships and projects on behalf of your school, and to provide training & guidance to teachers & students on the most effective & ethical design of any programme;
  • Establish a working plan of action & agenda with your school, successfully launch your first round of shared projects & activities, and then monitor and appraise progress to determine the next phases and required adjustments;
  • Attend your school to present assemblies to discuss the programme, update you on your partnerships & projects, and provide support & encouragement to the committee and teaching staff to ensure relationships & logistics between countries runs smoothly and achieves the agreed objectives;
  • Develop educational and cultural resources, engaging learning materials, wall decorations or other resources that promote, record and publicise the programme's progress & achievements;
  • Design academic and cultural projects to engage your students with their African partners and peers, such as scrap-book exchanges describing the differences & similarities in student's lives, thoughts and perspectives; family-tree projects that allow children to research & present their cultural heritage to share with their partner schools & peers; pen-pal or 'buddy systems' linking individual students with suitable international peers for direct one-to-one communication and exchange; and designing structured group academic projects such as creating blogs about life as a child in the UK or a video of your school's history, facilities and key personalities;
  • Facilitate group communications, such as class-to-class video conferences, exchange of pre-recorded videos to introduce partnership participants, and voice recordings of your students discussing the issues that they feel are important and asking questions of their peers they are curious to understand;
  • Provide guidance & leadership on the discussion of development issues and the way those issues can be integrated in to the project effectively and ethically (the rights of the child, wealth distribution, global warming, gender equality, access to education, access to healthcare, poverty, family & community development, cultural factors in development, and other key issues that will be critical to the next generations and which will underpin the importance of the work undertaken by the fundraising the programme generates);
  • Help your staff administrate, manage and improve partner school policies, procedures & practices in relation to the partnerships, relationships & projects you are engaged in through us;
  • Work with your school to engage parents, deliver parents evenings to promote the programme, encourage parental engagement & support, and to introduce & manage the parent-led fundraising structure (see next point);
  • Design a specific fundraising page that allows parents of involved students, and all students, to make small, affordable monthly donations to sustain the project but ALSO to support charitable projects that will benefit the partner schools, peers & children in west Africa that your students will link with;
  • Create campaigns & appeals to help promote the programme, both within your school and within your local catchments area, using local press and social media to celebrate and report on the achievements of the programme & highlight the rich work undertaken at your school;
  • Assist with the review and assessment of both the programme and individual students, in the UK and in West Africa, to monitor performance and personal development and ensure learning outcomes are being met;
  • Design & arrange field trips between your school and schools in West Africa, so the partner students can work together face-to-face, explore and understand the different circumstances & contexts, visit different schools from different circumstances, and develop first-hand experience of other cultures and children.

 

Why is PWA's Partnership Scheme Unique?: 

Partner West Africa is not a commercial agent, travel agency, or consultantcy, we are a fully registered and operational charity, working in the UK and West Africa to reduce child poverty and improve access to education. Our model is built around collaboration: the 'Partner' in Partner West Africa describes our approach of bringing people together from around the world to solve local development challenges. Whether we are working with academic experts, skilled volunteers, partner NGOs and organisations, or our international school partnership students, our goal is simple: we believe that bringing people together, breaking down barriers, and building positive relationships is key to solving many of the challenges facing the world today.

Our International Schools Partnership Programme is unique in that we won't necessarily partner your school with a single other school, our expertise is built on years of experience working in education both in the UK and West Africa, where we have a permanent base and a highly skilled team of education and development professionals who understand from experience that projects and activities in developing contexts must remain flexible, broad, and sustainable. In many other school partnership programmes, common problems are often based on a lack of this local expertise: African schools lack resources and can unexpectedly shut, teachers and key staff regularly move on, fostering projects can be slow and requires great patience and a dedicated local team, so we encourage you to build programmes which support and engage with multiple schools, multiple individual students, youth groups, and local projects, providing your students with a rich array of learning opportunities and guaranteeing that the programme can always remain live and active.

We are partnered with the Ghana Education Board and licenced by the Ghana Department of Social Welfare to undertake charitable and development works across Ghana. So another key aspect of our programme is that, as well as the learning outcomes your students will enjoy, we can help your school engage in valuable, ethical, expertly designed and delivered charitable projects. Providing a sense of value and achievement for your students and helping to shape a generation of responsible global citizens.

This expertise means we understand the context we are introducing your school to and the joys and challenges that come with it. By recommending and designing multi-layered partnership programmes, in which your school can work with a range of African schools, children's groups, and local organisations, we are essentially making our charity your 'partner'. Through us we introduce you to and manage the subsequent relationships and projects that you can form with a number of different groups in West Africa. 

As an NGO working in development, this programme does not just focus on cultural exchange, but builds in education regarding development issues. Based on the age group and interests of your students, we will build a narrative in to your programme that explores the key global issues that will become increasingly critical interests of your students in future. For that reason, a partnership with Partner West Africa introduces your students to peers & partners from a very different context, fosters understanding and empathy, breaks down cultural stereotypes and prejudices, and teaches and engages your students in the most important issues facing the world today.

