Light for Children June 2010 Report

Written by Philippa Young – Development Coordinator: philippa@lightforchildren.com

Light for Children June 2010 Report

A busy month for all at the LiFoC office, particularly the HKU interns, who have reached out to over 1,500 school pupils, church choirs and dance troops over four weeks of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention workshops. This was thanks to money raised through Global Giving, an online fund-raising platform. They invited Light for Children for a workshop in Accra.

Light for Children June Activities

Global Giving Meeting

The Global Giving workshop in Accra saw experienced, and beginner, small and large NGOs join together to discuss online social networking and raising funds online. This knowledge sharing experience was extremely valuable to all sides. Global Giving (Alexis, Lorraine) learnt about the difficulties of the online world in Ghana, from intermittent connections, to small global networks, to no Paypal access – a very significant difficulty when asking people to transfer funds online.

It was also important for even the smallest NGOs to learn that Global Giving would not make exceptions for African countries. The organization works in 85 countries worldwide, all with their own specific hardships and hurdles to overcome. For a bit of background, to become a permanent member on Global Giving’s website, with the ability to raise funds with new projects, the NGO must complete online paperwork, demonstrating full transparency of administration. They must then launch a project proposal and raise US$4,000 in 4 weeks. 86% of funds raised on Global Giving are through personal connections. This means that a large social network (often a global one) is the most effective method of raising that essential US$4,000.

The problem many Ghana NGOs had was that their networks were extremely small, often within Ghana, and not all online. After ascertaining that it was not possible for Global Giving to reduce the amount to be raised or extend the time available to raise it, it was clear that an online platform may not yet be the best way for them to move forward. Instead, the workshop took a natural path into social networking 101, and was therefore still a very valuable experience for all involved.

One of the biggest hurdles for the NGOs present was that of knowledge sharing without a formal contract. The common conception of shared knowledge was that another NGO would steal best practice ideas, volunteers or funding from any NGO that dared to speak out. This was resolutely countered by the Global Giving team who gave a number of reasons why sharing, cooperation and collaboration are beneficial.

In brief:

  • Sharing knowledge raises everybody up. This is even true in business (profit-making) situations, where best practice learned by all brings the whole industry up another level
  • This is complemented by the fact that NGOs are by definition attempting to help people and build stronger communities, and thus shared best practice can only be beneficial
  • In terms of fundraising, GG made it clear that foundations actively seek out and prefer NGOs who have a history of collaboration with others as it demonstrates a willingness towards transparency, trust, and most importantly for the foundation, shows that its money will go further and help more people.

Monthly Socialization Meeting

The monthly socialization meeting of the care and support component of our HIV programme was held as usual on Saturday 5th of June 2010 at the Kumasi Cultural Centre. The caregivers were sensitized on the rights of the child and parental responsibility.

Commenting on Yaw’s address to the group, HKU intern, Serene Leung wrote:

“Yaw presented an inspiring speech saying that providing excellent education for our children may not be our foremost mission, but to give basic care and protection to them so that they can be kept safely and we would not lose them. I could truly feel that people here value children as precious gifts in this world and I can’t wait to reach more of the children here and help them with their difficulties. Then we moved to the green field to do some mass games with the children and here I saw the most lively and energetic faces of all kind.”

The six interns from the University of Hong Kong were all present, as was Sebastian Lindstrom, co-founder and director and Philippa Young, a volunteer from England.

Other activities this month

This has been an active month for the HKU interns, led by Sebastian. It is the time of the World Cup, hosted by South Africa, which saw Joanne Lai and David Kong produce patriotic t-shirts in support of the Black Stars for the intern team.

The interns also created beautiful pictures for the LiFoC office, utilizing creative skills with photographs from LiFoC projects.

The team dance at Jachie Disabled Craft Centre http://jachiedisabledcentre.org/ after the inauguration of the Federation of the Disabled and Gender Committee.

Cherie strikes a pose as she teaches music to the choir at Yaa Acha Girl’s School

Trekking back to the road after a night at Lake Bosomtwi

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