Ashesi University students partnered with Mediators Beyond Borders to teach a series of one-week courses for Liberian refugees at the Buduburam refugee camp, which is located in Ghana’s Eastern region and houses roughly 35,000 Liberian refugees. Mediators Beyond Borders is a non-profit organization which works with communities worldwide to build the capacity to prevent, resolve and heal from conflict. Ashesi students worked with three organisations at the Buduburam camp: two former child soldier groups, Initiative for the Development of Former Child Soldiers (IDEFOCS) and the Voices Against Child Soldiers Association of Liberia (VACSAOL), and War-Affected Children Rehabilitation Organisation (WACRO) which works to rehabilitate children who were affected by the war.
Ashesi students helped to train the groups in basic computer application usage, accounting principles, business management, marketing and investment. The ex-child soldiers cultivate farms for subsistence and also engage in small-scale commercial activities. As such, courses were designed to help them develop new skills to scale up their businesses. Participants in the courses were hungry for more information, gave very positive feedback, and expressed their need for more of such interactions with educational institutions like Ashesi University.
Now that the war in Liberia has ended, the Ghanaian government has started repatriating Liberian refugees back to Liberia. The courses taught by Ashesi students were deemed such a success that Mediators Beyond Borders has offered to help Ashesi seek funding to support an extension of the programme next year. If funding for the project is secured, Ashesi students will travel to Liberia to continue working with the same organizations to provide skills that can help them in the difficult resettlement process.