The founder first went to Ghana in 2008 as a voluntary English teacher. She immediately fell in love with the beautiful country and its wonderful people.
But she also soon noticed the position that girls hold in their society despite having so many talents and so much potential. Coming herself from a background where the sky is the limit, she wanted to inspire these girls to follow their dreams. To her, the key to this is education. And so Go Girl Ghana was born.
Go Girl Ghana aims to change existing social norms for the equality of girls and the improvement of their education
We envisage a world where girls believe in themselves, they are educated, they are able to make decisions about their own bodies, are equipped to speak up and reach their full potential. We need to advocate social change with girls and their communities so they can be part of the growth of their families, communities and their country
Go Girl Ghana is a registered foundation in both the Netherlands as well as Ghana. The day to day workings of the foundation in Ghana are carried out by the project coordinator who is from the district with support of founder Leonie Heppener. They are supervised by the watchful eye of the board of directors in the Netherlands and the Board of Trustees in Ghana. And will be supported by a support team on the field, an administrator, an intern, as well as our local volunteers who work in their own communities and as such are best equipped to work with, and motivate, the communities.
GGG works with partners to make sure the change it is after is realised. We will work with a facilitation partner but also with the local governmental organisations and expanding on their already existing work rather than starting everything anew.
As of June 2017, Go Girl Ghana has become part of advisory board of the Girls Education Network in the Central Region of Ghana. This is a collaboration between the Girls Education Services (Ministry of Education), Ghana Health services, the department of Gender and several NGOs to ensure close cooperation for the improvement of quality education for girls.
President – Leonie Heppener
Finance Director – Femke Campbell
Secretary – Monica Hampson
Founder and Executive director – Leonie Heppener
Co-Founder and Director of Operations – Emmanuel Oppon Kusi
Secretary – Prince Boateng
Both the boards in the Netherlands and Ghana work fully on a voluntary basis. This means they do not receive any reimbursements for the time and effort they spend on GGG. Only transport is covered by the organisation at economy class rates.
Based in Ghana, we have an amazing Board of Trustees who will make sure Go Girl Ghana grows both strategically and financially and also makes sure we stay on the right path of change.
Lecturer at the department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Cape Coast. She is a gender specialist focussing her energy on women’s empowerment subjects.
Medical doctor in the region who is committed to the rising number of teen pregnancies and maternal health which are keeping girls out of school.
Maintenance engineer at the Electricity Company Ghana who as the only man in the group but as the Sanahene of the Awutu Traditional council an influential one who can get the men of the district on board.
The paramount Queen Mother of the Awutu Traditional council. For years a strong supporter of education as a whole and believes girls are the future.
The youngest of the group but definitely not the least important. She is from Bonsuoku and is part of our Go Girl Group there and will be representing all the girls in our organisation.
Go Girl Ghana works towards social change as a collaborative effort together with several stakeholders to make sure our change is sustainable.
Overall we work together with The Constellation on SALT/ CLCP as our facilitation partner and Origin8 as our media partner
Peer role models and volunteers
Go Girl Ghana uses the Community Life Competence Process (CLCP) from the Constellation as the method to engage community conversation and to motivate them to local response.
CLCP and SALT is a method using strengths and mutual learning to motivate communities into local response, which will allow them to take ownership of the issue of girl’s education and come up with their own solutions to create change.
The Constellation is an organisation which has made itself famous with the CLCP since 2004. They first started as a project to counter AIDS in Thailand, now the method is being used worldwide, by different organisations, in several different thematic areas. Currently groups from 68 countries are converting their challenges into action. Worldwide organisations like UNaids and Unicef apply it to motivate communities into local response in their battle against malaria and aids. But other countries apply it to community building and to create more resilience with refugees, youth, schools and job-seekers.
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When people describe me they say I am a strong lady with Dutch directness who works with great passion, especially for something she believes in. And yes I am a fighter. I’m a single mother with a background of working in a well-paid and high pressure job in Marketing/ Brand for international brands such as Nike, wanting to make the lives of girls in Ghana a little better.
Coming from divorced parents myself, I was very used to taking care of myself when I was a teenager. Not without both my parents’ support but they felt I was up for the job I guess. They made me feel like I could do anything. I started college but never finished because during an internship I decided to stay at that company. I learned so much more on the job! So I worked really hard and have made myself quite successful as a marketing project manager. Working for international advertising agencies and most recently for Nike. In these positions I worked in the startup of a new agency in Moscow and led international advertising campaigns for the biggest of brands. I have done this work as a freelancer for 13 years now, giving me the freedom to travel and experience the world. Usually 9 months’ work, 3 months’ travel.
As such, in 2008, I became a volunteer English teacher for 4 months in Ghana. It was such a life changing experience, it is hard to describe the impact it had on me. It was the most difficult thing I have ever done but also the happiest I have ever been. Such a beautiful people, so much untapped potential. One of the kick starters for me was when the teenage girl in the family I was staying with came up to me and asked to help her set up an account for a European dating site so she could marry a European as that was her only way to success. It was so striking for how girls feel about themselves there. This has not let me go since and after many years of reflection, I have made the step to go to Ghana. To inspire the girls and work with the communities to keep girls in school and as such, unlock their beautiful potential.