On 20th July 2021, the Ministry Strategy Committee of the Board of World Vision Ghana safely arrived at the Afram Plains Area Programme (AP) by grace. Among members of the Committee who arrived were Committee Chair Rev. Dr. Erasmus Odonkor, Dr. Mary Amoako Coleman, Dr. Rita Larsen Reindorf, and Dr. Ernest Ofori Asamoah. They joined week-long activities and were inspired by the following stories.
World Vision was set to organise their 26th Chosen™ event at Abotanso Community in the Afram Plains North District. The members of the Ministry Strategy Committee of the Board of World Vision Ghana were present, fully participated and contributed to making this a memorable event.
Before the event, Christopher Teye made a brief presentation on the Afram Plains Area Programme (AP) after morning devotions. The presentation included an overview on the Community Engagement and Sponsorship Programme (CESP) and implementation of the Technical Programmes.
Sponsorship Manager, Mabel Akuyo Adobor, also made a brief presentation on the Chosen™ event. She revealed that Chosen™ started within the World Vision Partnership in September 2019, helping the organisation to acquire new sponsors for vulnerable children.
According to Mabel, the first Chosen™ event in Ghana was organised at World Vision's Zabzugu AP in November 2019 with support from World Vision's Spain Office. So far, World Vision's Ghana office has organised 26 Chosen™ events, in Zabzugu, West Gonja, Wa West, Builsa South, Krachi West, Fanteakwa and Afram Plains. About 1,400 children have participated in these events.
The members of the Ministry Strategy Committee of the World Vision Board later joined the Chosen™ event. At the choosing station, they watched and admired how children happily and confidently walked to choose their sponsors. They supported staff and Child Welfare Officers (CWOs) to register the children, and guided some of the very young children to write their introductory letters.
The excitement during the event got to its peak with a series of Boborbor music and dance. The Boborbor group was joined by the members of the Ministry Strategy Committee, World Vision staff, and community members including the children who came to participate. This was the kind of groove that could keep anyone moving, and make you forget all your worries! The joy, the happiness, the smiles and excitement were unmeasurable.
Community Care Coalition Group: Epitome of Community Resilience
The day the committee members visited Kwasi Addae could be described as a state of high momentum. The day’s activities began with a beautiful sermon from the Vice Chair of the Ministry Strategy Committee of the Board, Dr. Ernest Ofori Asamoah.
He enlightened staff on the path to restoration with reference from the life of Ezra in the Bible. He continued to advise staff to see and be grateful for the good in their lives, however little, and to have hope in situations of despair, to seek support from leadership, to work differently and have a fresh mindset and behaviour. “God is a God of restoration. He wants to restore us but the restoration will come when we have a change of mind and behaviour”, he said.
The committee and staff later moved to Kwasi Addae community to visit the Community Care Coalition Group of Kwasi Addae Community. The group welcomed the committee members and staff and both parties and exchanged greetings. The Chair of the Committee, Rev. Dr. Erasmus Odonkor made the Coalition group aware that the purpose of the visit was to witness the community’s resilience and to learn from them.
Chief of the community and leader of the Care Coalition Group, Nana Asante narrated how the community Kwasi Addae came to being.
According his grandparents, Kwasi Addae was a hunter who happened to be his ancestor. There was no settlement during that period so Kwasi Addae travelled from far to hunt and later decided to settle and hunt in the forest. It got to a time when traders travelled from nearby communities to buy these hunted animals from Kwasi Addae the hunter. The traders who would come to buy from Kwasi Addae realised that the land was not just blessed with animals to hunt but also fertile to farm. Hence the need to settle and also farm on the land. Gradually, the land became a community.
The Community Care Coalition Group is a strong and vibrant group formed from the community through guidance and coaching of World Vision's Afram Plains AP. The group comprises of representatives of all aspects or sectors that contribute to development. The group has representatives from Child Protection, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and Health, Savings, Education, Local Council of Churches, Islamic community and other institutions.
According to the Sponsorship and Child Protection Officer, Danial Kwarteng Amponsah, the community initially had separate groups which are key stakeholders who were helping in championing the development of the community. However, each of these groups were working independently thus not making their work effective.
