Over the last three months I’ve been working on a new service for schools, launched by Comic Relief and Trading Visions, in collaboration with Kuapa Kokoo and Divine Chocolate. It’s called Pa Pa Paa LIVE, and it’s an online video broadcasting service, delivering webcasts from a rural junior school in Ghana to classrooms across the UK. The idea is that schools in the UK can post questions online for the young people in Ghana to answer in their webcasts, and post further comments and questions after each broadcast has taken place.
The school that delivers the webcasts, Great Fammis School, has around 300 students and is in the Ashanti region of Ghana. It was built using Fairtrade premium money from sales of Fairtrade cocoa, in memory of the founder of Kuapa Kokoo, Nana Frimpong Abrebrese, who came from the local area. The area has a strong cocoa producing heritage, although tomato farming is also an important crop and many of the children at the school are from tomato farming families.
The students at Great Fammis School are filming the webcasts themselves, and slowly learning how to use a camcorder and computer. We fund a member of staff at Kuapa Kokoo to travel to the school every month to help them do this. It has been an interesting process.
In these rural schools in Ghana, teaching tends towards a rote learning approach, rather than the more interactive methods now often favoured by teachers in the UK. We were interested in stimulating a real conversation between young people in Ghana and young people in the UK, so we wanted to see if we could minimise adult supervision and have the young people film and direct the webcasts themselves. Managing projects and expressing their own views without teachers looking over their shoulders is a new experience for the children, but seem to be getting the hang of it… and rather enjoying the opportunity!
Overall, it’s an exciting journey for ourselves and the students at Great Fammis School, and we’re learning a lot as we go along. Teachers and students may be interested in watching the first webcast the young people made here, and finding out more about the service here.