Ghanaian entrepreneur wins UK grant to fight coronavirus across Africa

A Ghanaian entrepreneur, Josephine Marie Godwyll, is among eight entrepreneurs from sub-Saharan Africa, to be awarded funding to harness engineering and business skills of their organizations to help tackle the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

A statement issued by the British High Commission in Accra said the funding was initiated by the Royal Academy of Engineering in early April as the virulence and rapid transmission of COVID-19 gripped countries around the world.

The initiative is with the support of the UK Government’s funding through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and Project CARE (COVID Africa Rapid Entrepreneurs).

It said the Academy already works extensively with engineers across sub-Saharan Africa, and the new initiative was an extension of the partnership supporting small and medium engineering businesses to re-focus their work to help address the challenges of COVID-19.

It noted that the Project CARE initiative means that Young at Heart Ghana, run by Josephine Marie Godwyll and her team, are able to support children across Ghana to continue to learn remotely and safely despite COVID-19.

Commenting on Madam Godwyll’s success, Mr Iain Walker, British High Commissioner to Ghana said: “Project CARE has rightly recognised the agile and important contribution Josephine and her team at Young at Heart Ghana have made to the country’s education system.

Josephine Marie Godwyll

“Their innovative work supplements the efforts of the Ministry of Education, to ensure that children across Ghana continue to access quality and vital education despite the restrictions and difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.”

The statement said more than 50 people applied for funding through Project CARE, and only eight were chosen to receive funding including entrepreneurs from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa as well as Ghana.

Each of the successful candidates received £5,000 to support them in scaling up their COVID response.

Talking about her work, Madam Godwyll said Remote learning platforms have never been more essential. The benefits of e-learning have been further illuminated not only as an alternative but a necessity due to the disruptions in traditional approaches to learning in these atypical times.

She said Ananse At Home, is a homeschooling program based on the ‘Ananse The Teacher’ e-learning platform, which uses stories and games to explore learning modules in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), art and literacy, through hands-on activities conducted with everyday materials found at home.”

“Designed with a full awareness of the constraints associated to access, the app can be deployed on both phones and computers through both online and offline engagement.

We believe this programme, which is part of the Lab and Library on Wheels project, is the kind of disruptive innovation that is needed especially in such a disruptive time.”

The statement said Madam Godwyll’s team have created the Ananse The Teacher App, which had been adapted into a home schooling programme called Ananse@Home.

It said the free app provides a range of home-learning modules for children aged 8 – 14.

It intimated that these modules focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as literacy and art.

Participants receive module instructions and activities every week.

It said the programme also enables parents, who were having to act as teachers, to access a network of teachers and mentors who can provide extra support and answer questions.

It said the Project CARE will continue to work with manufacturers and other partners to provide innovative answers to the challenged of COVID-19.


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