August 1st means a new year, and a new year means a new blog! This blog will be a monthly update on what Expo is doing. Each month we will will take out some time to reflect on the highs and lows of the month gone by. Things move fast here and we want to find a way to keep all of our supporters, alumni and donors up to date with what’s happening in Expo HQ.
New Year New Us (Almost)
For Expo the year ends with the school year at the end of July (well actually mid July, we all take a holiday while the students write their finals) and with the end of the year we see the end of our journey with our youngest staff members. Our PAs and interns join us each year to gain experience, grow as individuals and learn more about how they can contribute to improving the lives of those in their communities. In their time with Expo we work to help our PAs achieve their goals, whether it be applying for university, training college or pursuing their own career path. Of course it’s not all one way, our PAs have an enormous impact on the students we reach, acting as older brothers and sisters to students who, thanks to the slim age gap can really connect and find positive role models. Our work wouldn’t work without our wonderful PAs, and it is a huge shame to see them leave (even if they are all going on to bigger things).
Every ending is however a new beginning, and I’m really excited to welcome on four new PAs during August. Each year with Expo is a chance to get to know new people, and to work with amazing young people on the path to greatness.
Expo Goes Regional with HeforShe
For a few months now we’ve been talking with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, ever since I was lucky enough to meet with the national director in Accra in May. Ghana is at the heart of the UN’s global HeforShe movement, and president Akufo-Addo is the gender representative for the African Union, making it the perfect time to expand the impact of our Boys for Positive Change program.
Expo team meet with regional department staff and the Ghana Broadcasting Company to talk #HeforShe
Working on our common objectives we’ve been coordinating with the regional office of the MoGCSP to look at how we can support their HeforShe campaign in Ashanti Region. It looks like we will focus on consulting with them on the expansion of the BPC curriculum, and will in turn look to use this curriculum to build the capacity of boys clubs already being run by the ministry in government schools. We will also be working with the department on the public awareness campaign, taking part in radio debates, community engagement sessions and potentially TV spots. Expo firmly believes in working with community and government, and this work with the MoGCSP is a really exciting development for us in 2018/19
Building our Network
August is a month for training and development. While schools are out Expo works on developing its incoming staff, and this year we will also be working on building the capacity of smaller community based organisations (CBOs) already working in girls leadership and empowerment. Particularly we are excited to be providing training and curricular support for Voice of the Vulnerable, a local grassroots organisation working on hard and soft skills training for Kayaye (market head porters, usually young girls who have left school and migrated without their families). By working to build the capacity of CBOs we hope to have a more sustainable impact that creates ripples across society.
Grace addressing a PTA meeting as part of our push for increased community engagement on our programs.
Old friends and New Ideas
Charles and I had the pleasure of a visit from former Expo tutor and current academic all-star Christopher. Chris went from Expo's programs to the African Leadership Academy in South Africa and came to visit our house in Antoa after attending a summer program at Yale. It's great to stay in touch with former team members, and makes us proud to work with all Expo alumni!
Chris visits from ALA
Besides this August is a month for reflection, development and strategy. We will use this time away from programs to assess our performance in the previous year and to use to lessons learned to create a sustainable, shared vision for 2018/19. For me I see 2018/19 to be a year full of promise for collaboration, partnership, diversification and expansion. I want to push Expo beyond just its programs, to focus on mainstreaming gender issues in education by forming links with organisations and individuals at every level. I see it as a year in which conversations will start, lessons will be learned, eyes will be opened and attitudes will be changed. It is a time of year which makes me happy to be part of a dynamic and growing organisation with a bright and optimistic future.