Trading Visions and Comic Relief have launched an interesting new service for schools, in collaboration with Kuapa Kokoo and Divine Chocolate, called Pa Pa Paa LIVE. It's an online video broadcasting service, delivering webcasts from a rural junior school in Ghana to classrooms across the UK.
The concept behind it was to look at how we could create a large scale conversation between young people in the UK and Ghana. Schools in the UK can post questions in advance online for the young people in Ghana to answer in their webcasts, and there is also the facility to discuss the webcasts online afterwards.
The school that delivers the webcasts, Great Fammis School, has around 300 students and is in the Ashanti region of Ghana. It was built using Fairtrade premium money from sales of Fairtrade cocoa in memory of the founder of Kuapa Kokoo, Nana Frimpong Abrebrese, who came from the local area. The area has a strong cocoa producing heritage, although tomato farming is also an important crop and many of the children at the school are from tomato farming families.
The students at Great Fammis School are filming the webcasts themselves, and slowly learning how to use a camcorder and computer. We fund a member of staff at Kuapa Kokoo to travel to the school every month to help them do this. It has been an interesting process.
In these rural schools in Ghana, teaching tends towards a rote learning approach, rather than the more interactive methods now often favoured by teachers in the UK. We were interested in stimulating a real conversation between young people in Ghana and young people in the UK, so we wanted to see if we could minimise adult supervision and have the young people film and direct the webcasts themselves. Managing projects and expressing their own views without teachers looking over their shoulders is a new experience for the children, but seem to be getting the hang of it... and rather enjoying the opportunity!
It is an exciting journey for ourselves and the students at Great Fammis School, and we're learning a lot as we go along. If you're a teacher or student, I do urge you to get involved and join the conversation.
You can watch the first webcast the children did in January for free, then we are running a 50% discount on subscriptions for schools that sign up before World Fair Trade Day on 9th May. That's £20 for a year's access. When you subscribe use this coupon code to claim the discount: ftschools50