Here, World Vision had to come in. The organisation met with all the separate groups and introduced the idea of coming together to address the community needs. The group bought into the idea and merged as one group having all the institutions’ represented, including the Children’s Club representative.
A member of the coalition gave a solid presentation on how the coalition operates and how they make decisions contributing to the community’s development. They also gave immeasurable testimonies on how formation of the Community Care Coalition has helped them to develop the community in oneness and in unity for the purpose of their children’s future. Thus, their slogan “yjn mma yi, jne yjn daakye” which literary means “Our Children; Our Future”
The coalition disclosed how they mobilised funds and resources to build their own health facility with a solar source of electric power. Together with the community, they led the Ministry Strategy Committee members to the health facility to tour and witness their efforts in developing the community on their own.
The committee members were so impressed with the community’s effort in development, and went further to donate a cash amount of GH¢1000 ($160) as a token to encourage the community’s act of showing resilience and sustainability.
Victory Children’s Club; Soul of Odomase Community
The third day on the field began peacefully with an inspiring sermon by Dr. Rita Larsen Reindorf during a usual morning devotion. She reminded staff of the organisation’s mission, which states that “World Vision is an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God”.
Dr. Rita Larsen Reindorf touched on the topic, “Endurance” with reference from Hebrew 12:2-3. “My word of encouragement is that let us not be discouraged and weary in whatever we do. The only way we will not be discouraged and weary is by looking up to Jesus Christ”, she said, using Jesus Christ as an example of how He came to suffer and endured so much pain so that we would be saved.
Later in the day, The Ministry Strategy Committee and World Vision staff travelled to visit the Victory Children’s Club at Odomase community. The children warmly welcomed their guests, and introductions from both sides were made.
The Children’s Club always starts its meetings with a prayer and ends with a prayer. They have a slogan which states “Hand in hand we can do it to the end. Like an eagle soars across the sky and reaches out to the stars so bright”.
A series of presentations was made by these children, led by a member of the Child Parliament in the Afram Plains. She pointed out some challenges the various clubs are facing and requested that parents, community members and World Vision should always involve them in decision-making and planning, respecting their views at all times. She pleaded that facilitators should not raise their voices and insult them when they are wrong. Children also requested that World Vision should help in training their facilitators and consider providing them with sign language instructors, since some of them are disabled.
Members of the Victory Children’s Club then demonstrated how to stop bleeding, narrated how their ice cream business began and how it has financially benefited members of the club, and recorded their contributions during meetings.
Members afterwards shuffled to their various groups to learn. They had the World Vision Sponsorship Group, Spiritual Nurture Group, Ambulance and First Aid Group, Peer Education Group, Fire and Safety Group, and WASH in Sermons Group. Members of the committee joined these various groups to share ideas with them and learn from them as well.
The Ministry Strategy Committee expressed how impressive these children had been. It was fascinating to see how these children managed to start an ice cream business with just GH¢30 (50 US cents) and have raised GH¢800 (US$130) so far. Some of the amount raised has been used to support some of their members in critical health conditions. The Committee for this reason has promised to support the Children’s Club with a refrigerator to support them in maintaining and expanding their ice cream business.
After the day's activities, the Ministry Strategy Committee and staff returned to the AP office for debriefing. During the debriefing, Dr. Ernest Ofori Asamoah stated that the communities, especially Kwasi Addae, have come to a realisation that World Vision will not be with them forever. Therefore, there has been the need to be self-resilient and sustainable. He also expressed his love for the level of organisation of the Children’s Club.
Dr. Rita Larsen Reindorf admired the unity amongst the World Vision staff and their connection between communities in which they work. “There is a clear evidence of partnership and smooth collaboration”, she said.
According to Dr. Mary Amoako Coleman, there are lots of stories that need to be told. She urged staff to do more in telling their stories from the field, especially the Community Care Coalition Groups and Children’s Clubs. “Outcomes from the fields can be a case study for research institutions as well”, she said. Rev. Dan. Salifu added by suggesting that World Vision Cluster Offices should introduce cross-visits to enable other APs and clusters to adopt and learn from one another.
Rev. Dr. Erasmus Odonkor ended by thanking World Vision staff for their unity, teamwork and collaboration, leadership and service. “It’s so clear, and we are grateful to God that we are not just putting it on paper but we are typical examples, and the Christian way of life is part of us”, he concluded.