In Akuse, in the eastern region of Ghana, Legacy Girls College trains a new generation of women by providing high-quality education at reduced tuition fees for its 400 students.
This represents a rare opportunity in a country where many young girls leave school too soon.
“We founded the Legacy Girls College to educate this generation of ambitious and determined women in Ghana, women who want to leave their mark by creating a better world,” says Ellen Hagan, co-founder of the college with Essie Sackey.
Since opening, the school has grown exponentially, from an initial 13 students to over 400 today.
A red shirt and blue skirt. At Legacy Girls’ College, students are required to wear a uniform, which is also the case in most schools in Ghana.
Except that this dress code is only respected here by school girls. Indeed, this private school is one of the very few that only receives girls in this English-speaking West African country with 30 million inhabitants.
There are just over 400 students – supervised by about sixty teachers and service staff – following a high-quality education, supported by a strong educational project that aims to train a new generation of women.
“A generation of women who have a thirst for leadership and do not apologize for being women, but understand that they have a role to play in society,” said Ellen Hagan, Head, and co-founder in 2015 of Legacy Girls’ College, who also graduated from Ghana’s prestigious Wesley Girls’ High School in Cape Coast
Since 2015, the school is looking to form a new generation of Ghanaian women with core values like Integrity, Responsibility, and Excellence.
A Project With Strong Impact
To finance its expansion, the college benefited from the support of the Oasis African Fund (OAF).
The OAF in turn has received support from the investment and support fund, Fisea, which is owned and financed by Agence Française de Développement and managed by Proparco — its subsidiary dedicated to the private sector.
“We have a very long-term vision,” says Matthew Boadu Adjei, Chief Executive Officer of the Oasis Africa Fund.
“The goal of OAF is to fund and support the development of a number of SMEs with a strong impact in West Africa.”
This project is part of the #ChooseAfrica initiative funded by France to promote African entrepreneurship.
Long term commitment
In 2016, the FISEA fund, which is managed by PROPARCO, invested USD 7m in the Oasis Africa Fund (OAF) and made a USD 500,000 technical assistance budget available, which Legacy Girls’ College has also benefited from.
“One of the biggest commercial challenges in Ghana has been the lack of long-term financing and financing at a reasonable price”, says Matthew Boadu Adjei, CEO of OAF.
Even today, “Almost all the financing in Ghana is very short-term, with very high-interest rates. It’s probably one of the countries in the world with the highest interest rates”.
As with all the projects it supports, OAF has developed a model for Legacy Girls’ College that allows it to ensure there is a long-term commitment and development.
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Strong values and reduced tuition fees for a new generation of women
In both the school corridors and large inner courtyard, there are signs to remind students of the “five core values” of this educational project: integrity, responsibility, excellence, ambition, and determination.
“Our mission is to train ethical women, able to have a positive impact on the development of our society and leave a legacy for future generations”, adds Ellen Hagan, Head of this school which offers both the Ghanaian curriculum and British curriculum and supports its students up to their high school diploma.
This is an opportunity in a country where only 9% of schoolgirls went to private secondary schools in 2015.
The school charges reduced tuition fees – three times lower than other equivalent schools in Ghana on average – and has seen a leap in its student numbers in the past 4 years, from 13 students to over 400 today.
“I wanted to go to Legacy Girls’ College because, for me, it’s an institution with a strong foundation”, says one of them, who is pleased to receive “core and high-quality values” at the school.
Support from Oasis Africa Fund
To support its expansion, the school is continuously recruiting qualified staff and is building an extension comprising classrooms with computer equipment, dormitories, and new recreational areas. Several buildings are nearing completion at the school.
To reduce its energy consumption, the school is also going to be fitted with solar panels. Finally, new software to improve the follow-up of lessons is going to be installed soon and provided to students.
“We’ve developed very quickly”, says Ellen Hagan. “We needed to build all these facilities and ensure we had good teachers”.
To finance this development program, the school received a USD 3.3m investment from the Oasis Africa Fund (OAF), which makes equity and quasi-equity investments in SMEs with strong growth potential in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.
“It’s very clear that without OAF, we wouldn’t be where we are today”, says the Head of the school.