Tamale is the capital of Ghana's Northern Region, one of sixteen administrative regions within the country. It is one of the fastest growing cities in West Africa, with over 40% of the population being children under the age of 18. Roughly one third of them, however, never finish school and unemployment is extremely high.
The extremely fast population growth creates many challenges for the people of Tamale, but the children are affected the most. The public education system is underfunded and achieves bad results - drop-out rates are high, an estimate of 40% of Ghanaians are illeterate, and even graduates often lack the skills necessary for gaining a job.
Even compared to other regions within Ghana, the North is less developed and children grow up in more precarious situations. From young ages onwards, they are exposed to numerous dangers, ranging from physicial and sexual violence to child labor and drug consumption. The goal of PANKO is to counteract these dangers early as possible by helping the children to find meaning and live self-determined lives.