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PROFILE
Our work in Ghana

Ghana

Our brothers in Ghana live in nine communities, based in Accra, Damongo, Kaleo, Nandom, Tamale, Tumu, Wa (2) and Zebilla. They are mainly involved in primary, secondary and professional education of the youth, with a preference for the poor, especially in remote areas, in agricultural and building projects, in formation of religious, in work for streetchildren. Quite a number of the younger brothers is studying for professional qualifications, in Ghana as well as abroad.

 

Accra

Helping streetchildren

In Accra, capital of Ghana, roughly 18.000 socially dislocated children live their lives on the streets. It is a problem known to most big cities in Africa. The Brothers FIC are involved in the work of the Catholic Action for Street Children (CAS) of the Archdiocese of Accra, and of the Street Girls Aid (SAID). These two programmes reach about 3.500 of the streetchildren.

CAS and SAID aim to know the streetchildren and their needs and expectations, in order to console them and enable them to decide what they want to do with their lives. To do so it is vital to show love and concern to these children, and to create safe havens in houses of refuge.

We assist children who wish to be reunited with their families and co-operate with other organisations to reintegrate street children into their communities. We also provide assisted health care and health education to the children, and a safe place during pregnancy and delivery of babies. Moreover we help the children to get educated or find a job.

Catholic Action for Streetchildren (CAS)

A short history, based on information by brother Jos van Dinther, fic

In Lartebiokorshie, Accra, the Brothers FIC are engaged in a big project to help street children in the capital of Ghana. In the early days the workers of CAS met the children in the streets. It took a while before we found and rented a place where we could have good conversations with the children without noise and distraction.

Most streetchildren have jobs, for instance as shoeshine boys. They earn small amounts of money to feed themselves and find a place to sleep. We do not want them to become dependant on us, so we don’t provide accommodation or feed or clothe them. But even if we wanted to, our House of Refuge is too small to accommodate the estimated 18.000 streetchildren in the city.

Instead we try to support the children in their struggle to survive. Thanks to the Salvation Army Church we have a clinic at CAS and trained nurses are available daily to clean wounds, fix bandages and providing medicine. In the beginning the nurses also took care of the street mothers from Konkomba Market, who visited the House of Refuge for consult with their babies. Soon we received more mothers and babies than streetchildren. We then opened crèches for babies from street mothers were opened and a baby care-programme was handed over to our sister NGO S.AID, Street Girls Aid.

In our House of Refuge we welcome streetchildren and advise them when they decide to leave the streets. Most children need some time in deciding what to do and what they want to learn. We exercise social supervision on children who take the initiative to be educated. A sponsorship scheme is in place.

Hopeland Training Centre is meant for those who want to leave the street but are not yet ready to go to a school or workshop. At the Centre, the staff pays more attention to them. 

With the assistance of Misereor we built a multipurpose hall and an administration block. We also employed a permanent social worker and a literacy teacher. At the moment CAS has forty permanent members of staff. We intend to employ more fieldworkers, since the majority of the streetchildren don’t visit the House of Refuge. This program is called Street Corner Education

You can find us on the Internet at: www.cas-ghana.com or contact us by e-mail at ficcas@ighmail.com

Kaleo

Vocational School in North-Ghana

In the late 1960’s, while building Nandom Secondary School, the Brothers FIC experienced great difficulties to find skilled labour. They even had to import craftsmen from the southern part of Ghana. Therefore the Brothers founded St. Basilide’s Vocational School, which was opened officially in 1973, under the auspices of the Catholic Diocese of Wa.

The school offers courses in carpentry and joinery (woodwork), welding and fabrication, electrical installation and building technology. Basic book-keeping, English language, mathematics and religious instructions are also taught as complementary subjects. Thus we help young men and women in the region not only to acquire skills that will enable them earn a decent living, but also to acquire values that will guide them through life.

Nandom

The first Secondary School in Ghana

This school was the first secondary school to be established by the Brothers FIC in Ghana. The construction of the school started in 1965. It was admitted to the public system in 1973. The school was under management of the Brothers FIC between 1968 and 1991. After that we had to limit our involvement due to the shortage of personnel.

The congregation is still showing interest in the school, for example by helping to refurnish some of its vital infrastructure.

Nandom

Food farmers co-operative movement (NACOP)

In 1977 a project was initiated to address the food storage and marketing needs of farmers in the area. Most farmers were compelled to sell the bulk of their annual food products cheaply at the time of harvest to 'middlemen', only to buy back the same food at exorbitant prices during the lean season.

