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Remembering the Journey: The History of the Home Science Programme at the University of Ghana

Charlotte Anokwa

Pages: 348
ISBN: 978-145752-518-6
List Price: 35.00
Available: April 2014
Edition: Perfectbound

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This book chronicles the establishment of Ghana’s first university degree program in home science. It brings to life the challenges and opportunities experienced through the evolution of a British model of “domestic science” to a more North American-oriented model of the discipline and profession of home economics. The result is a university degree rooted in the culture and family systems of Ghana. Set within the larger context of women’s education in pre and post-independence Ghana, the book highlights the importance of the interface between the discipline and national development. The challenges of establishing such a program within a traditional university structure are illustrated, as well as the struggle to base the program in research on the needs of Ghanaian families. The book shines a light on the leadership styles and persistence of the first four department heads whose individual and cumulative achievements changed the course of home science/home economics in the country. The book covers the department’s history from its beginnings in the late 1960s and the difficulties in designing appropriate curricula and developing academic staff, through the challenges presented by hard economic times, to 2010 when the department was renamed the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. The Department is now taking steps to become a School under the newly named College of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences. Enroute we learn about the collaboration between the department and other agencies, professional associations, and potential employers which result in a stronger profession throughout the country and the growth of women and family-centered programming. The partnerships between the University of Ghana and, first, Cornell University in New York State, and, second, The University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada provide examples of international cooperation at its best. The contributions of the first four department heads – remarkable women from America, Canada, and Ghana—are highlighted.

Much of Dr. Anokwa’s research builds on the actual historic material from the department and former staff. Historical documents in the form of letters, annual reports, curricula reviews, curricula, proposals for research and funding, course outlines, student evaluations, international student exchange, staff training and all the endeavors that go to make an academic endeavor flourish, have been made available to the reader in the appendix.

Additionally, for each of the twelve chapters photographs enhance the telling of the story. For alumnae and staff, the photos will evoke memories. For other readers they give a visual account of what is told in the narrative.

Remembering the Journey: The History of the Home Science Programme at the University of Ghana will be an excellent reference book on what worked in one Third World academic environment.

Her husband, Kwadwo Anokwa, also grew up in Ghana. Currently Kwadwo works as a journalism professor at Butler University. Their three children also born in Ghana, are Afua Anokwa, who works in corporate communications, Yaw Anokwa, a software engineer, and Kofi Anokwa, legal and marketing professional.

Charlotte’s heart remains in her homeland of Ghana. She returns every 2 years to visit the extended family and the literacy project she has organized in 6 villages in the area where she grew up. She continues to encourage local volunteer teachers’ participation and raise funds for it. It is her way of sustaining the current floundering system of education that helped her succeed. Her book, Hearing and Keeping–Remembering My Matrilineal Roots (2005) tells the story of her own Christian upbringing and the traditional, non-formal institutions that encouraged her to higher educational achievement in the era when many young girls lacked that opportunity.

She has also authored professional articles on women’s effective participation in development.
Her current work as a supervisor in a Healthy Families programme continues her commitments to global care for the vulnerable. Along with this work to encourage healthy parenting, she writes and speaks with different groups on cultural sensitivity as it relates to inter connectedness of family environments.
Charlotte Ofosu Anokwa knows the story of the Home Science department well: she is part of its history. An alumna of the department from 1972, she also taught there for 17 years. She earned her Masters and doctoral degrees in Canada at the Universities of Guelph and Toronto, respectively. Dr. Anokwa’s professional background includes specialization in rural and urban extension education, extensive work in the areas of women’s educational programming and evaluation in Ghana, and providing training to middle level rural women educators in agriculture, health and community improvement. College classroom teaching enabled her to promote and provide leadership in course development, effective teaching and student evaluation. Dr. Anokwa became co-founder of the Home Economics Association for Africa and served as its secretary for the first four years. She and her husband currently live in the USA as do their three adult children.