GUEST POST – Cerebral Palsy training in Ghana

In order to achieve all we do, AfriKids regularly seeks partnership with other organisations and individuals. As part of its ongoing commitment to supporting local children with disabilities, AfriKids’ Kassena Nankana Area Programme recently worked with Cerebral Palsy Africa as part of our ongoing partnership with Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) in Sandema. In this guest blog, trainer and paediatric physiotherapist Renate Hallett writes about her experience in Ghana teaching local health professionals, mothers and volunteers, skills and techniques to improve the lives of those in the region living with Cerebral Palsy. In an area where life is already challenging thanks to poverty and uncompromising heat among other challenges, to cope with further difficulties takes a resourcefulness that is inspiring. 

 

 

In May 2014 my colleague Diane Lyle and I, both of us paediatric physiotherapists from the UK, were fortunate enough to be asked to volunteer on a training assignment in Sandema, in the far Upper East Region of Ghana for the Scottish charity Cerebral Palsy Africa in conjunction with CBM and AfriKids.

 

Our two week course was also supported by two Ghanaian physiotherapists, Charity Adjety from Accra and Judith Arthur from Kumasi. Its purpose was to give 21 Community Based Rehabilitation officers (CBR), special education officers and other health professionals insight and more understanding into the complexities of Cerebral Palsy (CP) and how to handle and help children with CP, how to support their families and how to include them within their communities.

 

A second course was run, in parallel with ours, for mothers and volunteers. They were trained to make assistive devices for their children with CP. (e.g. special supportive chairs) from cardboard using Appropriate Paper Technology (APT). Our trainees learned how such devices can make children more functional and include them in schools.

 

Cerebral Palsy is a condition, caused by damage to the developing brain (e.g. complications during birth, jaundice after birth or infections through meningitis or Cerebral Malaria). This damage can result in problems with movement and posture, communication, feeding/eating, seizures, learning, and behaviour. There is no cure for CP, but much can be done to help children to develop their full potential and include them into their communities, in spite of their disability.  Early detection is vital and can make a big difference to the long term outcomes for children with CP.

 

Many of the mothers and their children with CP who attended for the daily practical sessions of the course came from the area around Sirigu and had been selected by Joe Asakibeem and William from the AfriKids team and the physiotherapy technician Joseph Luguzizing,  based in Sandema and working for the Presbyterian CBR team under  Maxell Akanden. The course was well attended and everybody joined in with whatever there was on offer. Much was learned, not just by the trainees and we all enjoyed working together.

 

Thank you to Renate for this great post, as well as the team that she worked with in Ghana and all at Cerebral Palsy Africa

 

 

Our first event in partnership with VTB Capital raises a whopping £2,500!

Last week, AfriKids partnered with VTB Capital on our first quiz night together, which raised £2,500 for AfriKids!

 

 

We’re really excited to be partnering with VTB Capital’s London office.  Over 100 of the Russian investment bank’s staff came along to the quiz night— a fantastic turnout and real testament to the work of the Global Social Committee (Karen Horton, Nicola Holmes, Jo Blamey and Ross Sullivan) in getting the word out there!

 

There was a hilariously competitive atmosphere in the room as teams of 6-8 people battled it out to win the VTB Capital shield. Special bonus questions relating to VTB Capital and worth 3 points each really meant it was anyone’s game! Not only were teams tested on their general knowledge, but they also had to guess what film, musical or TV show was being represented by a series of emojis in the table round* (answer below)!

 

 

Teams also had to compete to see who could get 20 smarties in a bowl using chopsticks the quickest in the fun round!

 

 

VTB Capital sourced some awesome prizes for the raffle and lucky dip, such as a Power Boat trip down the Thames, a Kindle and an iPod Nano! Guests were overwhelmingly generous in supporting AfriKids through the raffle and lucky dip – never before has AfriKids seen a string of people eagerly queuing up to buy tickets!

 

AfriKids would like to thank everyone from VTB Capital who came to the quiz for helping raise an incredible £2,500 for AfriKids’ projects in Ghana. We hope to partner on more events together!

 

* Les Miserables

 

Alquity – a time to say thank you

Today our partners Alquity Investment Management are holding a ‘Thank You Day’ to personally thank and recognise clients who have helped Alquity transform 17,000 lives.

 

Alquity believes every person on the planet deserves the opportunity to succeed. For that reason, they share up to 25% of fees to support transformational projects in the area in which they operate in Africa.

 

Alquity support the AfriKids’ Family Livelihoods Support Programme operating in the Upper East Region of Ghana. Specifically, Alquity’s donations of over £12,000 have been channelled into the Nantugnia group to be distributed as business loans. Alquity also help fund the salary of Loan Officer, Emmani. Emmani passed on one of the many case studies she encounters on a weekly basis of a women who is being empowered via the provision of a microfinance loan from AfriKids:

 

Malinieya is a member of the Natugnia Microfinance Group that we support through Afrikids in Ghana. She owns a small snack shop in Bolgatanga, and before she joined the Natugnia Microfinance Group she had to travel to the market each day to buy small amounts of the ingredients that she needed.

