Kamara Sexualkundelehrer

I am Kamaradini Osmanu Narwortey and I´m 26 years old.
When I was young, I wanted to become a football star or join the military. Football is still my passion, but for a profession, I diverted to a whole different direction.
I am from Tuba, a small Muslim community in Accra. Until I was 18 years old, Tuba had only one school, and many of the children were not able to attend it. But then, a new school was built and I decided to work as a teacher. At that time there was only little money for schools, my monthly salary was only 30 GH₵. But that was not important to me, because I mainly wanted to help the people in my community. I actually taught all subjects from grades 1 to 8 for a time of seven years.

In September 2012, the headmaster addressed the teaching staff to tell us about a Ghanaian-German NGO, which taught sex-education in Ghana and which wanted to come also to our community. From the first moment, I was excited because I knew how important this issue is for the Ghanaian society. Very few parents here talk openly to their children about issues such as sexuality. However, many young people are sexually active without having the knowledge of what they do. Mostly, they can’t even ask questions because the topic of sex is still a taboo.

Kamara Sexualkundelehrer
The day when the NGO “Boa Nnipa” came to us to introduce itself at the Parents-Teachers-Association´s (P.T.A) meeting, I offered to translate for them because in Tuba only a few people speak English. Boa Nnipa is Twi and means “help the people”.
After the introduction, I talked a bit more to the people of Boa Nnipa. And then everything happened very quickly. A short time later, I attended one of their seminars and was trained as a sex education teacher. Since October 2012, I teach around 300 Children every week about the topics such as “anatomy of sex organs”, “puberty”, precaution and sexual rights.

The last is the most important issue in my opinion. Hardly any of the children that I teach had ever heard of it. And this has serious consequences in practice. Sexual abuse is a major problem in Ghana. The young people do not know that it is for them to decide when and with whom they want to have sex, and do not know that they can say no, and that they should talk with someone about it if something happens to them.
For many of them, it is understood that the man marries a woman to have sex with her and he therefore has the right to force her to have sex with him if he wants to. We are the first to tell them that forced sex in marriage is abuse and rape.

I think sex education is also important in Germany. But there, it is surely easier for the teachers because there is a broader awareness of the importance of the issue and also, because the parents talk openly with their children and, thus, already create a basic knowledge.
Every time I see the astonished faces of the children, I get newly motivated, because it shows me the importance of what we achieve. At my old school, children no longer call me Kamara. In Tuba I am just “Boa Nnipa”.


Katrin Sexualkundelehrerin

My name is Katrin Putschbach and I am currently working as a sex educator for youth groups at the Berlin family planning center BALANCE.
I got my first experience with the issue of sex education when I did an internship for my studies in educational sciences. At that time, I conducted class sessions where the young people were allowed to discuss topics of their choice. I don’t know if it was still due to my unconscious interest in the subject or just because of the children, but the themes of “love, friendship, sex” were by far the most popular topics of discussion.
I realized in that time that I like both the work with children and adolescents, as well as the topic of sex education, and so while I was still studying, I planned my entry into the workforce at a small advice center of “Pro Familia”, which is one of the largest sexual counseling centers in Germany.

Katrin Sexualpädagogin
When working with children and young people, practical experience is the Alpha and Omega. Because of my volunteer work during my studies, I already knew methodological basics, but I really matured in my job gradually. I have been working for BALANCE for seven years now, and give lessons in sex education for classes that visit us on a regular basis. Most of the employees also do cross-section tasks, so that sort of I became an assistant to the management by now.
We support children and young people on their way to becoming sexually matured, and to set the basis for sexual health. Currently, we have far more requests from schools than we can cover. The need in this area is immense. However, at the moment, we are affected by financial cuts; in the whole of Germany the section of sex education is underfinanced.
But this is a problem of preventive work: the consequences of missing prevention are not calculated in advance.
BALANCE teaches children from the second grade to vocational school. However, the focus of our work lies on the nine- to fifteen-year olds, an age, where most of the changes occur, in which the children begin to ask the most questions on the subject. When we teach fifth graders and those above, we separate the sexes, and I am responsible for working with the girls. This approach can be seen critically, which is never the less important for practical work. I think at this point, I am also a bit feminist, because the work with the girls is especially precious to me. I want to teach them that sex should be something beautiful, that they are also allowed to say no, and they don’t have to define their worth through their sexual contacts. Of course, it is also important not to judge if someone decides to have a frequent change of partners. This is of course legitimate.
The “hot topics” in most classes are, also due to the age of the target group, issues of adolescence:
“I have not had my period yet. Am I normal?”
“I have my period already too early. Am I normal?”
“I am in love but he/she is not in love with me. What should I do?”
And then, of course, a look ahead or into the future… “What about sex?”

