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.

Committee meeting of 6th February 2020

We allocated grants totaling over £18,000, the maximum we could manage, given our limited resources.   It was extremely difficult to decide which schools, out of the 60 which applied to us, should receive our support.  In the end we decided that responding positively to the more modest requests allowed us to impact the most students, and spread resources more evenly.  I am delighted to list here the schools which will benefit this time round:

Kanvilli Tawfikya; Tibung Teachers’ Quarters; Kalpohin Kalmaria; Nyanpkala UDS Basic School; Hamile T I Primary School; Kenyasi No. 2;  Kwaboanta JHS;  Owabi D/A Primary School;  Akrodie R/C Primary School;  Akrodie M/A Basic School;  Gwira Eshlem Methodist Basic School;  Adukrom Asuogya MA Basic School;  Asene Nuriyah Islamic Basic School;  Kwabenakrom MA Basic School;  Asene Catholic Primary and KG School;  Nsowkow Presby Primary A School;  Edumanu MA Primary School;  Jema DA JHS;   Babiledoure L/A Primary School;  Krabonso Methodist JHS.

STOP PRESS:  Because our resources are so limited and the demand is so great, we are regretfully CANCELLING the next window (15th Feb to 31st March 2020).  It will be replaced by a new window 1st to 31st October 2020, theme to be decided in May.

Our AGM is scheduled for Thursday 25th June, 11am in the crypt of St. Mary’s Church, Islington, London.