GRANTS

Your committee has met recently and was able to discuss our finances. They are healthy but would not be able to satisfy the great demand coming from Ghanaian schools. Regretfully, we cannot therefore open any windows for applications. Instead we rely on personal recommendation, particularly through our representatives in Ghana. The following schools have sent us heartening feedback (photos to follow shortly): Aperade SHS; Aruofa DA BasicSchool; Diasibe AME Zion Primary School; Walewale Technical College; Kyekywere Basic School.

We were able to allocate grants to the following: Hia Community Library; Kyekywere Basic School; Manhyia Basic School; Ahwerase Presbyterian Primary School. Those were follow-up grant to enable completion of a project. The four new grants were for: Gbanjon AME Zion Primary School; Kanvilli Presbyterian JHS; Gung AME Zion Primary School; Zugu Dabogni Technical Institute. We look forward to receiving feedback from those institutions in due course.

IMPORTANT NEWS ABOUT THE A.G.M. 16TH JUNE

There are so few registrations for the AGM that the committee has decided to cancel the venue and hold the meeting as a hybrid, using ZOOM. The plan is for the committee to meet in person and all other participants join via ZOOM at 2pm British Summer Time on Thursday 16th June 2022. If you haven’t already done so, please email either Penny Sewell or [email protected] to ensure that you will receive the link.

This means a considerable loss of income for GSA as the AGM and Reunion Lunch are traditionally a fund-raising event. Please consider making a donation to GSA. You can do easily by using the link provided elsewhere on this website. Thank you very much in advance.

Sad news

I have, alas, two deaths to report.

ERIC EARLE

1925 – 23/12/2021.Eric was a founder member of Ghana School Aid. He had been an Education Officer in Ghana from 1952 to 1961, I quote from a tribute to him by his dear friends Kofi and Floria Ohene.

“Mr Eric Earle was the Secretary at the London Institute of Education when I was a graduate student there 1985 to 1987, under a British Government Scholarship. Eric invited me to his office in 1986 and shared with me his previous work in Ghana as an Education Officer in Cape Coast, Ho and Accra, during the latter part of the colonial period. He disclosed his continued interest in Ghana and the concern of his and other colonial service colleagues about the post-colonial developments in Ghana, particularly on Education and the intention to raise funds to support Ghana schools in poor communities. Eric’s love and interest in Ghana, his initiatives and good works led to the establishment of Ghana School Aid (GSA) in 1986.

Mr Eric Earle, my good friend and mentor, as we bid farewell we know that you have played your part by offering a lifetime of service to education and contributing to the growth and development of schools in Ghana. We will miss your friendship, good humour, humility, and desire to support the under privileged schools and society.”

The funeral service was well-attended. Eric’s four children were there, as well as his many grand-children. Wonderful tributes were read out, hymns were sung, blessings given. A good number of GSA committee members were at the funeral, but not Ted Mayne, our former chairman, as he had had a nasty fall and was hospitalised for a couple of days. We were all very impressed by the way the funeral was organised and by what we learned of the life of this outstanding Irishman, so full of energy and goodwill, an inexhaustible fount of knowledge about education and people in Ghana. We will truly miss him, and owe it to him to maintain his legacy to the best of our ability.

Here are pictures of the church service and the Committee members who attended the funeral:

Funeral of Eric Earle 24th January 2022
Funeral of Eric Earle 24th January 2022

LALAGE BOWN

Lalage was also in her nineties, a most energetic, clear-minded and observant woman. She was appointed Professor of Adult and Continuing Education at the University of Glasgow. was awarded an OBE and no fewer than six honorary doctorates. She came to most of our Annual General Meetings and maintained wonderful support for GSA. She contributed much wisdom to our proceedings and, like Eric, will be sorely missed. Here is a summary of her professional life, written by a former colleague of hers:

Adult educator: advocate for the right for access to education, women’s literacy and decolonisation
Emeritus Professor Lalage Bown, OBE died in Shrewsbury hospital on 17 December 2021, aged 94, following a fall at home. An eminent women’s literacy advocate, she dedicated her life’s work to improving education for the disadvantaged, especially women, seeking to bring university opportunities to the widest possible sections of society.

