ASK WHY? Docs Pilot Project in Ghana Inspires Young Girls to Pursue Their Goals

Photo by
Frederikke Kreutzberg
November 1, 2023

It is an undeniable fact that information is power. Forging a knowledge-based society is a key component in the battle against inequality. Data and information are vital for development, serving as a bridge through which we gain understanding of the world and our environment. Sharing data and information is an integral part of education and freedom.

While Ghana has made significant strides in improving access to healthcare, education, and sanitation, which has in turn improved quality of life, there is still more to be done. The region also has lower school enrolment, higher illiteracy, and fewer opportunities for women. Without skills or jobs, a large proportion of young people are considered a liability, not an asset.

With the youth population rapidly growing in Ghana, so is youth unemployment. With approximately 57% of the population being under the age of 25, it’s crucial to target the younger generation. Educating the youth on their rights and opportunities through this project aims to achieve sustainable improvements, not only to address issues that directly affect them, but also to benefit their larger communities.

Doc 4 Youth

In an effort to further our vision of providing free access to those with limited access to information, THE WHY has teamed up with Network for Active Citizens (Uganda) and InspiNest (Ghana) through the joint project Docs 4 Youth. InspiNest was established to empower young Ghanians to change society by developing innovative and entrepreneurial mindsets, providing the youth with the necessary tools and support needed for success in their ventures.

Docs 4 Youth aims to present powerful documentary films that highlight human rights and raise awareness around common issues affecting young people, such as democracy, justice, and equality. Docs 4 Youth is our attempt to bring ASK WHY? Docs abroad, through the use of cinemas as the classroom.

ASK WHY? Docs brings awareness of human rights to Danish youth by bringing them out of their usual classroom environment and into a more interactive, engaging setting, allowing students to contemplate complex issues and critically discuss them with their peers and teachers. With over 6,000 students reached, ASK WHY? Docs have been highly successful; 98% of teachers reporting satisfaction with the programme and 73% of students saying they've learnt something new.

Docs 4 Youth encourages attendees to engage with contemporary social and environmental issues through watching high-quality documentary films from all corners of the world. With this project, we hope to increase engagement and knowledge on topics related to human rights through film screenings, but also short courses and workshops, promoting essential discussions surrounding important topics.

The Films

InspiNest hosted a screening of four of our documentaries to 50 female students in Sunyani, Ghana, ranging from 11 to 18-years-old: The Rescue List, which raises awareness on child trafficking and highlights preventative measures; Solar Mamas, which highlights gender inequality issues that directly affect women, and efforts made by the Barefoot College to overcome these issues through education; Sisters in Law, which follows a female state prosecutor and a female judge in Cameroon, highlighting the importance of women in positions of power; and Coca-Cola’s Plastic Promises, investigating the brand’s World Without Waste strategy in an attempt to reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the environment, highlighting the importance of building a more inclusive generation who are interested in the climate and building a more sustainable future.

Solar Mamas left a lasting impression on numerous attendees. Sarfo Zipporah, a student at Notre Dame Girl Senior High School, said:

“I’ve learnt, women are suffering from societal disadvantages, so if I’m able to empower those women, they will come out with something achievable.”

Another student, Fuseini Aiman Mandeiya, said, “I learnt from the movie that women of older age can still pursue education provided that they are determined,” adding, “also, I’ve learnt that women can do the things that seem to be done by men and do it even better.”

The Impact

While identifying these issues is a vital first step, finding viable solutions is a step further towards resolving the problems. InspiNest tackled this by inviting prominent guest speakers.  For The Rescue List, members from the Department of Children in the region were invited to discuss the topic in depth, as well as making the attendees more aware of their rights. Similarly, during the screening of Coca-Cola’s Plastic Promises, InspiNest invited guest speakers who were knowledgeable in the field to share their experience and expertise.

The attendees themselves took it a step further and decided to recycle plastic bottles into flower vases and pencil cases and hope to bring a similar project to their schools to help spread awareness.

These topics were chosen because they are of utmost importance to this group, having direct impact on the attendees. Creating an interactive environment where the participants are motivated to join in on discussion allows for more open conversation surrounding these unpleasant topics, encouraging them to ask for further elaboration on specific topics that are not typically discussed by this demographic.

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