Project Nima is an organization that has challenged how the typical aid NGO works. Rather than a top-down approach, Project Nima empowers people, as ambassadors, in a peer-to-peer collaboration. The Effectiveness of this approach could really shine through with their latest choreographed dance, by Swedish and Ghanaian youth, which is now becoming a global and viral success.
Watch SVT's reportage on Project Nima's successful work to spread knowledge on Corona through music made thanks to Max Martin.
We soon noticed that people in Nima were worried and that a lot of false rumors about the Coronavirus spread and people were not reached by correct information. If the virus starts spreading in the slums, where people live so close to each other and often can't afford healthcare, then the virus would spread very quickly and have devastating consequences.
Ghana has released good information about the Coronavirus but in the slums, there are many who are unable to watch TV or read the newspaper. There are also many who cannot read.
– Sadiya Haruna, Project Nima ambassador Ghana, 15 yrs
Project Nima is an organization that creates sustainable societal improvements through ‘mutual participation’ between young people of different socio-economic backgrounds.
The organization focuses on everybody’s opportunity to create change with a large focus on transnational education with the purpose that through sharing of knowledge and curiosity creates a warmer and more cohesive society.
By sharing knowledge and helping each other reach better conditions, we can create better tools for more sustainable integration and a brighter future for a greater number of people where everyone is both a recipient and a donor.
The secret to Project Nima's success is that it forms a platform where individual actions are central to creating change, both for the individual and others.
It is not a one-sided giving-and-receiving model, but a relationship of mutual learning and development.
You should feel proud and special about being a part of Project Nima.
- Ahmed Issaka, Project Nima ambassador Ghana 16yrs
Project Nima started in the slum area Nima in Ghana, but today consists of a group of Swedish and Ghanaian teenagers. The core of our organisation is mutual participation. Together, we give each other knowledge, confidence, and experience in both directions. This is how we create change.
Everyone involved in Project Nima in Ghana comes from Nima, a slum area in Accra. We started with ten young people, all of whom, throughout their lives, have been the recipients of support from aid organisations. Through this, they had a unique knowledge of what kind help of actually worked and what kind of help didn’t.
With the young people themselves as co-founders of Project Nima, they got to participate and actively create an organisation where they could use these experiences to do something different and more sustainable.
The result speaks for itself.
Today we have hundreds of volunteers in the slums as well as around the poorest areas in Ghana. People were given a platform to create change, grow, and feel that their actions were important to others in the world.
The method will now be tested in Sweden to see if we can create the same commitment between areas. We already have a Swedish Ambassador group which are learning from their young colleagues in Ghana.
Christina Wenngren noticed that through their involvement in Project Nima, the Swedish children became more confident, creative and happier. It gave a great insight into how sustainable change is actually created, says Christina.
The organisation wants to foster societal development based on mutual participation between young people from different socio-economic areas – both within and between countries.
The involvement created the inspirational idea that "I am important in the world" - a feeling they brought back to their schools and into their private lives.
- What did that knowledge do for Project Nima?
- Sustainability is created when everyone is given the opportunity to participate and feel that their knowledge and experiences matter. It is a very powerful tool for sustainable integration and how we together can create another type of human respect. Nobody knows everything, but together we know a lot! Especially if we dare to throw the knowledge net extra far out in the world, concludes Christina.
With the help of social apps, the youths share knowledge and experiences with each other. The exchange is directed by the organizations’ Ambassadors who conduct education efforts through video calls where they together create unique education material that they can distribute among their communities.. They also call each other privately to discuss Project Nima’s core subjects or to exchange help with schoolwork. It is a platform where their thoughts, voices and opinions matter. Children in Nima often come up to the Ambassadors in Ghana and ask for help to broaden their education, but also to get help with personal or domestic issues. The Ambassadors then use the platform to get inspiration, knowledge and support.
The same is true in Sweden where the Ambassadors in Ghana support with knowledge concerning schoolwork on Africa and anti-bullying issues. This makes the platform not only into a means of broadening education, but also a steady pillar where they can find support and warmth.
This may sound simple, but it creates a unique way to create self-worth and strength in people. If you can help and support someone else, this gives a feeling of strength and importance.
And when people feel that feeling we create change – in ourselves and others.
Help must go in both directions.
It all started with a drawing, made by a child in Nima. It was sold for the benefit of “Min Stora Dag” in Sweden. This created much enthusiasm in Nima and the children gathered to sing and pray for the drawing to raise as much money as possible. It was sold for 2500 SEK!
The children’s joy at being able to help sick children in the western world was enormous.
This is how one of Project Nima's pillars was formed. Creating togetherness by helping others.
Another example is when one of our Ghanaian Ambassadors helped a girl in Sweden to feel better about herself. The girl felt stressed about having to be “perfect”. Social media, influencers, and school simply made her feel psychologically unwell. With help from the ambassador in Ghana, she learned to work with her self-esteem, stop trying to achieve constructed ideals and focus on what is really important in the world.
This changed her life - for real.
A Swedish ambassador who has dyslexia made a movie explaining what dyslexia is and how you detect if you have it. She also gave advice to both parents and teachers on how to facilitate homework and study for children with dyslexia. But above all, she taught simple tips to facilitate reading for other children. The movie was greatly appreciated and is now used by both students and teachers in Ghana. Our Swedish ambassador grew enormously from being able to use her knowledge and experience to help other children.
It created change for children with dyslexia in Ghana - for real.
Education and knowledge is nothing unique for Europe to give to Africa. We have exactly as much to learn the other way around.
In today's connected society, there is so much opportunity to share knowledge and learn from each other. We have technological possibilities to historically unprecedented connection and closeness between people, but despite this, the physical distance between us increases. This is both within and between countries. We want to change that.
The world is exciting, the world provides opportunities - but we must take care of it and each other. We do this by learning from each other, being inspired by each other, recognizing similarities and learning to respect differences, but always with human rights as a starting point. We are many in the world today and it is easier to move between countries than ever before. It makes it even more important that we not only see but also get to know the world. Everything goes both ways - just as with any friendship.