School children in Ghana are set to benefit from a partnership between two UK organisations.

Paycare, a not-for-profit Health Cash Plan and Wellbeing Training provider, has teamed up with the Netball Development Trust to fund a programme of netball and sexual health education to benefit hundreds of pupils.

The Trust already has established projects in Kenya and Uganda, and a team first visited Ghana in 2019 – they are now looking to introduce netball to children there who would otherwise have no access to sports facilities, opportunities, kit and equipment.

Training will also be provided to leaders and teachers to enable ongoing work once the programme has finished, with support from Akwaaba Volunteers – an organisation which helps deliver projects aimed at improving prospects for children and families.

Sally Bromley, Paycare’s Partnerships Engagement Officer, explained sponsorship from Paycare would be used to enable a specialist sexual health nurse and a community nurse to deliver a 12-week programme to 20 schools based in and around Ghana’s capital city Accra.

Focusing on pupils aged 11 to 16, the programme will cover netball practice once a week and lessons on puberty, safe sex, gender-based violence, and the use of social media around sexual health. The nurses and Akwaaba will also support the schools’ teachers to be able to continue this vital work after the programme finishes to ensure a lasting legacy.

As well as the programme, the Netball Development Trust and Akwaaba will provide a year’s health insurance for almost 500 of the most deprived youngsters who have not previously had any insurance – meaning they cannot access any healthcare.

Sally said: “We are absolutely thrilled and proud that Paycare is involved in and helping to fund this amazing work in Ghana. I was privileged to travel with Julie and Monica from the Trust, along with another eight incredible women, to Ghana in 2019 and work alongside them to start developing netball in the local schools.

“I know first-hand how vital this programme will be for the children, teachers and schools involved.”

Julie Smith, the Trust’s Head of Development, added: “We’re so excited to see this new project starting up in Ghana, to help our children learn about their sexual health alongside having fun playing netball.

“Paycare’s support means the world to us, and we’re delighted that their values truly align with ours.”

Paycare will be posting updates on the programme, which is due to start in May (Covid restrictions allowing), on their blog at www.paycare.org/about-paycare/blog. For more information on the Netball Development Trust, visit www.netballtrust.co.uk.

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