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Opinions of Sunday, 4 February 2018

Columnist: Shadrach Korsah

Lessons from the 'Save A Child, Save A Mother' project

Sustained development is the hope of every individual and nation. But the approach chosen towards that agenda in some societies ultimately provides no hope; even if any hope, it is the 'hope in the coming danger'. My problem has been the cultivation of the habit of ‘Learned Helplessness’ by the African over the days. To me, this attitude of learned helplessness is the cause of the perpetuation of the hopelessness of the continent, and it is found in almost every individual.

It has been a celebrated custom that, we cannot do it without others. We feel so powerless and helpless without foreign aid to change our disturbing conditions. Almost every project needs foreign assistance, greater part of which are loans. The negative impacts of loans and high debt-servicing are not to be underestimated. My worry intensifies after listening to news, where people always complain every day that the government should come and help, where a communal labour can easily solve such a small problem.

We need external help for almost everything! How can we then be liberated from the constraints associated with dependency? The dependent has no freedom of thought; even if he/she does, no respect is accorded in most cases. What happens is the irresistible imposition of the undesirable.

To me, the ritual and custom of mandatory dependence on foreign aid has been proven wrong in the ‘Save a Child Save a Mother’ project. Individuals, groups, businesses and many other institutions came out voluntarily to contribute from their private pockets towards the Project. They did not expect those monies to be paid back, not to go to the extent of charging any interest on them. I believe their pay back and interest (satisfaction) is the 'working Ghanaian Society', devoid of avoidable social problems.

All these monies would have remained in people’s pockets, had Her Excellency the First Lady and Multimedia Group not taken the courage and commitment to undertake such an initiative after Multimedia's Seth Kwame Boateng's report, 'which highlighted a shocking situation of needless deaths of babies and their mothers at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH)'.

I think it is not that people, especially the affluent, do not love society or are egocentric. I believe the individual and the society have an emotional contract; no bad citizen will jubilate when the nation is going bad; even if he/she does, not in the presence of others. ‘Society must work’ is the desire of us all. What is needed for doing it without foreign aid is good leadership, commitment, courage, high credibility, selflessness: readiness to work without the anticipated gratification of personal interests. Of course, many national leaders prefer going for loans, because allegedly, they know how such actions benefit them.

Development is about reciprocal obligations, where society takes care of the individual (in terms of socialization and personal development), and the individual also makes a return payment to society. Going forward, leaders of all social groups including our nation must provide an opportunity where not only the economically endowed gives, rather all and sundry must play a part in development. This opinion is inspired on the premise that, the sense of absolute dependency must stop.

I do not in any way suggest that dependency is bad or must be halted entirely. Naturally, God created us differently, as individuals, communities, and states, with different endowments. What is considered appropriate is inter-dependence. This goes a long way to ensure solidarity in our social existence. This is the time to stop the blame game, introspect and see what we have and what we can do. ‘All what required of us, God has given us’.

With our potency tested and appropriately used, our Creator must stop worrying. This comment never qualifies me for a political communicator, society must develop; appropriate social behavior must be commended. The efforts of Her Excellency the First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akuffo Addo; wife of Asantehene, Lady Julia; The Multimedia Group; Multimedia's Seth Kwame Boateng and all the donors for the new Mother & Baby Unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), have actually set emulative steps towards 'Ghana Beyond Aid'; they must be commended, this must continue and our society must work.