Desmond (in a white shirt standing in front), in a group photo with some of his classmates and headteacher

"I can read and speak before my teacher and peers now" - Desmond 

A few years ago, Desmond, a 13-year-old kindergarten-2 pupil would have shivered at the thought of standing in front of his school teachers or peers to speak out. Due to his nervousness and low confidence, he found it quite difficult to speak in public, build lively friendships, and actively participate in class and school-outdoor learning activities.

"I found it difficult to answer my teacher or ask questions. I also used to feel shy speaking in public and because of that, friendship with my peers lasted only for a short period, "Desmond said.

By participating in the World Vision Ghana (WVG) Kids Club events, Desmond overcame his shyness and built his confidence. "I can now stand in front of my teachers and peers and speak out. I learned to be bold through the Kids Club, "he shared.

WVG introduced the Kids Club, a learning concept targeted at improving reading and numeracy literacy among lower-grade pupils at a school in the Agortime-Ziope District of the Volta Region of Ghana. It uses a mother-language approach to literacy to enhance reading and comprehension. Through the kids' club, Desmond and his peers learn through games and play.

Learning through play or games excites me the most. I am happy to be a member of my school's kids' reading club. I have learned to read and hope to improve on it more and more," he said.

For Desmond, learning through games was exciting and improved his ability to read and understand, simultaneously building his confidence to read and speak in public. "I no longer feel shy; I can read and speak before my teacher and peers now," he said.

In addition to learning to engage in academic and extra-curricular activities at his school, Desmond has begun to assume leadership positions among his peers. Not only does he read, but he has become assertive.

For Mr Adzaku, the head teacher, the intervention improves teaching and learning and has enhanced the learning environment for pupils and teaching staff. Most of the club's activities are based on games. And you know, children like to play games a lot. This makes the intervention attractive to its members," he said.

Through the Reading Improvement and Skills Enhancement (RISE) Project, World Vision Ghana, in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES), traditional leaders, community members, the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA), and the Agortime-Ziope District Assembly, introduced learning models and approaches, such as Unlock Literacy to help lower grade students improve their literacy and numeracy skills as well as the quality of their education.