Lalage was emersed in a tradition which regarded adult education as a catalyst for significant social change. Her ideas were informed by a post-war world in which many believed that the kind of injustices suffered under colonial rule had to end. But, beyond this, in her radical way, she also saw the need to develop new inclusive, post-colonial approaches to education, including the reform of university curricula. She devoted her life to this mission, inspiring and challenging all she met- professionals and learners- across many countries in Africa and Europe. (…)

After her studies, Lalage applied in 1949 for a resident tutor post based at the Department of Extra-Mural Studies of University College of the Gold Coast (subsequently Ghana). As an African colleague said, she chose to serve overseas, leaving behind the comfort and serenity of her environment for the more challenging terrain of Africa. During her interview, she was asked “Now Miss Bown, supposing you were to get the job and you were in the jungle in a car and your car broke down, how do we know you wouldn’t have a fit of hysterics?’’  She simply replied, “Well sir, if you don’t give me the job, you’ll never find out, will you?” She was given the job. (…)  At just 22, Lalage travelled via Senegal to Ghana where she became involved in teaching African literature and arts and helped to create the first African folk high school.

Over a period of 30 years in Africa she became the first field resident tutor in the Extra-Mural Department at Makerere University College in Uganda, and held various positions at the University of Ibadan and Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria, the University of Zambia and the University of Lagos. In Zambia.

Legacy

Professor Lalage Bown was an outstanding communicator: she wrote, edited or contributed to around 26 books and monographs plus around 86 articles. In her leisure time she enjoyed travel, reading and entertaining friends.  She was living proof of the adage “If you never stop learning, you never grow old.” One colleague said if he were to highlight one special characteristic of Lalage’s among so many, it would be her open, friendly, and collaborative attitude to working with other people. He adds that she was not self-seeking or competitive but enjoyed bringing out the best in others- she was interested in and valued every contribution, yet if she disagreed with you, she would let you know in a straight way. (…) In the words of one of her African colleagues, Lalage was a trail blazer in the global Adult Education movement. Her commitment to, and insight about, democratic adult education was unbounded. She succeeded in giving Adult and Continuing Education a recognised profile as a major field of education policy in Europe, Africa and beyond.

AGM 17th June 20-21

24 people attended our zoom meeting, some far afield. We discussed feedback from schools, our finances, heard some reports from people recently back from Ghana and from Kofi Ohene, one of our representatives in Ghana. After a long service to GSA as Chairman, Ted Mayne is stepping down, becoming vice chair to the new chair, William Spooner. We expressed gratitude to Ted and a warm welcome to William. Ted’s final chair’s report is reproduced below, as is an extract from our hon. sec. Jo Hallett’s report.

Chairman’s Annual Report 2020-2021:

Every year about this time when I settle down to do my annual report, I ask myself “Where has the past year gone?” Time certainly flies, especially as we get older. That said, in spite of the speedy passing of time, for us the year has been both productive and enjoyable. Thanks to Zoom we have had our quarterly meetings and the pandemic has not dampened our enthusiasm or hindered our activities. However, we all hope that we shall be able to meet up in person before too long.

When I commented on the speed the years leave us behind, I am reminded of the year 2007, when I took over the chairman’s duties from Eric Earle, who is now in his mid-nineties, and the only surviving member of the original committee. Eric still takes a keen interest in our activities and I visit him regularly. He retains a fountain of knowledge going back to the Gold Coast days. Sadly, his dear wife Auriol died earlier this year and a tribute is included in our latest bulletin.

For some time I have been considering my future with Ghana School Aid. I have been a committee member for 25 years and Chairman for 14. I was fortunate to be able to work closely with Eric Earle. When he relinquished his Chairman’s duties in 2007, I immediately took over and have held the position ever since. For me, the time and effort has been all pleasure. I have discussed my future with the committee, who have agreed I can step down with effect from this meeting. We are very fortunate in that we have William Spooner on our committee who is willing to take over. William and his family have close connections with Ghana and he is just the person to introduce new ideas. Fortunately, he has youth on his side.

Our recent newsletter includes reports on our latest projects and we have provided funds to build a number of much needed toilet blocks in a selection of rural schools. I am happy to say that, thanks to increased funding, we have given away more funds than in the past. Some of the projects have been quite ambitious and fortunately we have our Ghanaian members who are carefully monitoring our efforts. Here I pay tribute to Kofi Ohene, Alhassan Baako and Patrick Nyanteh. Our website is frequently updated, which means that our activities are there for all to see.

As I said, our work is well documented on our website and this becoming our main source of income. This is encouraging, but it does give our treasurer plenty to do. Jo Hallett has been a marvellous secretary and Penny Sewell keeps our website up-to-date. Jennifer MacDougall, once more, has produced an excellent bulletin. These are just a few whose efforts ensure that the operation is well oiled. The Charity Commission are pleased with the way we operate and nearly all our income goes into our projects. Very little goes towards expenses and all of us give much of our free time. This I know will continue. The charity is in good hands. For me, my involvement has been all pleasure and I shall support our new chairman as he takes over the reins.

