ESD Global graduates are empowering youth in Ghana through Empowerment Self-Defense, teaching them how to raise their voice against violence and use their bodies to fight back. More girls and boys in Ghana are learning ESD tools that can help keep themselves and others safe. Using the 5 principles of Self-Defense, the instructors, Dinah Akwei and Raphael Appiah Matei, share the breadth of ESD in their untiring pursuit to end gender-based discrimination and violence in their country.

Think! The instructors represent Think here through the game Green Yellow Red with the aim of assessing threat levels of different situations.

Both Dinah and Raphael are educators in Ghana, working together for the West Africa Center for Peace Foundation. They found out about ESD Global through their work and took the Co-Ed Instructor training in Israel in February 2020. Their motivation to participate in an ESD training was driven by their frustration around the high level of abuse against women and girls they witnessed in their communities and the desire to bring the knowledge of ESD back to their students, parents, sisters, and friends.

Yell! The students are engaging their eyes, voice, and body language to say “No” clearly as a group.

Additionally, Dinah is invested in female empowerment because, as a woman, it affects her directly. Raphael’s drive came from his desire to spread awareness around gender-based violence in Ghana. Both ESD instructors want to build self-defense skills for boys and girls, so they can feel empowered to stand for themselves from young age.

Run! Teaching through games and activities, like ESD Global does, helps people practice and learn difficult and potentially triggering skills while having fun. These students here are racing each other, thus simultaneously learning and increasing their joy.

Dinah and Raphael finished their 30 hours of free teaching in September and have been teaching in two different communities in Ghana, mainly working with students between the ages of 14 and 16. Their small group of students started to grow as word spread through families and friends and they hope to keep growing and expanding their programs as demand increases.

Fight! What are more fun than pool noodles? These students are showing the importance of experiential teaching in ESD.

When asked what gender-based violence means, Dinah said that it is the process of taking away a women’s freedom or right to live safely, happily, freely, and successfully simply because she is a woman. Raphael added that it could be of physical, emotional, sexual or psychological nature.

Tell! This young woman participated in one of Dinah and Raphael’s trainings and now feels more empowered to speak her mind and share her story!

Dinah and Raphael are two of our African ESD instructors among many others ESD Global graduates pursuing violence prevention initiatives by teaching empowerment self-defense amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

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