Overall, our teaching sessions don’t last longer than one and a half hours. Some of you may be wondering how much you can possibly achieve in such a short time. But when I see how some of the students leave the room relieved, how we took a load off their minds, then I am always convinced that these experiences will continue to have an effect on them. Also, when I talk about my job at parties and celebrations, I often get to hear stories from the people about their first lesson in sex education. Also, I still remember mine, even though it was not very good and although you cannot remember most of your school hours.
It is a nice thought that I can give 90 minutes to these children, which they may remember for a lifetime. Who knows, maybe in thirty years they attend a party and talk about my lesson?
The interactive methods as important features of our work are only possible because we are working in our premises and with group sizes of about 15 students. I can imagine this is hardly possible in Ghana with class sizes of over 40 students, and I truly have a lot of respect for every teacher or educator who can keep such a large group at it.

Sexual Rights: For all of us they form an indispensable basis for an independent life.

However many people cannot imagine what it means if these Rights are restricted. Since their ensuring appears to us as something so taken for granted, many do not even know that they exist.


In the summer 2013, in a period of 3 month I created the exhibition “16 stories about sexual rights”.  It presents 16 people – 8 from Ghana and 8 from Germany – and the stories they have to tell, which are all in some way related to the topic of sexual rights.

In the next year we will frequently upload some of the photos and stories of the exhibition to reach more people in order to create awareness on the diverse ways in which sexual rights affect our lifes and to make visible and accknowledge the work of those who make sure that those rights are guaranteed-for everybody!

With the help and support of many friends and partners the exhibition has developed in a way I never could have imagined : The Boa Nnipa team in Ghana uses the exhibition to tour rural areas and to educate people with the method of interactive theatre on sexual rights topics, to encourage them to find sustainable solutions for the current problems themselves. The exhibition in Ghana has been supported by the Goethe Institute

In Germany we use the exhibition to educate students not only on sexual rights but also to question certain sterotypes concerning africa and to discuss not only differences but especially similarities between the two cultures and try to encourage them to engage themselves socially on an international level.

The problems in connection with this subject ,may it be STDs or unwanted teenage pregnancies, are all too often associated with countries of the global South, while the solutions are presumed to be more likely in the countries of the North.
From the outset, the basic idea of the exhibition was to deconstruct these stereotypes by showing that the lack of ensuring sexual rights is a global problem, and that the great potential of both societies, the German and Ghanaian society lies within those humans that have identified the issues and fight to ensure that these human rights are guaranteed everywhere, and for everybody.
The people I’ve met in both countries have confirmed to me through their commitment and the work they are doing in this assumption, and given me new strength for the sex education project of Boa Nnipa.

Again I would hereby like to thank all the models and all the supporters who made the project possible in the first place, that enriched me with their impressive life stories, helped me to further question my own thoughts critically, and enlightened me again and again.

I hope you will feel the same.

– Carla

Time flies… And so did we: Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg – by now the whole German team has returned to cold and snowy Germany. And even though we had to face one or the other obstacle on our way, we can proudly look back on what all of us have achieved.
Also, we can comfortably wait for what’s ahead of us, as we have found a great team and grown into a real Boa Nnipa-Family within the past seven months.

Kopie von IMG_3313

Nevertheless, not everything was and is easy… As Carla already mentioned in her last entry, especially the Ghanaian bureaucracy gave us a lot of headache. As you might know, we are (and were already) working with the permission of the Ghana Education Service to teach in each and every basic school all over Ghana, within the scope of our Sexual-Education program. And until then we’ve never been troubled for other documents, nor have we been told by authorities that we might need special documents, in order to continue with our project.