I close by sending thanks to all those involved and I know that Ghana School Aid will flourish in the years ahead. Bless you all.

Ted Mayne
Outgoing Chairman

Extract from our secretary’s report:

In the year 2021 -2021, we were able to give grants to 23 schools or projects, nearly all for toilets and sanitation, as this has been our focus for the past two years. During the “application window” of October 2019, we had 62 applications; in October 2020 we had over 70 more. It is clear that the need is very great; I have been sent photos of some dreadful facilities, and many schools have none at all. The effects are particularly severe for girl pupils and female teachers dealing with menstruation, but also have implications for the spread of disease.

6th May committee meeting

We held the meeting via Zoom. The most important item of business concerned grants awarded and to be awarded. We reviewed with pleasure the feedback we had received from schools and agreed a list of applications that had remained outstanding from our previous meeting. in recent years we have benefited from some generous legacies, but lately our income has fallen, yet applications for grants keep rising! We therefore decided, with much regret, that, for the time being, application should be by invitation only.

The schools which benefited from grants this time are: Asuofa DA Basic; Aperade Senior High; Akrodie lslamic; Manhyia No 1 Basic; Baaleyiri RC Basic; Diasibe AME Zion Primary; Ankoma DA Basic; Nyame Nti DA Basic; Anyinasuso EA Primary; Sampa Methodist Primary; Otabilkrom DA Primary; Abonse Presbyterian Basic.

2021 AGM: THURSDAY 17 JUNE 2pm via ZOOM

This year’s AGM will again be using Zoom. To join it you should send our Hon Sec Jo Hallett an email and nearer the time she will send you the link. Her address is [email protected]  I will send out a letter to everyone towards the end of March. Forgive me for reminding you that we always send an appeal for funds at this time and any sum you can get spare will be gratefully received – details of how to make a donation will be in the letter, or you can use the button on our website. Thank you in advance.

Committee meeting of 14.1.21 (via Zoom).

At our recent committee meeting, we lamented the fact that our funds are limited, because we had almost 70 very good applications for funding sanitation projects in Ghanaian schools. After careful consideration, we selected the following schools and organisations, our grants totalling almost £20 000.

Kyekywere, Akroma/Adzenyewodze, Ampekro, Chebogo, Dohini, Gindabo, Jonshegu, Knavilli-Tawfikiya, Kpongeri, Mbanayili, Seripe, Kenyasi No. 2, Kings Academy, Developing Kids Charity, Dimale, Walewale Technical/Vocational Institute.

Many of the other applications merited grants as well as the above, so much so that we have decided to cancel the March 2021 window and instead take up the list of sanitation projects and try to fund as many of them as possible. Decisions will be made at our May committee meeting.

Annual General Meeting 2020 – Summary of Minutes

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the meeting was held (on Thursday 25th June) on Zoom.  This allowed people who are normally not able to attend, to be present.  We were delighted that 22 people joined us, from across the UK, from Accra, Tamale, and even Myanmar!  This is a summary of the Minutes prepared by Jo Hallett.

The Chairman’s report and the Secretary’s report can be read on this website.

It was particularly pleasing to listen to our Patron, Lord Paul Boateng, who visited Ghana in March and noted positive changes in education, such as free secondary education.  But he also noted the underfunding of education in general, and the neediness of the Northern Regions.  He had praise for Ghana’s public health system – hospitals were not overwhelmed and there was an effective testing system in place.  However, Ghana struggles with basics such as good nutrition and sanitation.  He was very appreciative of the achievements of Ghana School Aid, and ended by saying “the Ghana you all love remains”.

Penny reported a new fund-raising initiative consisting of sending appeal letters, under the guidance of a professional fund-raiser, to suitable Charitable Trusts.  We live in hope…  She is always keen to have feedback re the website.  Rita described the Facebook page she has set up.  We are all encouraged to “like” it!

The Committee was reelected nem con and William will take on the official role of Vice-Chair.

We heard from Kofi Ohene in Accra.  He has worked with GSA since its inception in 1986 and his help in transferring funds, visiting schools and advising the committee is invaluable.  We also heard from Salifu Baako who has worked with us since 2009.  He is Headteacher of a JHSchool in Tamale.  He visits schools on our behalf, helps schools with their appeals and offers the committee his very welcome advice.  Finally, Reginald Quartey, who now works in the Curriculum Department of the Ghana Education Service, was very supportive of our work.  He said that some secondary pupils were back in school, but primary pupils would return in September.

The meeting, much appreciated by all, closed at 4.10pm

Secretary’s report AGM 2020

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.