Light for Children June 09′ Report

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22nd of July 2009

Light for Children June 09’ Report

Obama stresses good governance is key

Written by Rhianydd Griffith, LIFOC volunteer)

After much anticipation Barack Obama has delivered his first speech in sub-Saharan Africa as US President. Mr Obama arrived in Accra late on 10 July, fresh from the G8 summit in Italy where heads of state agreed on a $20bn (£12.3bn) fund to bolster agriculture – the main source of income for many sub-Saharan Africans

The importance of Obama’s visit has been articulated no better than by the man himself who stated on arrival “I have come here to Ghana for a simple reason. The 21st Century will be shaped by what happens not just in Rome or Moscow or Washington, but by what happens in Ghana as well.”   And in Accra, Obama stood in front of assembled legislators and the gathered crowd to deliver a momentous message, not only praising Ghana’s progress, governance and economic growth but including the positive statement that Africa is in charge of its own destiny.

Focusing on internal development, Obama identified democracy, opportunity, health and the peaceful resolution of conflict as four key areas critical to the future of Africa and of the entire developing world. He emphatically stated that “Development depends upon good governance,” and highlighted to legislators that, “That is the ingredient which has been missing in far too many places, for far too long. And that is a responsibility that can only be met by Africans.”  Speaking to Africans as a whole, Obama said “You have the power to hold your leaders accountable, and to build institutions that serve the people,” emphasising that although the West can assist with aid and infrastructure, it is African governments who really need to step up and take charge of progress.

Nowhere in Africa has a population’s democratic power been exercised more clearly than in Ghana. An Obama spokesperson described Ghana as a thriving democracy and a truly admirable example of a place where governance is getting stronger. In such a country Obama indicated that the purpose of foreign assistance must be to create the conditions where it is no longer needed. His speech has been seen as a strong and inspirational message to Ghana that change will come, but will be most effective when made from the inside and out.

June Activities for Light for Children

New Arrivals

Light for Children has seen another stream of new faces this month as the Western summer (and Ghanaian rainy season!) begins.

On 3rd June Heather Whyte arrived from Canada. Throughout the month, Heather has been working at a small medical lab in Nsutta – a village roughly 40 minutes from central Kumasi. As well as her lab technician work, Heather has also been taking part in an outreach program within the local community where she has used her medical background to help track babies’ growth, vaccinations and vitamin A.

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On 8th June four students from Hong Kong University touched down in Accra. The students took part in orientation sessions and a workshop arranged by the LIFOC team at the KMA conference hall on 10th, 11th and 15th June. Four more HKU students – Crystal, Jonnie, Kat and Elise – arrived on the 18th demonstrating that LIFOC’s long term relationship with the University remains strong. All students have been working at a local school helping Light for Children with its teaching and presenting activities.

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On 22nd of June Crystal, Jonnie, Kat and Elise took part in an orientation at the LIFOC office with Ben, LIFOC’s ninth and final new volunteer from Hong Kong. This was followed on 23rd June by the orientation of 6 Swedish volunteers who completed LIFOC’s new arrivals group this month and have been working at Missionaries of Charity “New Life Home” – a home for disabled and/or abandoned children and adults.

Maternal and child health

On 18th June the LIFOC team attended a regional health forum organised by the the Ashanti Regional Coalition of NGOs at the SSNIT Conference Hall.

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The forum was on ‘Maternal health: Concern for all, the role of civil society organisations’ and was in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service. The vision and mission of the Coalition is to build a strong and dynamic ‘Civil Society Umbrella’ Organization that will contribute to building Ghana free of diseases and ill health and to positively influence health policy. Some of the specific intervention areas of Coalition mentioned were community mobilization information, education and communication on health, sexual reproductive health, maternal and child care, HIV/AIDS, malaria and many others.

Dr Joseph Oduro, Deputy Director of Public Heath G.H.S. in the Region said maternal and child health are two important indicators used to determine the level of development in the country and that not only NGO’s, but other groups such as media broadcasters, the police and traditional leaders should contribute to addressing the problems.

Socialisation Meeting

Light for Children’s monthly socialization meeting took place at the Cultural Center on the 20th June.

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Most children and caregivers on the LIFOC programme attended, and the children had a great time interacting with our new volunteers

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