 

 

Now that she has received her loan and training, she can buy her ingredients in bulk and has diversified her product range. Her snacks are a sell-out every day, and she now has employed an assistant to help her in her business. With the profit from her stall she has grown her savings, enabling her to send her children to school and provide them with uniforms, books and other essentials.

 

 

To read previous blog posts about Alquity please click here and to learn more about Alquity’s partnership with AfriKids please click here.

 

 

 

KNAP expansion thanks to the Big Lottery Fund

AfriKids UK fundraiser Ama Atteen has just returned from a visit to Ghana. Here she writes about being present for the celebratory launch of the expansion of one of AfriKids’ Area Programmes. 

 

Tuesday 24th June marked a new a beginning for the Kassena Nankana Area Programme (KNAP). Having secured funding from the Big Lottery Fund, AfriKids launched a new programme to continue embedding change in a region historically affected by traditional beliefs in spirit children. Through education, disability awareness raising and livelihoods support – AfriKids will be embarking on a new journey over the next three years, providing support some of the most disadvantaged people in the Upper East Region of Ghana.

 

The KNAP team have been working in the Kassena Nankana district and communities such as Sirigu with a high prevalence of infanticide linked to spirit child beliefs for over 15 years. In these communities children born with a physical disability, learning difficulties and in circumstances where misfortune has fallen upon the family have traditionally been regarded as spirit children, leading to abuse, neglect and even infanticide. Efforts by the KNAP team over the past 15 years have transformed spirit child perceptions in these communities; there have been no reports of killings in over two years in the KNAP district. The very men that once prescribed lethal concoctions for spirit children now work with AfriKids as ‘Right to Life Promoters’. The KNAP team have impressively managed to engage every level of the community, from the traditional rulers, to concoction men, families and children through the establishment of over 200 child rights clubs in the district.

 

Funding from the Big Lottery Fund over the next three years will help the KNAP team take their efforts to the next level. This is an engaged, community-led programme led by AfriKids and in collaboration with Ghana Education Services, the Department for Social Welfare and Community Based Rehabilitation. This programme involves a multi-disciplinary team of stakeholders who are pro-actively working together to improve

  • teaching skills and school management at the most disadvantaged primary schools in Kassena Nankana
  • community acceptance and support for children with disabilities
  • livelihoods for disadvantaged rural women through capacity building, thereby reducing poverty in a sustainable way.

In the next three years we expect to bring about improved teaching skills and school management in 45 of the most disadvantaged primary schools, improved community acceptance and support for 100 children with disabilities and improved livelihoods for 500 disadvantaged rural women through capacity building to reduce poverty in a sustainable way.

 

The launch of the programme kicked off with a start-up workshop for all of the key stakeholders coming together to fine tune and finalise areas of responsibility and activities for each implementing partner. Led by AfriKids Ghana, who are well known in the region for their effective programme management and collaborative approach to development. The workshop itself followed on from several consultations and workshops to design the project pre-admission of the application to Big Lottery Fund. The sense of pride, ownership and commitment to the programme was clear to see, with all stakeholders making welcome and critical contributions to the implementation of the project.

 

AfriKids’ philosophy; Listen, Empower and Sustain, embodies participatory approaches and local collaborations and this new phase of KNAP is no exception. All of the stakeholders are committed to bringing about real change in their region; they are leading the way in their communities.

 

“Today was a great day for us as a team. Today marks another beginning for the Kassena Nankana Area Programme. AfriKids (UK) and AfriKids Ghana thanks you for all you have to been doing for us to be able to move to another section of our work. Last year we declared the end of the spirit child phenomenon, this year we’re working on another section- we’re looking at disability in the area of the AfriKids Kassena Nankana Area Programme. I am happy today that we have launched another project that will take us over the next three years and I thank the Big Lottery Fund for the support they have given to us to run the project”

 

Joseph Asakibeem, Head of AfriKids’ Kassena Nankana Area Programme

 

We’re not the only ones saying no to pity!

AfriKids has always believed that development should not be funded by overseas aid based on guilt, shock and pity. Extreme images intended to promote donations off the back of pity should have no place in fundraising. Instead, real change should come about by enabling people to help themselves through business and innovation based on respect and reason.

 

Georgie Fienberg, AfriKids’ International Director and Founder, has spoken at length on the use of graphic negative images on Radio 4 and at various events. You can read all about AfriKids’ views on the issue here.

 

Echoing Georgie’s sentiment is this recent blog from Global Citizen, “Why provocative images do a disservice to people living in poverty”. The post talks of “graphic images of people starving, suffering from disease or living in wartime in order to elicit an emotional response from the viewer” and explains that “the problem is that these images oversimplify and misrepresent complex issues, misinforming the masses and perpetuating dangerous stereotypes. Furthermore the people in the images are stripped of their dignity and objectified”

 

This fantastic post reflects AfriKids’ views and so we wanted to share it. Give it a read and say no to pity!