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2012 BN Duke Summer of Service                                                                                   G-Lish Fo...
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Rebekah Johnston in Ghana


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Benjamin N. Duke Scholar Rebekah Johnston poster presentation describing her International Summer of Service in Ghana

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Rebekah Johnston in Ghana

  1. 1. 2012 BN Duke Summer of Service G-Lish Foundation Rebekah Johnston ‘14 What? How? Why? This summer I worked with the G-Lish foundation, an NGO that During my time with G-Lish, I had a two specific projects: design and I often ask myself why, if I could have gone anywhere aims to promote economic growth through environmental jobs. implement eight climate change lesson plans and conduct and environmental in the world, I choose Ghana. The answer is simple. Their main project is taking used water bags and scrap cloth to impact assessment of the organization. The organization was actively implementing one of my provide local weavers the opportunity to make baskets at a fair wage. These baskets are exported to various countries around The Lessons Plans absolute favorite philosophies. For some time, I have the world. In addition to the baskets, they work on This was my first experience with creating lesson plans and deciding on a template and strongly believed that only when environmental format for the lessons was difficult. However, after hearing what G-Lish wanted and seeing environmental projects, including tree planting and education. what the students were capable of, I chose to have three components to each lesson: science, choices are also economical, will the environment be a experiments, and leadership. With each lesson, an outline was provided, specifying what priority. G-Lish knows that, especially in a developing was to be covered, materials needed, and activities and experiments that were paired with the country, practices such as recycling are not economical. lesson. Additionally, I wrote extensive teacher notes, detailing the information that should be covered, the format in how it should be presented, and the time allotted for each section. Through their organization, hundreds of thousands of Each activity and experiment also had a detailed description explaining what materials were plastics bags and cloth scraps are recycled and almost necessary and how to conduct them. one hundred workers are fairly paid and able to live a The science: The experiments: The leadership: better life. This summer was not about going to the The goal of the lessons was to When it comes to science, Before I arrived, the green clubs nicest beaches or the coolest places (though I did stand teach the students about climate change, how it is affecting Ghana, students learn the best through hands-on experiments where were studying leadership. In less than 30 yards from an elephant), it was about addition to learning about the Finished basketsbeing collected in the The original school and what they can do to help they can see the effects of the environment, I wanted to continue helping an organization help others based on a belief I Weavers collecting the twisted where the green mitigate the effects. Each lesson processes they are studying. I incorporating leadership in the village cloth and plastic at a central clubs started was about an hour long and the thought it was paramount to green clubs. Therefore, at the hold firmly. weekly distribution overall curriculum covered provide each lesson with at least beginning or end of each lesson, I everything from the facts about one experiment, if not more, to added a leadership or team climate change to tree planting engage the students and to show building activity. By encouraging collaboration, I hoped to enable the Where? and recycling. I tried to write the them the science directly. When Human Knot Activity with the material in a way that would they can see the greenhouse students to work together both in and outside of the club. Dugulu Green Club engage the students and effect in action, or how heavy emphasize the importance of the rain causes erosion, or how trees information they were learning. improve the environment, they I worked in Northern Ghana, understand so much more. about a 45 minute cab ride from the border of Burkina Faso and two hours west of the border of Togo, in a small town called Canoeing near Bolgatanga (more often simply Mole National Park called Bolga). Ghana is about as long as North Carolina is wide, A weaver trying out a new Teaching a green club however, my journey from the capitol, Accra, to Bolga was a 14 Map of Ghana method that allows for better, more comfortable posture. in a local school Students in a classroom at Shout outs hour bus ride along some very bumpy roads. I was there The Environmental Impact Assessment 1. I would like to sincerely thank Don Taylor and Jenny Crowley during the change from the dry This aspect of my internship was actually very difficult. I researched environmental assessment models other for all their support. I would not have been able to learn and season to the rainy season and organizations and companies used and applied a modified version to G-Lish. I broke down the assessment into grow as much as I did this summer without their help. got to experience magnificent impacts on air, water, and land. Both positive and negative actions were incorporated to see if the overall impact of 2. I want to thank Sarah Stacke for helping me with the process G-Lish was positive or negative. G-Lish had a huge environmental impact through their shipping operations across thunderstorms and the transition the world, travel on an old, inefficient motor bike, and travel of employees and volunteers from various countries. of finding the organization and receiving funding. from a dusty, dry earth to a This was offset by the large amount of plastic bags (in the hundreds of thousands) and cloth (thousands of pounds) 3. Lastly, I want to thank my parents for being extremely Showing students a world map beautiful, luscious green plain. and comparing where I live to that were recycled and kept from polluting the land and water or being burnt, as well as the trees they planted. supportive through my endeavors and decisions, both good Furthermore, I briefly looked at the economic impact the organization had, which, though quantifiable, was where they live priceless to the families that could eat healthier, send their children to school, and have the capitol to start new and bad! businesses.