 

Field Trips: 

All school field trips offer students a chance to expand their horizons. A trip to West Africa not only enables them to experience a different culture, it will also deepen their understanding of the challenges we face in a global community, particularly in supporting the development of countries like Ghana, where we have our field office.

It is an opportunity to make friends with young people whose lives are very different from their own and to learn from each other. It can be eye-opening and is always memorable.

Partner West Africa has a purpose-built centre to house volunteers and other visitors on the Ghanaian coast. We work on a daily basis with the schools and communities in the area and run a range of education and environmental projects that will appeal to young people during a visit to West Africa. 

We can offer your school:

  • Experienced teachers in the UK who know what is required for a school trip;
  • A team in Ghana who live and work there and so can ensure that your trip is well-organised, safe and structured according to your needs;
  • Advice and support from the planning stages through to follow up after the trip, ensuring that your trips meets the needs of all your students;
  • Safe and comfortable accommodation in West Africa, close to a beautiful beach and local social spots;
  • Opportunities for students to spend time in local schools and work alongside Ghanaian students, providing them with a very different classroom experience;
  • Opportunities for students to be involved in local community activities and to take them to some of the local social spots;
  • A base close to Accra with all its cultural and historic outlets;
  • If required, longer trips into the heart of Ghana where there is much to explore from the beautiful Volta region, to Cape Coast with its history in the slave trade;
  • Support after their trip for students who want to remain involved or to learn more about West Africa;
  • An important opportunity to raise funds to support projects in West Africa that will enhance the lives of young people there;
  • Planning a school trip to Africa takes time. From initial discussions to after trip debriefing, Partner West Africa will support you.

At the planning stage, depending on your requirements, we are able to:

  • Advise on risk assessment and other health and safety matters and on essential travel requirements;
  • Help you, if needed, make presentations to parents and governors about the trip and answer their questions;
  • Provide an information pack on Ghana and places of interest, the accommodation, the trip itinerary and essentials that any visitor to Africa needs to know;
  • Provide information for any fund raising you may undertake to support our projects in West Africa.

Once you have decided on the details of your trip, we will:

  • Make accommodation arrangements at our Ghana guesthouse or similar places close by, depending on the size of your party and your requirements;
  • Set up school visits and any other activities in Ghana, including visits to places of cultural or historic interest;
  • While you are in Ghana, we will allocate a member of staff as your trip co-coordinators. They will ensure that your agreed itinerary meets your needs.

Once you return we will:

Keep in touch and answer any follow up questions your students may have. It is our hope that some will want to continue their links with the young people they meet there. We will help facilitate that;

Please Note: Your travel arrangements to and from Ghana, insurance, visas and vaccinations for your students are your responsibility. We will guide you on expected standards of behaviour but it is the responsibility of your staff to enforce these during your visit. We cannot be responsible for any breach of the law by your students during your visit.

A full set of Terms and Conditions will be agreed with you on a bespoke basis.

 

Case Studies:

1) Queen Mary's College (QMC), December 2015

As part of this programme, Partner West Africa, and our internal volunteering department 'Volunteer West Africa', formed a programme of works with Queen Mary's College, in Basinsgstoke, UK. As a result, in December 2015, 9 students, aged between 16 & 17, joined our team in Ghana for an educational and cultural field trip.

Please click the below link to view, download or share a PDF case study about their experience with us:

2) Harrow Way Secondary School, July 2014

As part of this programme, Partner West Africa, and our internal volunteering department 'Volunteer West Africa', continues to manage a partnership programme with Harrow Way Secondary School - a UNICEF Rights Respecting School from Andover, UK. Over an 18 month period of engaging in a range of our academic & cultural partnership services with schools & students here in Ghana, 10 lucky students from Harrow Way, aged between 14 and 16, joined us in Ghana in July 2014, for the field rip "of a lifetime!". 

Please click the below link to view, download or share a PDF case study about their experience with us:


 

Download an Introductory Brochure About this Programme:

If you are a school, parent or educator interested in introducing our International Schools Partnership Scheme to others, please contact us to learn more or click the below link to view, download or share a PDF case study that lays out the basic details of the scheme:

How can you get involved?

Volunteering within this programme

In this programme right for you?

PWA's volunteering department: 'Volunteer West Africa'

Hear what past PWA volunteers say about their experience

How we ensure you have the greatest possible impact

Raising funds & materials for this programme

What's the volunteer accommodation like?

Where will you be based?

Will you be safe?

Will you have time to socialise?

Local culture & religion

What health precautions should you take?

What language is spoken locally?

What's the food like?

What's the weather like?

How much does it cost?

Transparency: What's included in our fees?

Ethical Volunteering: Be a Volunteer, not a 'Voluntourist'

Why choose Volunteer West Africa?

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