Our AGM was held on Zoom on 25th June 2020. Jo Hallett, our Honorary Secretary, gave us this report:
Ghana School Aid is still a thriving charity!
We were recently asked to calculate the number of lives impacted by our grants. In a 12-month period, we regularly support projects in 32 schools. At a rough estimate the average number of pupils in a school will be 200 – so that’s 6,400 new children and adults who benefit in one year!
The wide range of projects supported is reflected in the wonderful 2020 Newsletter, and page 3 of the Treasurer’s report lists all of them. Projects included cement to replace mud floors, the roofing of classrooms, fitting windows and doors, building a toilet block and, above all, furniture for pupils and staff. The need seems to be infinite! And we have had a growing number of applications. We decided to limit the timing of requests to “application windows” and to specify the theme each time, in a bid to make the situation more manageable.
However, this well-intentioned strategy backfired! In October 2019 we had over 60 applications for Water and Sanitation Projects in schools, across Ghana, but sadly few from the northern regions (where access to the internet is limited).
Clearly, we could not help all of them. The applications were sorted on to a large spreadsheet, according to size of school, nature of project, number of pupils, and so on. We found (predictably perhaps) that the borehole projects were too expensive for our budget.
We then prioritised the requests from schools in the north, and schools that had not had a grant previously. Finally, we chose the schools asking for the smallest grants in order to impact the largest number of schools. Twenty schools received grants for toilets, urinals, rehabilitation of a well, veronica buckets and dustbins.
Much as we would like to be providing clean water as well as toilets, this is not within our financial capacity. The next topics for applications are Sanitation Projects (October 2020) and School Furniture (March 2021).
This really is a team effort! Different members of the committee in the UK take on different roles, from looking after our finances to keeping us in the public eye with the GSA website and a Facebook page. In Ghana, Salifu Baako is our representative in the north, overseeing a number of schools in and around Tamale, and Kofi Ohene, in Accra, is absolutely key to our distribution of grants to schools. A huge thank-you to everyone!
The committee has adapted well to the challenge of the coronavirus epidemic, and, like many organisations, we have been meeting on Zoom. Schools in Ghana have been closed, but many are still in touch with us by email.
I look forward to another year of the important task of supporting education in Ghana.