2021 Mid Year Newsletter
Dear Partners and Volunteers
Our world today is different in so many ways, economically, socially, and health-wise. One thing is clear: there are a number of possible futures all dependent on how our government and society respond to coronavirus and its economic aftermath. While the long-term impact of the Coronavirus pandemic may take years to understand, its immediate effect has already changed the world. Our educational system has shifted from the classroom to E-learning. Mobile and fixed broadband data has acquired the same importance as electricity, gas, and water. We keep wondering what the future holds for our families, loved ones, and Ghanaian, we, therefore, extended our services from Improved basic education (IBE) to our Socio-Economic Development Programs which aims to empower our beneficiaries through Adult Literacy and Financial Empowerment Programs and our Leadership and Soft Skill Development also help mentor the youth into attaining their full educational and future aspirations. Even though these are thriving times, our communities and beneficiaries will need us more than ever and we look forward to rising to the occasion through continuing our great work together.
United we fight. United we win.
Follow us on our social media pages to stay on top of our projects. Let's also remember that COVID-19 is still here with us so let's keep all Stay Safe!
A child’s ability to read and write sets him or her on the path of success. On 20th February, Ford South Africa in partnership with United Way Ghana set-up a Reading Oasis in Onwe, in the Ashanti Region to engage young learners in fun and interactive literacy activities. With support from Ghana Library Authority, age-appropriate books were made available to 121 young learners who were assisted by 10 trained volunteers to read a number of stories and narrate them.
During the pre-assessment of the young learners’ reading proficiency, we discovered that only 56.37% of them were able to read class-appropriate books. After engaging them weekly for 5 months, the percentage increased to 92.15%. Though the initial programme has ended, the community leaders have taken up the mantle to run the programme under the guidance of United Way Ghana and Ghana Library Authority.
Bright Agyei Ababio, one of the beneficiaries had this to say, ‘At first, I did not like reading my notes and textbooks because it was difficult for me to read and understand them. But now, I enjoy reading so I always read my notes. Thank you Ford South Africa and United Way Ghana for helping me to discover my love for reading.
Fifty Adult Learners Graduate from United Way Ghana’s Adult Literacy and Financial Empowerment Programme
In order to boost employability and income stability, United Way Ghana in partnership with Engage Now Africa have graduated fifty (50) adults from its workforce development initiative – The Adult Literacy and Financial Empowerment Programme - in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
From November 2020 to February this year, the beneficiaries were taken through intensive literacy and vocational skills development classes including reading, writing and speaking skills, basic budgeting and numeracy skills, soap and sanitizer manufacturing training, as well as batik and tie-and-dye processes. The learners were selected from communities in the Asokore Mampong Municipal Assembly including Aboabo, Sawaba and Asawase.
Adorned in vibrant colours and filled with excitement, the families of the learners were present at the graduation to show their support to their loved ones. Many graduates shared their experiences and testimonies from the training programme. For most of them, this was a significant milestone and special moment in their lives as they wore the graduation gown and caps for the first time. They were filled with pride for being recognized for their individual achievement in completing this life-changing training.
Out of the number of beneficiaries who graduated this year, 7% have set up businesses, and 39% are raising funds to set up businesses. Plans are underway to reach out and support the remaining 52% to set-up their businesses.
For over 15 years, United Way Ghana has been touching and uplifting the lives of young learners through the Nyansapo Scholarship Programme. It was initiated in 2005 to provide school readiness support to young learners from deprived homes who were unable to purchase school supplies. Since then, more than 600 children have benefited from the annual Scholarship Programme. This was made possible through the generous support of the Riedman Family who have sponsored this program since inception.
The dream of Eric Asare, one of the beneficiaries, to join the military, inched a step closer to reality when he was selected as a beneficiary of the Nyansapo Scholarship Programme. The class six pupil of Akropong Municipal Assembly School was filled with excitement and renewed motivation when he received stationery, a school uniform, a backpack and other school supplies.
Eric’s mother, Mrs. Fosua, in recounting the difficulties her family used to go through said, “ At one point, I even considered that he takes a break from school to raise money by helping people in the community. I didn’t expect help from anywhere until I got the news that my son is a beneficiary.” With excitement she uttered, “I hope this is the beginning of greater things in our lives.”
