Light for Children July 09′ Report

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14 August 2009

Light for Children July ‘09 Report

Ghana in the news: Ghana’s economy receives $600m boost from the IMF

On 17 July it was announced that Ghana is to get a $600m three-year loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – an organisation that oversees the global financial system and offers loans to developing countries.  The loan has been agreed amid concerns about the impact of the economic recession on developing countries.

In general the Ghanaian economy has proved “relatively resilient” to the economic downturn, as it is supported by the high prices of cocoa and gold. Ghana is the world’s second-biggest cocoa producer, Africa’s second-biggest gold exporter, and is also set to become the continent’s newest oil producer.

However, the IMF noted that Ghana has been hit recently by high food and fuel prices, and that the main political parties – the NDC and NPP – spent heavily before last year’s highly contested elections.

The IMF recommends the current NDC Government reduces its budget deficit and supports its currency by strengthening tax collection, keeping the public sector wage bill under control and avoiding large subsidies for petrol and utility bills. Unfortunately, if this advice is followed, it will likely mean higher electricity and fuel bills for Ghanaians in the near term.

On the topic of oil (600 million barrels discovered offshore by Tullow Oil in 2007) Takatoshi Kato, the IMF’s deputy managing director, said that the revenues expected to be received in 2011 could potentially bring Ghana into middle income status.

But he added: “The horizon for oil production could prove relatively short, and it will be important that the new revenues be used wisely.”

Peter Allum, the IMF’s mission chief to Ghana said, “The income from oil will make some differences to living standards in Ghana but not of a magnitude that you can afford to use it imprudently, and you need very strong budget mechanisms to make sure that money ends up in programmes where money is needed.”

Analysts fear that Ghana may fall prey to the “resource curse” – where an influx of money from oil can deter countries from diversifying into other economic sectors, and in countries where institutions are weak and governance poor, oil riches can also exacerbate corruption. Poverty and corruption are rife in oil producers such as Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Angola.

However, if Ghana’s record for good governance, as emphasised by US President Barrack Obama’s recent visit, continues, there is no reason why the IMF loan and oil discovery can’t propel Ghana into a new phase of economic progress.

July activities for Light for Children

July has been one of the busiest and most exciting months of the year so far for Light for Children. A combination of new arrivals, familiar faces and steady progress has made for extremely positive atmosphere in the city!

New arrivals

On 1 July British volunteer Kirsten and two Swedish volunteers, Elsa Ankar and Amanda Lundquist, arrived in Kumasi. Elsa and Amanda will be working at the Mampong babies home – an orphanage situated near the village of Nsuta, around 1 ½ hours outside of Kumasi.

On 7 July seventeen (yes, seventeen!) students from Hong Kong University and other universities in China arrived under the supervision of Ada, a past Hong Kong University volunteer. The students took part in an orientation session at the conference centre of the Kumasi Metro Health office on 8 July.

Volunteer Mareike from Germany rounded of this month’s arrivals on 18 July.

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Monthly socialisation meeting

Light for Children’s monthly socialization meeting was held on 11 July. All volunteers, including the 17 new arrivals were in attendance. Misaki Asari, the JICA volunteer, made beads with some of the clients and they were sold to the new volunteers.

International co-operation

On 10 July the Light for Children team met with the school authorities of two senior high schools in Kumasi and Jachie Pramso – Yaa Asantewaa Girls Senior High School and Jachie Pramso Senior High School. The meeting was held to discuss the possibility of providing additional lectures in physics and mathematics online, through Hong Kong University

The 16 July saw a visit by the Japanese International Co-operation Agency coordinator to the Light for Children office to discuss co-operation issues. Present at the meeting were Yaw, Light for Children co-founder and director, Mike, Light for Children coordinator as well as volunteer Misaki Asari.

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Mobilise Against Malaria (MAM)

A meeting of MAM stakeholders took place on 30 July. At the meeting, roles to be played by stakeholders like L.C.’s, sub metros, civil societies, etc were made known to other members and stakeholders.

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The same day, posters and other learning materials donated by Swedish volunteer Tove and her friends, were presented to the Islamic school and orphanage at Aboaso.

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Our group of Chinese student volunteers prepared to leave Ghana on18 July, and were treated to a send off party by their host mother who was also celebrating her birthday at the same time.

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What Took You So

On 20 July, Sebastian Lindstrom (Light for Children co-founder and director) arrived with a group of young people who make up part of the worldwide What Took You So Long movement.

The What Took You So Long Foundation is a movement to aid grass-roots NGOs in Africa that have no previous international exposure. Throughout the summer Sebastian and his young travellers (including a documentary film maker and photographer), have been trekking across Africa by local means, meeting workers and founders of ground level NGO’s. The aim is that during the trip, information, knowledge and skills can be shared, and upon the groups’ return, that the work being done can be reviewed and supported by sustainable development experts and international donors.

On 21 July the group visited Amankwaddai, a local village where Light for Children intends to build its own orphanage with the help of volunteers.  The team presented a selection of gifts and daily use items to children of the village and met with community leaders to discuss plans.

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The 22 July saw the group take part in an activity day at Divine International School at Abuakwa Maakro. Members of the group gave Light for Children’s Journey of Hope presentation on HIV and life choices, then played a football game with the school team

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