But the day came, that one headmistress wouldn’t allow us to teach in her cluster of schools, unless we were able to show her permissions of sub-departments of the Education Service, in charge of the area her school was located at.
For this matter it is important to know, that similar to the German system of “Bundes-, Landes-, Regional- and Kommunalebene”, the Ghanaian Education Service too, is divided into many sub-departments that work more or less independently.
So we had to learn the hard way how (and how slowly) this system works by going through each and every of these departments to receive a letter, supporting the one we got from the headquarters of the Ghana Education Service. If Ghana teaches you anything, it’s definitely to have patience and tolerance. This is why Sammy and I, but especially Sammy, spent hours and hours in offices, sweet-talking to officers and trying to convince them to issue a letter, allowing a program to operate that had already been allowed to operate on a national level. Despite the inconvenience this procedure meant for us and the time we lost in the process, we are now officially allowed to at least teach in every district of Accra. In future, in case our project expands, we would have to go through the whole process again in other regions – but then, that’s just the way it is. And apart from time and nerves it doesn’t cost us anything.

But enough of Ghanaian bureaucracy; let’s have a look at what we, or rather our team of teachers, have been doing until our date of departure.

IMG_2944Being responsible for the content and quality checks of the teachings, I can say that I am very pleased and really proud of the development that our teachers have undergone. Seeing them on their first days of teaching and seeing them now is just two different worlds. All of them are confident, not only with the content they are teaching, but also in their appearance. They have developed teaching methods and metaphors in a way we could’ve never done. They have authority, while still being like a brother, sister or friend to the students. And in each and every lesson we can see, that when Nelson Mandela said “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.“, he was right on point. We see that the kids happily accept the opportunity to listen to their native language, to ask questions in their native language; the opportunity to understand – especially when it comes to such a personal topic as sexuality and sexual education. We can see that what we are doing has an impact. Maybe not on all of the 8000 kids we have reached out to so far, but definitely on some, probably on many. We see it in their faces while we teach and in the questions that they ask.
And then there are some individual stories, which make us happy and show us even more that we are on the right track, even though it’s a bumpy road sometimes.
There’s the seventeen-year old girl who got pregnant at age 15, dropped out of school due to the pregnancy (but also because of being ashamed) and lost her child after birth. She took part in our first seminar, because she wanted to educate her peers, so that they could learn from her story. But she also got to understand that she is not alone with her fate and that something similar could’ve happened to anyone, anywhere. She is now preparing to go back to school to continue her education and is still in regular contact with our team.

IMG_4175There’s a sixteen-year old boy, whom our team taught in school and who later told us, that because he was educated on his sexual rights, he decided for himself that, due to his religious beliefs, he wanted to stay virgin until he gets married, even though his peers were trying to pressure him into his first sex-adventure.
And then there’s the little girl that is being abused by the husband of her older sister, but never dared to tell anybody, because she didn’t want to destroy her sisters marriage. She turned to our teachers for help, who have now referred her to our co-op-partner, the Ark Foundation, which takes care of victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Of course, we will never know all the stories and if and in what way we influence the lives of the thousands of other kids that we’ve taught already and of those we will be teaching in future, but then even if it was just for the three of them, for me, it would’ve perfectly been worth all the time and effort.

If I look back now, I can say that we’ve achieved all that we wanted and more than I thought we would in this short time and that Carla, Jeff, Antonia, Nina and I can return to Germany with piece of mind, because we know that our project is safe in the hands of Sammy, Agyengo, Kamara, Mary, Nico, Augustina and our new intern Axel.

Good Bye Ghana, Helloooo Germany!

– Ragna

I’m a 35-year-old woman, married. I’m selling plantain chips on the roadside. My husband is a contractor and therefore the main breadwinner. We have 3 children already, but my husband insists on having at least 6 more. I don’t really want to have more children, but if I express that feeling my husband beats me and threatens to marry somebody else.


This is one of the identities, the participants of our sexual education seminar had to think themselves into. In our seminars, we always focus on Sexual Rights. The “Identity game” puts the participants in a situation where they have to identify the different ways one can be denied of his or her sexual rights, autonomously.

The women you see on the streets of Accra are loud, laugh a lot and are not afraid at all to fight with anybody, no matter man or woman. Women are important breadwinners for their families and play an essential role for the economy. They account for 80% of the subsistence economy in Ghana.

However, gender stereotypes are deeply rooted in the society and conservative structures can be found in most of the Ghanaian households: Within the ‘extended families’ women take care of the children and the typical house works, while men are typically the heads of the families and the ones making decisions. Violence against women, especially domestic violence is still an undeniably big topic in Ghana. And if we take a look at manager positions in big companies or seats in the parliament, what we see are mainly men. (Not to say that this is a typical Ghanaian Problem. Just take a look at Germany!)

