In my previous writing I described how my conversations with Mr. Fuseini Yakubu led to the decision to visit Ghana. In the following writings I share about my connection with Ghana. This post is about Concern Health Education Project Ghana.
Once the decision was taken that I should come to Ghana we started preparing. A window of opportunities opened. Firstly Anne-Marie Voorhoeve, one of the partners in Leap into Life, introduced me to Isaac Ampomah, founder of Concern Health Education Project Ghana. She and Mr. Ampomah had met at the Talberg conference in Sweden and he later joined in the alternative program that run parallel with UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Secondly I connected with the Dutch Embassy in Ghana and with Eric van Kuijzen, a business associate of mine who I remembered to have moved to Ghana as HR director of a telecom company. Thirdly Bertolt Daems, at that time my colleague with RnR Group, introduced me with Patrick Mang, board member of JCI Ghana.
In preparation of my journey Mr Ampomah and I held several conversations on the work of Concern Health Education Project Ghana, on Leap into Life and my visit to Ghana. Together with Mr. Yakubu from PAMEPI we decided to have a meeting in the beginning of my visit. This meeting grew into a full day event with partners of Concern Health Education Project Ghana. Objective of the event was to explore the mutual grounds for collaboration, the needs as seen by the people present and how Leap into Life can contribute to sustainable development in Ghana.
Concern Health Education Project Ghana is located in Accra, in the midst of the community it is working for. Five regional Executives are being appointed by the board of directors. The organization is also active in rural areas outside Accra, but what I noticed visiting the head office is how closely connected the people are with the communities they work in. The office is physically located in the area where the people they try to support are living and working. Community leaders have easy access to the office and the issues Concern Health Education Project Ghana is addressing are literally across the street. Also in Macha I learned how important this is. For sustainable solutions a strong relationship with (informal) community leaders and a trustworthy position in service of the community are quite crucial.
The purpose of Concern Health Education Project (C.H.E.P) Ghana is “Growing and developing together with the minority and the underserved population in an atmosphere of liberty, justice illness free, respect for the environment thus providing a safe haven for Humanity” In its mission is a strong focus on providing information to the door step of our Beneficiary Communities on Health, Environment, Human Rights and Good governance. One of the mission statements is “”To ensure that all including children and the vulnerable have access to good healthcare, health information mainstreaming on environmental issues, human rights and good governance.”
C.H.E.P Ghana has run several programs for the benefit of the community, including training programs on climate change and programs in the communities on Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Three important objectives of C.H.E.P Ghana in my words are :
- to empower community volunteering towards the full attainment in their projects
- to engage policy makers and policy enforcers in dialogue with the communities and to catalyze participatory approaches on health issues, environment, human rights and good governance.
- to promote and encourage active citizenship towards community development and well-being.
The meeting with C.H.E.P. Ghana became a conference with two parts. In the morning C.H.E.P. presented itself and the projects it is involved in. Mr. Yakubu shared about PAMEPI and his willingness to collaborate with C.H.E.P. Ghana. In my presentation on Leap into Life I shared the vision and content of Leap into Life Ghana. During the afternoon we had a dialogue session with a smaller group of representatives of NGO’s, government, business associates and active citizens.
During a break in the afternoon session I went to wash my face in the bathroom. I looked into the mirror and said to myself: “Well, Alain, you started something here and now there is no turning back” I could feel gratitude but a also certain fear came over me. The fear of not being able to live up to expectations, including my own. I shared this with the group that was present in the afternoon session. “You should be scared!” one of the participants said. Then we held a conversation from the intention to make Leap into Life a vehicle for sustainable development in Ghana.
We addressed how Leap into Life could be beneficiary for the needs in Ghana as seen by the people present. Many people stated their commitment to contribute in making Leap into Life Ghana beneficiary for the communities they work in. Health and education were mentioned as key topics, crucial for sustainable development in Ghana.
I am very grateful for the partnership that has been growing with Concern Health Ghana Education Project Ghana. It gives me also great pleasure to see how collaboration between C.H.E.P. Ghana and PAMEPI is emerging. I am strongly convinced that C.H.E.P. Ghana will prove to be a valuable partner with a significant role in Leap into Life Ghana. Actually, it already is.
I was visiting Ghana as a guest of PAMEPI and I was very pleased how collaboration with C.H.E.P. Ghana was integrated in the days that were to follow. Mr. Yakubu invited Mr. Ampomah for the launch of the “School for All” project in Accra and we held several conversations on how collaborating could strengthen each of us contributing to a sustainable development of Ghana.
My next two postings will be about this journey through Ghana. First I will write on two PAMEPI projects I have visited in Northern Ghana and on how the connection was made with JCI Ghana. My second article will be about the launch of the “School for All” project in 3 different regions.