The Presbyterian Church of Ghana has honored Butler Professor of Journalism Kwadwo Anokwa for his long-term support of education in his hometown of Obo in the eastern region of Ghana. He received an award from the Obo District regional church in April, and another from the national church in August.
For more than a decade, Anokwa and his wife, Charlotte, have funded meals for students of the Obo Presbyterian school he attended as a child. Since 2006, he has rallied Butler colleagues and other friends to sponsor the school’s annual Speech and Prize-Giving Day, a celebration of student achievements. More than 500 children participate in both the feeding and the Prize-Giving programs every year.
The projects grew out of two trips Anokwa and other Butler faculty made to Obo to inform their teaching about African culture in the Change and Tradition curriculum.
“After our 1997 visit, my wife and I decided to give funds for one meal a day for kindergarten students,” Anokwa said. Children who otherwise would not have had a school lunch receive a simple meal of a banana and some peanuts, readily available produce in Ghana. This is in keeping with the professor’s fondness for “small but efficient projects.”
During a 2005 trip, Anokwa conceived the Prize Day “to motivate children to work hard in their studies.” Typical prizes are school supplies or books; the day includes games and refreshments for all students. Six social studies teachers from Indianapolis high schools accompanied Butler faculty to Obo that year.
“The idea was to have those teachers learn (about life in Ghana) and teach those ideas,” Anokwa said.
As a result, Anokwa still makes regular presentations on Ghana to classes at Pike High School.
Over the years, Anokwa’s efforts have expanded to support additional educational projects for his hometown. He collects books for a public library and a Presbyterian university in Obo.
The chief of Obo has visited Butler to thank the campus for its donations.
In fall 2012, Anokwa will travel to Ghana on sabbatical to research how Presbyterian and Catholic church newspapers (“organs,” as he calls them) cover social, political and economic issues in his home country. He’ll explore how Ghana’s recent fluctuations between military and civilian rule has affected the newspapers’ coverage.
Media contact: Mary Ellen Stephenson(317) email@example.com