In the younger generations some of these old-fashioned behaviors and ways of thinking are changing. But still, even in relationships of young people, most Ghanaian girls expect their boyfriends to buy them mobile phones and spend a lot of money on drinks and food.
The guys in return don’t hesitate to call or whistle at any girl walking by on the street, holding her arms firmly, even if she doesn’t want it.

Closing the gap between the chances in life a man has, compared to those of a woman is one of the aims Boa Nnipa is working toward to. Through our seminars we give young Ghanaians a chance to take part in solving the root causes of problems in their society, rather the being the root cause themselves. In order to achieve this goal it is essential to create gender equality at work as well. In our last seminar we were therefore looking for two new women to team up with our two teachers Kamara and Nico.

Due to the experiences we had made with young Ghanaian women, being a bit close-lipped, uninterested and shy to talk about topics like sex, we were a bit skeptical at the beginning, whether we could really find two women who would fit our expectations.
The six young women that took part in our seminar showed us that our fear was definitely


unwarranted. Most of them were really interested, actively participating in all the discussions and games and even had some prior knowledge on the topic. Although it is hard to describe what made

the difference, I can say now that the dynamic of this seminar was different compared to the other, where we had 5 guys and only one girl participating. With Mary and Augustina we have found two great new sexual education teachers who are really motivated in doing social work and therefore committed to work for Boa Nnipa for one year. Read their motivations here.

IMG_1481The great support of Kamara and Nico, who took responsibility for some of the topics made it much easier for us and is an important step towards our goal of personal sustainability and the independent work of the Ghanaian Boa Nnipa team.

It’s been three weeks since our new teams have started teaching. With double the amount of classes they have been able to reach out to 1700 children, just in one month. In these lessons it has already shown several times how important it is for the children to have one teacher of their own sex around to ask personal question. Especially the girls, who ask a lot of questions about menstruation, like to talk to Augustina and Mary personally, because they are mostly feeling shy to ask these questions in front of the class.

In the meantime Sammy and Agyengo, our two project coordinators, are diligently working on fixing dates with the schools to fill up the teachers schedules. Beside that, they have started to do an evaluation in order to get an idea of the level of influence our teachings have on the children. The Ghanaian bureaucracy and the educational system in general have complicated matters for them, time and time again. Read about this in our next blog!

– Carla

We’re back in full swing after a joyful Christmas-and-New-Year’s-Break. Naturally, the end of the year is a time for self-reflection. Suddenly you feel the necessity of reliving moments of the past 12 months; The pressing urge of contemplating about the many ups and downs; And the indispensable need to ask yourself if some things could have gone better, or what exactly it was that made some moments seem so positive and rewarding, yet others so negative and shitty.

In comes New Year’s Eve and with it the chance to do things right this time, to improve situations or pledge to continue following a successful path.

We as an organisation have also been doing our fair share of introspective and came up with two New Year’s resolution that will hopefully help to achieve our aims:

One of those aims has always been to put quality over quantity. And though we set ourselves lofty expectation, in terms of the amount of students we want to reach out to (8000), we’ve always felt a stronger obligation to have an effective and sustainable impact on the (sexual-) life of a few, rather than scratching on the surfaces of many.

This sounds awesome on paper, but poses real difficulties in real life. It’s just that ‘effective impact’ is really hard to measure, given that we hope to entice a change of perception, or even behaviour, in very limited time.
Still, we have realized that one of the measures we can take is – plain and simple – the good ol’ testing of knowledge. We want to evaluate an adequate sample size of students and, through targeted questioning, hopefully find out if we have been able to transport our values and the basic sexual knowledge that we believe every human being in the 21st century should have.
Albeit, this is not the answer to the riddle, it will give us a sufficient assessment of our teaching units and help to lay a foundation, on which we can build further evaluations. The results of the first round of evaluation will be released in early March, but don’t worry you’ll hear it here first.

After losing the services of Cliff and Evelyn due to job opportunities (I was tempted to write “the gruesome cold hands of the corporate world” ultimately deciding against it, because it might would’ve been a little bit over the top…well… there… I said it anyway) we found ourselves in a bit of a personnel shortage. However, due to the great efforts of our remaining teachers, Nicholas and Kamara, we we’re able to keep our pace, finishing of the year – or two and a half month, I should say – in style: 17 schools, 69 classes, 2343 students, 3 zillion gallons of sweat, 2 five day seminars, 1 teacher training and masses of condoms!

