The Centre for Coastal Management as part of its 10th Anniversary Outreach Programme, supported the Touch Group Foundation in organizing a Vacation Bible School (VBS) for children in the Ankaful community of the Central Region, to set the tone for the 2023 HOPEFEST.
As part of the activities that were lined up for the VBS to keep the children engaged, the children were spoken to about the activities of the centre and how they are affected. Opening their eyes to the various career opportunities within the coastal zone, the children were excited and had many of them attesting to the fact that they didn’t know such careers as fisheries scientist, marine ecologist, etc., existed and found them fascinating, and desired to become professionals in these areas.
Staff at the centre always make it a point to teach children we engage about the environment and give them insight into becoming environmental advocates. This encounter was no different as Ms. Ivy Akuoko adopted the storytelling approach which captivated the children and made them interested in the subject area. In essence, the stories told shed light on how plastics could get into our bodies and unknowingly harm us.
The children were also taken through an ice breaker session, where a few seafood was projected for them to identify in their local language, Fante. While they provided the local names, they were taught the common names in English. The seafood they learned about include Shrimp, Tuna, Sardine, Cuttlefish, and Mackerel. The icebreaker set the tone for an introduction to fisheries science, where they were taught the importance of the fisheries sector, in terms of nutrition, and the economy of Ghana. They were also taught about the mangrove ecosystem which also contributes to the fisheries sector in terms of oyster fishing and were shown different species of mangrove oysters. On a lighter note, the children were taught the difference between academic “doctors (PhD)” and medical doctors, reiterating that they could be doctors without necessarily being in the medical field. The children who expressed interest in wanting to be scientists were given the opportunity to look at some organisms under the microscopes set up by the centre’s laboratory technicians at the venue of the event.
The GIS unit of the centre was also present to demonstrate the use of drones in solving problems of national interest. They were taught that while drones could be flown for many purposes, the GIS unit of the centre employs drones in mapping various attributes of interest to the center's research activities.
The children were happy to learn about the activities of the centre and were even more excited to see how young the workforce at the centre was.
The children who participated were given stationary to signify the importance of taking formal education seriously. They were motivated to strive to be the best they could be as was reiterated to them to be heroes in their own small way.