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THE 2017 COMMUNITY HISTORY WRITING PROJECT (CHWP)

The 2017 Community History Writing Project (CHWP) took place in Apam in the Central Region of Ghana, from 21st August, 2017 to 1st September, 2017 and marks the second CHWP organized by the Department of History Education (DHE) at the University of Education, Winneba. The CHWP is designed and aimed at engaging students of history, specifically from the Department of History Education of the University of Education, Winneba, in writing the History of communities in Ghana. This involves a weeklong trip to a chosen community where students collect the oral histories of the community through in-depth face-to-face interviews with community leaders, members and stakeholders. These respondents are interviewed based on their knowledge of the community’s history and events that have occurred in the past. This is used to augment other written sources of history of the community, to write a well-researched history of the community.

The 2017 CHWP indulged students in the activities of researching and collecting data to write a History of Apam. Participants of the 2017 CHWP included ten students, and two Coordinators from the Department of History Education. The students included Samuel Thompson Junior, Emmanuel Amoako, Stepen Baidoo, Franscisca Odoom, Eunice Adzayi, Perry Essiem, Abubakari Atoti Basit, Michael Nyamekye, Eric Arthur and Godwin Appiah. The Coordinators included Dr. Sylvester Gundona and Justina Akansor (Ms.), with much support from Ms. Gertrude Nkrumah. Before going to the field, students attended a workshop organized by the Department on the effective ways to collect data, conducting the interviews, and analyzing information amongst others. This workshop took place on 12th May, 2017. At this workshop, a schedule was drawn to ensure that students met deadlines to produce a book on the History of Apam by January 2018. The schedule is presented in the table below:

 

Activity

Date

Reporting Date for CHWP

27th August, 2017

Project Period

28th August, 2017 – 1st September, 2017

Submission of Transcribed Interviews

29th September, 2017

Submission of First Draft of Papers

30th October, 2017

Submission of Edited Papers

30th November, 2017

Submission of Final Work

31st December, 2017

Submission of Book

31st January, 2018

 

In Apam, the students stayed at the Apam Senior High School and commuted to the town to collect their data. During the five-day exercise, students met community leaders and other key personalities in the community and interviewed them. Also, students got some information from available private and governmental institutions within Apam. The team focused on ten main themes to ask questions, which would enable them to write a comprehensive history of Apam. These themes include the Origins of the people of Apam, Religious Activities, Conflict and Diplomacy, Festival (s), Health and Medicine, General Culture and Ethnicity, Chieftaincy and Kingship (Political Organization), Education, Economy, and Gender.

As per the schedule designed at the workshop, the students would transcribe the interviews and along with other documented sources, write a history of Apam based on the theme they choose. These papers will go through a series of vetting before a book on Apam’s history is produced. Collecting the oral history of the people of Apam was a great experience. The skill of developing questions, asking relevant related questions, and analyzing information are amongst the many skills obtained after the entire exercise. Even more, the university has established good ties with the Apam community as many of the community leaders and members were enthused about the idea and opportunity to talk about their history.

Despite this intriguing experience, a huge challenge was the short period of the project. The students have however established links with these community members and will call on them to clarify any questions they may have whiles they write the history of the community. In all, the exercise was a success and it is our hope that a well-researched history of the people of Apam would be written.