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Hungry for change in Ghana's schools

Born just two weeks apart in northern Ghana, 13-year-olds Sulemana and Lukman are intelligent and articulate teenagers.

A keen footballer, Sulemana is often seen shooting goals while Lukman turns impressive sets of back flips when he practises acrobatics with friends.

Both look forward to a future where they have well respected and secure careers - Lukman as a doctor and Sulemana as a teacher. But that is where the similarities between the two boys' lives end.

In or out of school

Sulemana Alhassan, 13, weeds his father's maize farm in Ghana

Sulemana working in the maize field

While Lukman gets up each morning, washes, has breakfast and then leaves for school, Sulemana makes the long journey to his father's field every day.

There he will weed, carry heavy pans of water or simply wait in the burning sun to scare birds away from the crops.

When Lukman's class is let out for a break, he runs, plays ball and laughs with his friends. When Sulemana takes a rest, there are no children of his own age around.

Lunchtime

At lunchtime too, the boys' days are very different. Because Gbanyamni Primary, which Lukman attends, is part of Ghana’s School Feeding Programme, he receives a healthy and free lunch every day meaning he can make the most of his lessons.

In contrast, Sulemana is lucky if there is boiled yam to eat. Often there is nothing at all and he picks groundnuts or shea nuts to eat. On an empty stomach they make him sick, but he is often so hungry he would rather eat them anyway.

Feeding Ghana's children

Ghana's School Feeding Programme is an ambitious initiative to tackle childhood malnutrition and it is seeing impressive results.

For parents who struggle to put food on the table, knowing their children will get a good lunch at school is a strong incentive to send them.

Christian Aid partner SEND-Ghana

In the Northern Region alone, Christian Aid partner SEND-Ghana has helped boost the number of children receiving free school meals from fewer than 5,000 to more than 50,000.

But there are many children like Sulemana who are yet to be reached.

Funding education in Ghana

This will only happen if Ghana's government can find additional money to scale up this work. In 2010, Ghana spent $32 million - donated by other governments - to provide healthy lunches for 713,590 primary children.

At the same time Ghana loses more than $36 million annually through tax dodging in the mining sector alone. Enough to pay for the programme itself and reach additional children like Sulemana.

As Edward Gyamerah of the Ghana Revenue Authority says: 'We have the School Feeding Programme in Ghana. If government has money, government will extend it to almost all schools.'

Securing tax justice

There would be enough food for school children in Ghana and around the world IF we tackled tax dodging.

As part of the IF campaign, Christian Aid is calling is asking the UK government to lead the way in tackling tax dodging to ensure countries like Ghana collect the taxes they are owed, so they can use that money to make sure everybody has enough food to eat.  



 


 

Campaign with us

Take action now >Call on Vince Cable MP to ensure public registers are created, showing the real owners of phantom firms. Let's give tax dodgers nowhere to hide.

Make IF happen

IF we act together we can be the generation that gives everyone a life free from hunger. Join us: 

Come to Big IF Belfast
Saturday 15 June

Christian Aid campaigners in London

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Resources

Christian Aid in Ghana

Find out more about Christian Aid's work in Ghana

Ghana