Educating children in Ghana about computers and information technology

In celebration of Universal Children’s Day, the Africa Online Volunteering Service (AOVS) ï»¿team visited Compassion International’s Development Centre in Winneba, Ghana, to educate and interact with about 300 children and youth in the organisation’s program.

Winneba is one of the communities that has high child labour and trafficking rates, leading to low school attendance. It is also affected by the negative influence of cyber fraud.

The participants, including staff and volunteers, warmly welcomed our team to their school. The interactive session began by introducing the children to the meaning of ICT (information and communications technology or technologies).

We enlightened them on how important ICTs are and also how privileged they are to have access to this important tool. I told them that computers in Africa are relatively few – recent estimates are one to three computers per 1,000 people.

I also informed them that most children in rural communities in Africa have never seen a computer before and the majority of those that have seen it before do not know how to use it.

I then engaged them in an interactive discussion on how they can use computers and other ICTs. They responded with a wide variety of suggestions and we discussed if they were good or bad.

After the discussion we educated them on some bad practices related to the use of ICTs such as watching adult material (pornography), cyber fraud, and wasting too much time using it for entertainment.

Together they then looked at the causes of cyber fraud in Ghana. The reasons they came up with included unemployment, the desire to get rich easily and rapidly, payback time for the colonial masters and peer pressure.

AOVS team member Douglas Opoku Agyemang then explained to them the effects of cyber fraud on individuals and the country in a child/youth friendly way and also how they can help fight it.

He related it appropriately to how it affects their education, which in turn helps them avoid being victims of cyber fraud.

Next, there was a comprehensive discussion on how to effectively use ICTs. We educated them on proper integration of ICTs into their education and development as young people.

They talked about using ICT for educational activities such as E-Learning (learning conducted via electronic media, typically on the Internet), through platforms such as EDX, Alison, USIP, World Bank Institute, University of the People, and YALI to name a few.

We also discussed using technology for research and watching educational documentaries. Lastly, the team educated the participants on using ICT for development and touched mainly on online volunteering and careers in ICT.

It was a successful event and the entire AOVS team looks forward to holding similar events across Africa. We want to ensure that the AOVS Civic Engagement with ICT Project increases access to ICT and is used effectively, especially in the education and development of young people.