Since the start of the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary education programme in 2005, 59 education scholarships have been awarded. 48 scholarships were funded by Friends of Wechiau and 10 by the Sanctuary Management Board from other funders. As 3 scholarships were for students receiving an additional scholarship for study to gain a professional qualification this means the total number of students receiving scholarships is 56.
43 students were male and 13 female, 33 were from Wechiau and 23 from surrounding villages.
The majority of scholarship students that have completed their senior secondary school education have gone onto further study including training to be teachers, nursing and secretarial and management studies. One student achieved a first class honours BSc in Disability and Rehabilitation Studies and another a BSc in Civil Engineering at the University of Science and Technology in Ghana.
Over the 11 years of the scholarship programme only one student (funded by the Sanctuary Management Board) has discontinued their studies and dropped out of the scholarship programme.
The students receiving scholarships are required to undertake voluntary work at the sanctuary for 12 months after completion of their education, usually as tour guides or in teaching. Most beneficiaries have complied with this requirement although for some this has been delayed whilst they continue their studies after finishing senior high school.
Our first student was Adams Yussif. Yussif at the time of his first year in senior secondary school was a 20 year old young man who had shown a commitment to higher education when he qualified to attend senior secondary school during 2004, but was unable to attend through lack of funds. Yussif has lost his father and his mother may have a terminal illness.
After completing Senior High School Yussif became a tour guide at the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary and is now studying to be a teacher.
We are grateful to Donna Sheppard (Calgary Zoo) and R.Y.Abudulai Issahaku (Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary) for supplying many of the photographs displayed on this website.