Lives of over one million African children improved – Report

Accra, More than one million African children have benefitted from social enterprise development in Africa in the last five years, according to a new report released by Reach for Change Africa.

Reach for Change Africa is a non-profit organization that runs incubators, accelerators and other customized programmes to help local social entrepreneurs develop sustainable organisations that impact the lives of children, youth and women.

The organisation, which, this year, is marking its 5th anniversary themed Accelerating Impact. Driving Change, also reported that over 300 early-stage social entrepreneurs were supported to develop organizations that are improving the lives of children, youth and women in seven African countries.

Since it was first launched in Accra, Ghana in 2012, Reach for Change Africa had provided crucial business development support for social entrepreneurs who, in turn, used their social businesses to impact over one million children.

The report, which was made available to the Ghana News Agency said as a result, over 435,000 African children were protected from mental abuse and threats, over 308,000 children were provided with high quality education, and over 156,000 children were supported to develop and live healthy lives.

The social enterprise movement is really starting to take off in Africa, and we are honoured to be a part of this movement for change, said Amma Lartey, Reach for Change Africa’s Regional Director.

With the right supports, social entrepreneurs have the potential to lead Africa’s development and impact millions along the way.

In the report, a number of social entrepreneurs from the seven countries where Reach for Change Africa operates, explained how the organization’s programmess helped them to develop their social ventures.

Being in the Incubator has helped me develop a scalable model, said Carolyne Ekyarisiima, the founder of Apps & Girls in Tanzania.

Apps & Girls is a social enterprise that is bridging the gender gap in ICT through coding clubs, workshops, exhibitions, hackathons, boot camps and competitions for girls and young women.

Since joining the Reach for Change Incubator, Ms Ekyarisiima has scaled her organisation from just one location to 21 clubs in Dares-Salaam.

This year, I spoke with my mentor at Reach for Change about the possibility of franchising my social enterprise and got great feedback.”

“This led me to apply for the NEXTGEN franchising competition and because of the great influence and impact of the Reach for Change Incubator, I was among the winners! Now I am looking into scaling Apps & Girls across all of Tanzania and other African countries, she added.

The report said the Reach for Change Incubator also helped James Kofi Annan build a social enterprise that’s fighting child-trafficking in Ghana.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Reach for Change. Its Incubator programme brought direct benefits to me and to Challenging Heights. Today, Challenging Heights is a well-respected global leader in the fight against child trafficking. said James Kofi Annan.

It said from the age of six to 16, James Kofi Annan was enslaved, starved, abused and forced to work in appalling conditions.

It noted that after managing to escape and turning his life around, James was determined to prevent other children from experiencing the same thing.

It noted he founded challenging Heights, an organisation that rescues and rehabilitates children from slavery, identifies and educates vulnerable children and establishes income-generating initiatives in at-risk communities and empowers youth and families to help prevent child trafficking.

It said since joining the Reach for Change Incubator in 2013, James had more than quadrupled Challenging Heights annual budget and was implementing a five year strategic plan, developed with support from Reach for Change.

It said most importantly, he had impacted the lives of over 8,000 Ghanaian children.

The five year anniversary report also details Reach for Change’s plans for the future.

It said over the course of the next five years, the organisation plans to run additional accelerators to increase the number of African social entrepreneurs that they reach, enriching the social enterprise ecosystem across Africa through research, and implement new programming, such as the rapid scale programme for more established social entrepreneurs in the growth phase of their development.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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President Akufo-Addo assures alternative source of livelihood for galamseyers

Accra, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has indicated that his government was identifying alternative sources of livelihood for persons involved in illegal mining activities, popularly referred to as ‘galamsey’, across the country.

He said a cabinet committee had been established, and headed by the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimping Boateng, to this effect, adding that the committee would also implement to the letter government’s strategy on combating the illegal mining menace.

Addressing the Ghanaian community resident in Conakry on the second day of his 3-day visit to that country, President Akufo-Addo stated that one of the advantages of campaigning is that you get to see Ghana. It is the exposure I had in this last campaign of what was actually going on in the field that hardened my decision, God-willing if I was to win the election, to make the fight against ‘galamsey’ one of my priorities.

With the christening of Ghana’s first modern city as Elmina, to wit ‘The Mine’ by the Portuguese, President Akufo-Addo stated that as far back as the 15th century, there was the recognition that mining was important for the country’s economy.

But what cannot have happened is for mining to compromise our future environment. 60 per cent we are told, of the water bodies in Ghana have been affected by illegal mining activities. That is unacceptable. We are not out to attack Chinese or Canadians or whoever. We are saying that we want people to respect the laws of our country and make sure that our environment does not suffer from mining, and that is what we are going to do, he added.

Describing aluminum as the metal of the future, President noted that Ghana’s experience with the Volta Aluminum Company (VALCO), which saw Kaiser, operators of the smelter, import bauxite from Jamaica, means that we need an integrated aluminium industry in Ghana � right from the mining of the bauxite to alumina, and the refining of alumina into aluminum.

He expressed hope that by the end of the next sitting of Parliament, a bill establishing an Aluminum Development Authority � the vehicle principally responsible for putting together the whole of the infrastructure that is required for the exploitation of the country’s bauxite resources at Nyinahin and Kyebi � would be passed.

Aluminum is the metal of the future, and we have substantial quantities of the raw material in our country. We need a strategy that will ensure value-addition, and not just exporting it in its raw form. There is no future in the export of our raw materials. But, that, we must add value inside our country, create jobs, and at the end of the process we will have aluminum, he added.

