Shannon Bishop

The Ghana Peace Project

Kathryn W. Davis is a 105 year old philanthropist who sponsors a million dollars a year in $10,000 Peace projects designed and carried out by graduate students from around the United States. The International House in New York is a graduate housing institute that houses up to 700 students from around the world. This year, Kofi Deh, a Ghanaian student about to pursue his doctoral program in Medical Physics at Cornell University, was awarded this grant for a Peace and Conflict resolution proposal in Ghana with high school students as future leaders. Two International House residents joined him, Thomas Dyer from the United States who assisted the year before with a conflict resolution peace project in Arizona, and Shannon Bishop, a South African and former peace project recipient who works for LitLife Inc. as an educational consultant.

Shannon in the Classroom

Shannon Writes: 

The Peace and conflict resolution workshop was a two day intensive workshop covering leadership skills, public speaking and literacy. The workshop took place in a school, Boitianor m/a in a rural part of the greater Accra region. Twenty 13-15 year olds representing the 10 different regions of Ghana, a boy and a girl from each region, were selected to take part in teh program. Kofi and Tommy focused on Peace and Conflict Resolution and I worked on the literacy component and Public Speaking. LitWorld generously donated $200 worth of childrens books to start the library at Boitianor m/a.


Once again we saw how important it was to give children a variety of texts at different levels, as well as topics that interested them. We read books about Nelson Mandela, Wangari Mathai, Martin Luther King and Maya Angelou. We asked the question: If you were leader of the world for one day, what would you do? Our students then spent time writing their peace messages, answering the question we set. We then asked the students to come to the front of the class and one-by-one present their 'peace message' in both English and their mother tongue. We filmed their presentations and then played them back to the students as an exercise in good public speaking. Students then critiques themselves and edited their speeches and on the second day of the workshop delivered them again and were recorded.

 The outcome of the public speaking session was to get each student to present their peace message to an audience which was the final day Durbar, a gathering of chiefs from neighboring villages, local politicians, representatives of organizations and parents and family of the students. Here we discussed ways that the elders and older community members could get involved and assist the younger generation with their peace initiatives. Our huge celebration was complete with representatives of local government, politicians and chiefs of neighboring villages.The NGO, NACIF, gave each child a t-shirt that said peace ambassador on the back.

 While working with Boitianor m/a in a rural part of Accra, I was able to make a great contact, Mrs. Deh, affectionately known as Mama Deh. She is the coordinator and founder of the Needy African Child Foundation (NACIF). Her organization was who we partnered with to deliver the Peace and Conflict resolution workshops to the school. She suggested that the books we donated be given to Boitianor m/a school to start their library and she spoke with the headmaster about LitWorld literacy clubs. The headmaster, who was very excited about the LitClubs, said he would include his teachers as facilitators. Mrs Deh also mentioned that a volunteer at her organization, Nana Otu, be responsible as a monitor and chief facilitator for the clubs. Mama Deh is willing to identify schools and good facilitators who would be responsible for creating more LitClubs in Ghana.


Over the rest of our time in Ghana, we were working from the Accra region visiting local youth groups explaining what the project entails and how each group can create and spread peace messages to their peers.

-Shannon Bishop

The Davis Peace Project in South Africa



Shannon Bishop, LitWorld Ambassador in South Africa

I was compelled to apply for funding, and applied to the Davis Project for Peace, through the graduate residence I stay in, International House, New York. I was awarded a $10 000 grant by the Davis Project for Peace to implement teacher training using technology in South Africa, and incorporated LitWorld as a partner into the project. I completed the project over three and a half weeks in Athlone in the Western Cape. 

The incentive for the project stems from an article I read in the New York Times in September, 2009. The article discussed the situation in some South African schools today regarding lack of motivation in teachers, especially using technology in the classroom. The article was based on a school identified by the Khanya Project as being desperately in need of motivation and support to instill a culture of learning, especially through technology.

I proposed a Teacher Training initiative that uses teacher's personal narratives as a motivational tool to write personal stories using computers, to allow teachers to access and use technology in the classroom. The Teacher training project involves getting teachers fully motivated and on board by developing and implementing a technology curriculum for teachers that integrates literacy skills and social networking, and by giving teachers an incentive -to create their own digital story using technology.


 I approached the NGO, LitWorld, based in New York, and  the Founder and Executive Director, Pam Allyn, a Teachers College Alumnus, generously agreed to pilot a curriculum that integrates the digital resources that are quickly becoming the primary mode for literacy development and (LitWorld’s) core philosophy of transformational literacy in a way that would significantly impact teachers and students in South Africa. LitWorld generously supplied a suitcase full of books for children which will became the parting gift to Bridgeville Primary School to be added to their library for every learner (and teacher) to access. What makes these specific books beneficial is that all these books are being read and integrated into the literacy-using-technology teacher workshop.