Splendors Of Dawn Poetry Foundation Ghana, a nonprofit NGO in Ghana in partnership with the International Humanitarian Rescue and Relief Initiative (IHRRI), has organized its educational program, the SUN Project in Adoagyiri in the Akuapim South Municipal district in the Eastern Region.
The program was to Promote Safe and Healthy School Communities through Restorative Practices and the establishment of Readers’ Clubs in Methodist and Presbyterian Secondary schools in the Adoagyiri Community.
Dr. Ayo Ayoola-Amale, the Director of Splendors of Dawn Poetry Foundation, Ghana, stated “that Building healthy relationship between educators and students through restorative practices and focusing on that sense of community is key. It is about young people’s capacity to do things differently. Restorative practice is about focusing on capacities rather than deficits. It is about holding circles and talking to generate solutions and build valuable abilities in students. It’s about building healthy communities. Social-emotional skills are fundamental; they need to be developed and shown,” she said. “Restorative practices are a means to develop empathy, caring, kindness, and good communication skills. The truth is that Restorative practice is a proven approach to discipline in schools that favors relationships over retribution and has been shown to improve behavior and enhance teaching and learning outcomes.
During the Circle Session, John Ugbaje Pius – the National Coordinator of Splendors of Dawn Ghana, spoke to the students on how to react when other students are provoking them. He said, “Conflicts must be resolved non-violently. When this is done, it will minimize distraction and improve healthy relationships. Engaging in unwanted behavior will result in serious harm and disrupt learning for everyone”.
Dr. Ayoola-Amale disclosed that as part of an effort by Splendors of Dawn to promote nonviolence in our communities, it is pertinent to note that building a restorative community is a change process that needs everyone to be involved in applying the principles of restorative practice consistently in their lives, schools, and communities.
Splendors of Dawn has been working in communities in Ghana for over a decade, and the traditional head and Chief of Adoagyiri, HRH Okoo AnadwoAfutu Dompreh II, especially acknowledged the positive impact the organization’s work has had on youth in these districts and the Eastern region. Splendors of Dawn established two reading clubs in Methodist and Presbyterian Secondary schools in Adoagyiri Community in line with the organization’s Read Africa project. Dr. Ayo Ayoola-Amale stressed the importance of Reading Clubs in Schools; according to her, Reading clubs encourage critical thinking and increase the ability to understand others. She stressed the need for students to have deeper engagement with stories, their communities, and beyond.
Mr. Emmanuel Arthur, the Director of the International Humanitarian Rescue and Relief Initiative (IHRRI), who doubled as the program’s moderator, shared a challenging experience he encountered, how he handled it, and lessons learned from it. He admonished the students and all present to adopt restorative approaches in resolving conflicts wherever they find themselves instead of fighting. He said, “When you amicably resolve conflicts through Restorative practices, even the school will benefit because it will create peaceful learning environments for everyone.”
A representative from the Nsawam-Adoagyiri Municipal Education Directorate, Mr. Saviour Adzovor, stated that what he witnessed was impressive. That Splendors of Dawn Poetry Foundation was making discipline relevant through a culturally responsive positive school correction practice that is very beneficial to schools and communities. He lauded the organization’s programs of establishing Reading Clubs in Schools.
The event was also attended by the coordinators and trainers from Splendors of Dawn Poetry Foundation, Staff of the International Humanitarian Rescue and Relief Initiative (IHRRI), teachers from the schools and community, and representatives from the education directorate and the media.