Our Journey

“I am a teacher, you are a teacher, we are all teachers in this world.”

Godwin Agbavor and Julia Cave Smith's paths crossed in 2015 as they collaborated on a project to revolutionise kindergarten education in Ghana's Sekondi-Takoradi region. Driven by a shared passion for high-quality early childhood education, they founded Foundation First.

Godwin's commitment to making a difference started with a conversation with a professor, leading him to become a dedicated teacher and role model for young children. However, he couldn't ignore the persisting educational shortcomings he once faced as a child – untrained teachers, corporal punishment, and scarce resources. Determined to address these issues, he focused on elevating early childhood education, often overlooked in Ghana. Over time, Godwin witnessed transformative teaching methods, notably in the early years, leading to remarkable improvements in children's confidence, engagement, and academic performance.

Julia's journey mirrored Godwin's as she hadn't planned to be a teacher initially. Drawn by her desire to help others, she started in social work but eventually discovered her true calling in education through volunteer work abroad. Julia's experience supporting education initiatives in various countries fuelled her excitement to contribute to Ghana's educational landscape. She found inspiration in Godwin's and other Ghanaian educators' determination to drive meaningful change.

Godwin, along with Charrald Bibi Kolevi and Ruth Abakah, laid the foundation of Foundation First in Ghana, later joined by Emmanuel Brou in Ghana and Julia in the UK. The name "Foundation First" symbolises the crucial role of a solid educational base in building successful futures. Fuelled by unwavering enthusiasm and team support, the team embarked on their mission, driven by concerns over the undervaluing of early childhood education and the lack of practical experience among new educators. Foundation First addressed these challenges by sharing knowledge, tools, and innovative methods to create engaging and enjoyable learning environments.

Their dedicated efforts have gained recognition, enabling them to forge valuable networks across Ghana, uniting communities and change-makers in their pursuit of positive transformation. Foundation First was officially registered in Ghana in April 2017, followed by UK registration in January 2018. Both teams flourished, welcoming more members, employees, volunteers, and trustees. Guided by their core values, Foundation First prioritises ethics over profit, striving to improve lives through their impactful initiatives. The unwavering passion and personal journeys of the founders empower Foundation First to connect deeply with communities and drive significant positive change.

Our Team

Founders
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Julia Cave Smith
Senior Education Advisor

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Godwin Kojo Agbavor
Executive Director

Ghana team
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Sabina Awortwe
Education Programme & Partnership Manager

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Emmanuel Brou
Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Manager

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Harriet Dela Deku
Education Resource Marketing Manager

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Esther Aidoo
Resource Support Officer

UK Team & Volunteers

Sadika Assaf - Design, Marketing & Communications
Fares Moustafa - Website/Tech Support
Carol Smith - Fundraising/Business Advisor

UK Board

Victor Ponsford, Laurence Fahey, Molly Ann Morrison, Clare Cave Smith

Ghana Board

Lucy Merilyn Aklaku, Dr Gideon-Mensah Anapey, Victoria Yeboah, Fidelis Gamuo, Sabina Awortwe