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ePortfolio of Abena Nyarkoa

I am a PhD Researcher at the Center for Education Studies at the University of Warwick - under the supervision of Dr Michael Wyness. I hold a combined BA Hons in Early Childhood Studies and Community Development from the University of East London, and a Masters in Higher Education from the University of Greenwich. My studies further include Level 5 Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (DTLLS) and courses in safeguarding and child protection. I have worked in family interventions - supporting children and their families for over 10 years in the UK and Ghana. I also host educational talk show programs on various Afro Caribbean forums and platforms. I am a gender advocate, and also an ambassador for Cancer Research UK and Breast Cancer UK - part of a campaign team that educates and raises public awareness on cancer, and lobbies the Government to implement policies to fund and support awareness initiatives.
Stories of girls from disadvantaged communities scaling in education despite the odds are common narrations - and led us to wonder why some girls have succeeded in light of every perceived barrier, while others, in the same category, have failed where every academic support has been provided. This implies that although there are barriers within the community, there are also opportunities. So why do some households see the value of a girl’s education and others don’t? Why do some communities support the girl chid's education and others don't? These are very important dynamics we do not understand, but put all communities and households as one unit.
What is it within the community that needs to be done also, apart from the known structural policies and interventions, to ensure there is cohesion - that the two come together to give more opportunities for the girl child?
What my study seeks to understand are the pool factors within the community and the nature of family politics that influence the decision to take advantage of opportunities to educate and support the girl child. By finding out those who have overcome those challenges and the factors that contributed to their success; and build a narrative of what works and for whom, in achieving sustainable improvements. This study seeks to contribute to the theorisation of the success of high achieving girls in the context of developing countries. Especially, where strong cultural and economic barriers shape the educational destiny of the girl child.

ESRC Advanced Training workshop - ‘Researching Gendered Work: Concepts and Methods - 2019

*Warwick PGR Annual Conference, 2019.

*Oxford Africa Conference 2019 - 'Asserting Africa's relevance'

*‘Haringey Trust' - Conference on ‘Reducing Health and Inequality at the Workplace' - 3/10/2019

*University of East London Conference – 'Exploring how Ghana can avoid the Resource Curse Phenomenon through its Petroleum Revenue Management Regime'. 29th/30th October 2019.