It is for this reason, President Akufo-Addo stated, that former President Kufuor bought VALCO, so that it will be part of this process for an integrated aluminum industry in Ghana. Very soon the plans will be out.

President Akufo-Addo reiterated the commitment of his government towards fulfilling the promises he made to Ghanaians in the run-up to the December 2016 elections.

The Free Senior High School Policy, he said, is on its way to being fulfilled, indicating that his government would fund the cost of public Senior High Schools for all those who qualify for entry from the 2017/2018 academic year onwards.

Touching on the restoration of the National Health Insurance Scheme, President Akufo-Addo noted that his government had found it necessary to find the money to stave the scheme off collapse, and it was for that reason that he chose Dr Agyeman Manu, an eminent accountant, to be in charge of the Health Ministry, and supervise the revival of the NHIS.

On the agricultural sector, the President told the gathering that the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs launched in Goaso a month ago is the answer to the twin-problem of the migration of youth to city centres in search of non-existent jobs, as well as an end to the disgraceful spectacle of importing food stuffs from neighbouring countries.

The programme, he noted, has so far employed 1,200 extension officers, and an additional 2,000 more officers would be employed in 2018. Additionally, the programme, he stated would in its first year target 200,000 farmers.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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NCCE persuades GES to adopt civic education manual

Accra, The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) is advocating the adoption of civic education in the Ghana Education Service (GES) curriculum for schools.

The Deputy Chairman in charge of Operations at the NCCE, Samuel Asare Akuamoah noted in an interview with the press that the absence of the course in the schools was a major contributing factor affecting the fight against corruption. This is because the young ones are not well armed to join the fight; they only see people with riches, power as their role models and end up associating with them,” he said.

According to the Commission, the delay in adoption of civic education, and by extension the Constitution in the GES curriculum, hindered their objective and mandate, particularly in relation to the youth.

The NCCE had developed a manual on civic education and the adoption of it into the GES curriculum would have great impact in developing the capacity of the youth and children in civic responsibility.

The Commission is of the view that introducing the Constitution and its prescriptions to school children at a younger age would facilitate the understanding of their rights and civic responsibilities and this would have an overall impact in the fight against corruption.

Civic education is a shared responsibility therefore the support and collaboration between NCCE and other institutions in the country should be encouraged, he stated.

He said the manual had already been piloted in the Central Region specifically in Winneba and its surrounding areas which proved to be a very powerful tool in churning out good citizens.

He said the introduction of the course in the school curriculum would improve the Ghanaian value system which includes; transparency, accountability, nationalism and respect for national and cultural values.

Mr Akuamoah noted that the lackadaisical approach towards the adoption of the manual by GES could be linked to the existence of moral and religious component of the GES curriculum which he said did not address the gap and needed to be relooked at.

The Deputy Chairman in charge of operations spoke at the sidelines of the Ghana Anti-Corruption, Rule of Law and Accountability Programme (ARAP) multi stakeholder training workshop on capacity building for law enforcement agencies and public education providers.

The three day workshop, which was held in Ada in the Greater Accra Region, was organised by ARAP in collaboration with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) NCCE Education and funded by the European Union (EU) delegation to Ghana.

Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Director of Anti-Corruption at CHRAJ Mr Charles Ayamdoo- was unhappy with the low level of involvement and participation of stakeholders towards the implementation of National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) in the fight against corruption.

He said although there had been an increase in the number of participating institutions, the rate of increase was not encouraging.

He said in the first year of the implementation of the programme in 2014, 19 stakeholders/institutions reported on the implementation of their activities under NACAP; this had however increased to 55 stakeholders at the end of 2016.

Though we have seen an increase from 19 to 55 stakeholder participation, the increase is not as expected since there are about 200 public institutions, 216 MMDAs and about 3500 CSOs in the country,” he noted.

He noted that this low participation and involvement of the institutions in adopting the NACAP could be attributed to lack of awareness on NACAP activities, which he quickly added that his outfit was working hard to address.

We are currently addressing this challenge and we also have assurances from the current government to support NACAP achieve its objectives,” he added.

He hinted that NACAP hadpresented its first Annual Progress Report to Parliament for consideration and approval after which CHRAJ was expected to use the approved document to produce the state of corruption in Ghana to be presented to the general public in December this year.

The main aim of the NACAP programme was to ensure that all stakeholders agreed to contextualize and mobilise all resources to compact corruption in the country.

To achieve this, NACAP had formulated four action points to deal with the challenges and these include; building of public capacity to fight corruption; transparency, accountability and efficiency in preventing corruption; participation of society; and investigation and prosecution.

The Governance Advisor to the EU, Sotirios Bazikamwe, noted that the EU having observed the impact of corruption on development and human lives in the past decades, decided to support the strengthening of institutions across the world to fight the canker.

He said that the programme was wholly owned by the Ghanaian institutions while the EU was only providing support to ensure the success of the programme.

ARAP, launched in May 2016 in Accra, is a five year programme of EUR 20 million aimed at supporting the anti-corruption, rule of law and accountability programmes.

The objective of the programme is to build the capacity of civic education providers such as the �NCCE, CHRAJ, CSOs, and the media� to conduct campaigns, advocate and lobby for increased accountability and a reduction in corruption.

It is also aimed at strengthening law enforcement agencies.

This includes; building the capacity of prosecutors to prosecute corruption and related offences.

It also aims at building the capacity of the Judiciary to hear and decide corruption cases and related offences, as the best means of enhancing accountability standards in the country and support the police and judiciary to combat corruption amongst their ranks.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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