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Opinions of Saturday, 21 January 2012

Columnist: Amoah, Anthony Kwaku

NGOs Deserve Applause For Contributing To Development

By Anthony Kwaku Amoah

Let’s give praise where praise is due as we continue to demand for more from our non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which, on a daily basis, move heaven and earth to provide some form of socio-economic, cultural and political emancipation to suffering Ghanaian people. My belief is that people or benefactors get motivated to do more when good works done are recognized and commended by their recipients and other people.

It is a fact that if NGOs, religious organizations, corporate bodies, civil society groups, benevolent individuals and some international donor agencies had not been existing and contributing to development so that only government would shoulder all developmental activities in the country, majority of us would have been consigned to our graves due to hunger and starvation long ago. Considering the magnitude of Ghana’s developmental challenges, there is no way government alone could face the task of bringing total redemption to its people. The role of development partners is therefore necessary. The other day I struggled online to get the exact number of NGOs operating on the soils of Ghana but surprisingly no concrete result was seen. As some peg it at 900, others push it to as far as 1500. Whatever the case may be, my prime concern is not with the numbers but to commend some of them for the things they have been doing for mother Ghana.

My dear reader should just have a casual look at this list of organizations working in partnerships with government to alleviate, if not remove completely, the plight of the poor Ghanaian: World Vision International, Action Aid (Ghana), ADRA, Kristo Asafo Group, The Hunger Project, Friends of the Earth, Green Earth, USAID, DANIDA, Plight of the Child International, Open Arms Charity-Ghana, Poverty Watch Ghana, Greener Impact International, Volta Aid Foundation, Mighty Victory Sporting Club, SAVE-Ghana, Safe Child-Ghana, FightAIDS-Ghana, Give Ghana Help, Gate of Hope Foundation, Cheerful Hearts Foundation, PAAJAF Foundation, Ghana Fatherhood Initiative Foundation, SOS Children, Disaster Volunteers of Ghana, Ghana Health and Education Initiative, ISODEC, Community Forestry and Social Development Organization, CDD-Ghana, IFAD-Ghana, Sustainable Agriculture for African Women, The Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust, Savannah Education Trust, Social Support Foundation, etc. Though faced with myriad of challenges, these organizations are doing their best to better the lots of the underprivileged in society. They help to improve various sectors of the economy, such as, education, health and sanitation, agriculture, tourism and hospitality, sports, games and recreation, youth empowerment and job creation, natural resource conservation and management and the provision of other social services.

As I commend them for their meritorious perfo rmance, I would also want to take this opportunity to appeal to some of them to step up their efforts at reaching out to many other suffering rural poor in the country. It is surprising to see or hear majority of northerners struggle for survival though record has it that northern Ghana has the highest number of NGOs and other development partners. As for my home region, Volta, I find it difficult to comprehend why such organizations do not like operating there in their numbers. Seriously speaking, this unfortunate situation is really affecting the rapid development of the region.

However, mention needs to be made of two strong organizations which are trying to make life in my ‘holy’ town of Ave within the Akatsi District a bit comfortable. They are the Ghana School Project and Efo Yeyetor Foundation. Exactly a year ago, the Ghana School Project donated sets of computers with accessories to Ave-Havi Basic School and continues to provide technical assistance to the school in the area of ICT. The organization is also working feverishly to extend internet connectivity to the school so that pupils could have the opportunity to be interacting with their colleagues elsewhere. For Efo Yeyetor Foundation, a community-based organization operating within the Ave area, its contributions to the development of the area in just about a year of its existence are enormous. The way and manner the Foundation is trying to improve upon healthcare delivery among the people through periodic medical screening and treatment of certain identified ailments, granting of scholarships to brilliant but needy students to pursue various secondary and tertiary programs, among others cannot go unnoticed.

I was personally happy to have acted as an MC during the launch of a youth festival for 2012 dubbed, “Ave Sorheza” a couple of weeks ago under the auspices of the Foundation ostensibly to assemble the youth of Ave for development. I would like to use this medium to appeal to all Voltarians, especially the people of Ave to bury all differences and come together to support these organizations to churn out quality service to the people.

To other organizations which have not yet migrated to the area to save lives, I am humbly throwing the invitations. For security and hospitality, one can trust the people of Volta and for that matter, Ave for that!