This year one hundred and fifty young learners benefitted from the Nyansapo Scholarship Programme. Additionally, close to 100 parents and caregivers from the beneficiary communities were sensitized in a forum on the importance of their role in their children’s future success and the COVID-19 safety protocols.
Across the world, technology is making life better for everyone including students. Nonetheless, a big gap remains between those who have access to technology and those who don’t. Standard Chartered Bank Ghana and United Way Ghana are working to bridge the gap for thousands of young learners in under-served communities through the Virtual Reading Initiative.
This Initiative, championed by United Way Ghana, is inculcating the culture of reading in young learners and exposing them to the use of technology in learning. Originally intended to benefit 1,000 young learners, the Virtual Reading Initiative impacted 1032 young learners from seven (7) schools in the Kanda Circuit, led by 40 volunteer readers over a span of two weeks from mid-March.
The readers, who are employees from Standard Chartered Bank Ghana and volunteers from United Way Ghana, lead the virtual reading sessions organized by both organizations as part of a combined effort to improve literacy levels of young learners. At the end of the virtual reading sessions, each beneficiary was given a storybook and a snack pack. The excitement of the students of being able to use technology for learning was overwhelming.. My name is Joshua Okine. I am in P6. The name of my school is Kanda Estate 1 Basic School. I read the book Kobby’s Trolley with a man called Mr Zeinu Taminu. I was given Fanta and a storybook for reading,Thank you Standard Chartered Bank Ghana and United Way Ghana.
Standard Chartered Bank Ghana & United Way Ghana Educate High School Students on Building Stronger Financial Futures
Financial stability is one of the building blocks for a good quality of life and hence we need to teach young people how to save, invest and live on a budget to help them plan better for their financial futures.
A financial literacy seminar was executed in two (2) phases at the Accra Wesley Girls Senior High School. The first seminar was virtual to mark International Women’s Day on March 8, as part of activities to create financial literacy awareness amongst children and youth.
In the second seminar on 20th April, 15 employee volunteers from the bank educated the students on creating stronger financial futures for themselves as they plan their careers and personal lives. The two-hour session also saw over 45 girls being exposed to the use of digital devices as they simulated the planning of budgets with the use of tablets.
“I am grateful for having benefited from financial literacy education. I can now properly draw my budget for the semester and stick to it,” Jennifer, one of the students, said enthusiastically.
Every child deserves access to quality education and childhood literacy is a vital part of a child’s overall development.
On June 12, Newmont Ghana in partnership with United Way Ghana set up a Reading Oasis in the Ruga community to help young learners develop a love for reading.
Volunteers for this program were trained on how to assess the students as well as ways to improve the teaching and learning experience in order for it to be more interactive and interesting.
During the pre-assessment of the students’ reading proficiency, we discovered that some of them were unfamiliar with the English alphabet and that a great number of those who knew the letters had poor reading skills.
The program was launched on 19th June by Ms Janet Butler, the Acting Executive Director at United Way Ghana. She expressed her gratitude to the parents and teachers of the Ruga community for gracing the occasion, and highlighted how the Reading Oasis would foster a love for books and reading.
The Assemblyman for the Ruga community, Hon. Ibrahim Awal Musah Issah, commended United Way for their efforts towards the betterment of the Ruga community during the lockdown in 2020 and for the Reading Oasis program as well. He encouraged the young learners to attend the program and make good use of the available resources given to them to enable them to become better readers.
3M, Newmont Ghana, Prudential Life Insurance Ghana, Standard Chartered Bank, Cummins Ghana and others joined United Way Ghana to Serve Communities during the Pandemic
“It was rewarding for us at United Way Ghana as we stepped up to ensure that our communities were supported during the peak of the pandemic. Our ability to mobilize efforts from donors, implementing partners and volunteers to address the real needs of our communities in real time to accelerate community resiliency was outstanding,” said Ms Janet Butler, the acting Executive Director.
Not only did we provide relief items, we went further to ensure that our communities were empowered to thrive.
Collaborating with our partners, we educated 6,300 people on the approved COVID-19 safety protocols. To ensure clarity, we used local languages and engaged people in practical demonstrations. We also donated PPEs to 9 Community health centers in the Central, Ashanti, Eastern, and Greater Accra regions.
We activated the Home Literacy Project to support young learners who did not have opportunities to participate in any form of learning due to the closure of schools as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 60% of the children who could barely pronounce words during the pre-assessment are now able to read the story books we provided for the program and answer questions based on those stories.