Still, the fact remained that we were down two teachers and had yet to decide how we could effectively avoid further teacher dropouts. It was clear to us that, in order to find new teacher that would commit for a longer period of time, it was inevitable to minimize the factors that had led to Cliff and Evelyn leaving us. We had to accept, that applying the same standards we had set for ourselves (=voluntarism) to the economical situation over here in Ghana, just wasn’t working. We had hoped that our teachers would find enough time beside their engagements with Boa Nnipa to do part time work and earn extra money, in order to satisfy their financial needs, but the truth of the matter is: there are no 400 Euro jobs, no BAföG and most of the time no financial support by the families, at least not to the extent where young people can go and follow their desire to be socially active.

To us, expanding the working hours to almost fulltime and increasing the teacher’s allowance to 300 Cedi (125 euro) serves as a good way to enable our teachers to fully commit to their   developmental work for Ghana, without losing integrity, in terms of the social aspect being the primary motivation. Of course, we could have also gone the other way by cutting down the working hours and getting more people on board, but that in our opinion would have decreased the quality of our teachers and maximised the amount of energy we would have to spend, in order to get everything and everyone organized, up-dated and truly taken care of.

The tricky thing about new years resolutions is, of course, that they tend to be broken. But not this year… we promise!

– Jeff

Facing the winter break, it is time to look back on some challenging, work-intensive but nevertheless awesome three months of working with and for EBAN here in Ghana.
This week our teachers went to their last classes before the exam-time begins and the students go on their Christmas- and new-years-holiday. So far we have reached out to more than 2000 students and spread our knowledge and values among them.
In two one-week seminars we trained our four teachers as well as at least five multipliers and contact persons on the matter of sexuality and sexual education. We held our first workshop for school-teachers, formed co-operations and, together with our teachers and supporters, developed new ideas and plans to spread our knowledge not only in day-schools, but also within boarding-schools and church-groups as a part of adult education.

All in all, I would say that we have accomplished what we had planned for


and that looking back, we can be proud of what we have achieved as a team, the development each and everyone of us has gone through and of how we have grown together.
Still, from January onwards, we will have to make some changes and improvements concerning our content as well as our structural work. On this note we’ll talk some other time though.
It is also time to cherish the work our colleagues are doing back in Germany to keep our project going and to improve Boa Nnipa as a whole.
Our team around Antonia, Nina and Matthias is – excuse my language – working their asses off to keep us going, to make us greater. And we are damn happy and even more proud to have them in our midst and about the awesome work they pull up beside jobs, university studies and the little time they have left for their private lives!


Lately, our team in Germany has gathered more people who support us with their knowledge, their skills and their time. We have designers, helping us with new flyers, info-sheets and appreciation cards for supporters, we have people taking care of our website and our various internet-platforms, nurses, assisting us with regards to content and many other people supporting us with all the “little” things.
While we are spreading our knowledge and values over here, Antonia, Nina and Matthias are working to improve Boa Nnipa’s structure and efficiency, raise funds as well as awareness and share our ideas with like-minded people.
For the past two months and the upcoming months until the end of February 2013, they have been (and will be) participating in a program called ‘start social’. This program, under the patronage of 148458_432884870104649_427484540_nGerman chancellor Angela Merkel, supports young project-makers, NGO’s and socially engaged people to improve and professionalize their work by providing them with a team of professionals who voluntarily counsel those social projects.
As we wanted, our coaches Maria and Arno are especially helping us to improve our fund raising skills, but they also help us to improve our structure and working efficiency in general. In weekly meetings the five of them work on the challenges we face. Antonia, Nina and Matthias are loaded with tasks they have to work on and complete until the following week. So far they have already improved our working structure in Germany as well as in Ghana, have made aim-oriented plans for the future and held a presentation in front of other ‘start-social’ participants.

I’d like to end with a word to our German team:
We are truly excited to see what else you are going to do and achieve and we look forward to learn from you when we are back. And I can’t say it enough, even if you don’t want to hear it, we don’t take what you do for granted, we couldn’t imagine anyone better for the job you do and we can’t wait to have you here to finally show you what we and what you are doing all this for!

– Ragna

P.S.: We wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
And oh, we finally did get our passports back and we are allowed to stay – as volunteers! 🙂