The project promoted the establishment of village groups, taking care of the purchase, storage and resale of food stuffs within their own communities. Thus getting around the middlemen, the cost of food would be reasonably low, even in the lean season.

The Brothers FIC first participated in the project in 1997, when one the brothers took over responsibilities for the management of the project. Since then the project shifted its orientation from the establishment of village groups to the promotion of viable co-operative societies. These societies stimulate the initiation and growth of a diversity of economic activities in the area.

Besides the provision of village level storage facilities, the project has also been engaged in the promotion of co-operative societies through community animation and leadership training programmes. It also supports the groups with credit facilities, either directly or via intermediaries, to provide them with the capital required for the grain storage programmes and other income generating activities.

Chinchang, Tumu, Wa (2) and Zebilla

Primary Schools

FIC is involved in five basic education institutions in the diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga. This involvement ranges from the provision of brothers to serve as classroom teachers and/or headteachers of the school to the development of the infrastructures of the schools through our solidarity fund.

Tumu

Agricultural Station

The Tumu Agricultural Station is currently managed by Brothers FIC. Their community in Tumu was originally established to cater for their members who were studying at the Kanton Teacher Training College. One of the Brothers started the Station, one of five in the Wa-diocese, to address the agricultural problems in the area. The station developed educational programmes to promote the agricultural productivity in the region.

Currently, the station is focusing on promoting animal traction and organic farming as well as other intensive agricultural practices, as opposed to the extensive practices used by the farmers.

Wa

In-Service Training Centre

This centre used be the St. Louis Preparatory School, where boys were prepared for the secondary school. After the education reforms in Ghana in 1987, the school was converted to an In-Service Training Centre, which started in 1991.

The centre provides workshops, seminars and conferences for the updating and on-going formation needs of personnel of church and civil organisations within the Wa-diocese. This is done in accordance with the developmental policies of the diocese, that wants to ensure evangelisation through effective and sustainable pastoral ministry.

Currently the centre is developing a youth programme that will address the issues of Christian formation, and a syllabus for the teaching of religious education in primary and junior secondary schools.

Wa

PEPS-C: helping craftsmen to develop themselves

The upper-west region of Ghana is one of the poorest of the country. In the 1980’s it became clear that building vocational schools and training craftsmen was not enough to help the people to develop themselves. Therefore we created PEPS-C: Producer Enterprises Promotion Services Centre.

Between 1986 and 1993 the aim of PEPS-C was to mobilise graduates of the vocational schools into viable co-operatives. However, it became clear that we should also support sole entrepeneurs, although we still encourage them to form partnerships and where possible co-operatives. At the same time we try to form an association of enterprises, to educate and support each other and work together solving problems.

In 1998 we formed a charitable trust in the regional capital Wa, in order to work closer together with the regional government and sister organisations. Without the work of PEPS-C many young skilled artisans would have left the area, drifting down to the more lucrative urban areas of Southern Ghana. PEPS-C enables graduates of the vocational schools, boys and girls, to live through gainful employment and thereby increase their retention rate in the region, thus contributing to the development of the region.

Impact of PEPS-C on beneficiaries

An appraisal team undertook focussed group discussions and interviews with beneficiaries in order to gain insight into the impact of PEPS-C on their lives and that of the general society of the Upper West Region. The following are the highlights of impacts.

Employment and retention of the youth
So far, PEPS-C has mobilised and retained 90 enterprise groups comprising over 384 skilled graduates of vocational / technical schools and other graduate apprentices. In the absence of PEPS-C, these graduates would probably not have found self-employment in the vocations that they studied at school; PEPS-C 's programme has given the encouragement, confidence and the means to the youth to engage in viable producer enterprises.

Development of work skills
PEPS-C's intervention has helped the region to develop a cadre of professional skills that has hitherto not been available in the UWR. Beneficiaries indicate that, previously, certain skilled jobs required the importation of experts from outside the Region.
Presently , most skilled jobs are being undertaken by skilled craftsmen and women from within the PEPS-C enterprise network of groups.

Improvement in Beneficiary Welfare
A few enterprise groups, particularly the building and carpentry/furniture making groups, have really improved their welfare. Their annual audited financial statements have shown a consistent increase in their total net worth over a three-year period.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






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