Four hundred and seven (407) individuals whose source of income was affected were equipped with production skills to enable them to set-up and run micro businesses successfully. Training areas were soap making, hand sanitizer making, and face mask production. With the newly acquired skills, these individuals were empowered to produce these products for their own use and to potentially sell some to earn income for the upkeep of their families.
United Way Ghana is working to diversify livelihood opportunities and support financial stability for farmers and fisherfolks in Senya Beraku in the Central Region.
Forty (40) individuals with unstable sources of income were identified through the support of community leaders to benefit from this partnership under United Way Ghana’s Socio-Economic Development programme. For three months now, these individuals are being trained on how to use beads to make necklaces, bracelets, key chains, and bags. The other training areas covered batik tie and dye, soap making and pastries making. Twenty out of the forty are also undergoing bee-keeping training.
Beyond the vocational skills training, the beneficiaries are being equipped with entrepreneurial and financial management skills to enable them set-up and run their micro businesses successfully once the training is completed. Each beneficiary will be assisted to register their business and will be supported with starter packs to start their businesses. On the 16th of July, 2020, the beneficiaries under this program graduated with each of their businesses registered.
The intent is to support income generation and ease the economic burden from dwindling fish stocks and low farm yields. Low rainfall and use of fishing trawlers have negatively impacted the income of farmers and fisher folk in the community.
This programme is funded by a grant from the P&G Alumni Foundation Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
Implementing partners include Engage Now Africa, Lead Afrique International and Cheerful Hearts Foundation.
On 11th June 2021, United Way Ghana joined other organizations and individuals to mark the Green Ghana Day in the Ashanti, Central and Greater Accra regions as part of United Way Ghana’s LIVE UNITED Campaign activities. Working with close to 150 young learners and 30 volunteers, United Way Ghana planted 100 assorted trees in 10 schools.
Prior to the planting, Ms Janet Butler educated the young learners on the importance of keeping our environment green and encouraged them to nurture the seedlings to ensure that they grow to become trees that will improve air quality and provide food for mankind.
The LIVE UNITED campaign is a global, multichannel campaign that is reaching millions to support the recovery, reimagining and rebuilding – without leaving anyone behind. The pandemic has reinforced the importance of taking care of each other. It has also reinforced the importance of United Way’s mission: to galvanize the caring power of communities.
That is why United Way is working to help communities we serve across 40 countries come back stronger, as more equitable places where everyone can thrive. With your support, we can help every person have an equal opportunity to succeed. Strong communities need a strong United Way. Now more than ever, we need to LIVE UNITED. Click on the link below to help us support more communities.
Marking the 2021 Day of Action event, United Way Ghana, in partnership with the Manya Krobo Queenmothers’ Association and Delcielo Optical Services, engaged 25 older adults in health and educational activities. Within a span of 4 hours, these older adults learnt how to use beads to make necklaces and bracelets plus learned the meaning of different beads and formations. They underwent full eye examinations, and sensitization on eye care. The beneficiaries were served lunch, given food packages that can last for at least two weeks, and two sets of beaded necklaces and bracelets to take home. Out of the 25, 12 got their eyes examined, 5 received eye drops, 3 received reading lenses, and another 3 bifocal lenses.
Beyond the support we gave to these individuals, we also demonstrated the power of Living United by engaging them in fun activities like singing and dancing. We gave them the opportunity to share the history of their community with us. Feedback we received indicated how that day will be a memory they will cherish and retain for a very long time.
This year’s Day of Action program focused on supporting older adults who have not been properly cared for by their families as a result of financial constraints related to the pandemic.
The Chief of Chorkor, Nii Kwao Tettey, said “Blessings to all who contributed to touching the lives of the aged in my community and providing them with food packages. Most have never visited the clinic or hospital to get their eyes checked but through this Day of Action, they have visited the optometrist, received their lenses and eye drops.
Madam Abiba Yarley Yartey, who is 76 years old, stated, ‘I am very grateful to United Way for the support. Being a beneficiary of the Day of Action event and receiving food items that can last for a month has removed the burden of struggling to feed my physically and mentally challenged children for a while’.
Madam Charlotte, another of the beneficiaries said, “My eyes were in great pain but since I could not pay for the treatment, I had to endure the pain. I thank God for bringing United Way Ghana to my aid. Thank you, United Way Ghana”.