A child's eye view of life in Ghana

On a recent visit to Ghana, I visited Bayerebon School, where a group of school children film regular videos about their everyday life for our Pa Pa Paa LIVE website.

The videos are aimed at their peers in UK classrooms. They devise the videos, plan a script and film the scenes. Then a colleague from our partner organisation in Ghana, the Fairtrade co-operative Kuapa Kokoo, uploads the videos for us. We download them, do a bit of basic editing, subtitle them, and then put them on the Pa Pa Paa LIVE website. We often put together worksheets to accompany the videos too.

Kids filming a scene for Pa Pa Paa LIVE

We've been running Pa Pa Paa LIVE for a few years now but I'd never actually seen the kids filming one of their videos so it was great having a chance to do this. When I visited, they were filming some scenes for the ‘Animals around the home’ video that's currently up on the front page of the Pa Pa Paa LIVE website. I thought they were doing a pretty good job!

One of the school teachers and a colleague from Kuapa Kokoo facilitate the filming. The children started off in a classroom planning the scenes on a blackboard, writing out their lines on pieces of paper and rehearsing them. For most of them, English is their second language so this requires some focus and concentration.

Next they moved into the village by the school to shoot some of the scenes. Some children headed off to fetch some of the animals they would be talking about in the scenes. Others set up the video camera on a tripod.

Then there was the sometimes chaotic moment when filming for a scene had started but not everyone was being quiet, or someone in a nearby house would suddenly burst out singing, so various children would rush around telling everyone to shhhhh!

While I was there I gave some feedback around how they appear on camera given the expectations of a class of children in the UK watching the video. They tended to be quite serious on camera, as if they were standing up in class to give the answer to a maths question, so I encouraged them to be more relaxed and to smile. I also told them they would look much more engaging if they looked directly into the camera.

Kids filming a scene for Pa Pa Paa LIVE

It's a great opportunity for any young person to have the chance to learn the technical skills of using a video camera and to stand up and practice articulating themselves in front of an audience in this way, and even more so in rural Ghana.

Pa Pa Paa LIVE website

Pa Pa Paa LIVE brings a child’s eye view of day to day life in rural Ghana into classrooms across the UK. The website has short videos and worksheets for use in the classroom. The current video is free to use, but you need to subscribe to see the videos in the archive. It costs £10 for a term's access, or £30 for a year.