Emma’s most memorable business meeting

As AfriKids’ UK Corporate Partnerships Manager, Emma Mortoo is used to meeting businessmen on a daily basis. On her recent trip to Ghana, her first since joining AfriKids, Emma met Albert, a local business man. Here she tells us why it was her most memorable business meeting yet.

 

 

Albert (pictured above) worked for six years as a “galamsey” boy – the term used locally in Ghana for someone who works in the informal deep shaft gold mines in northern Ghana.  A dangerous occupation for anyone, but especially for a seven year old.  Albert worked with his mum in and around the mines for six years from the age of 7-12.  From a very poor family he told me his parents had managed to send him to school for a few years, so he had learnt to read before he had to drop out.  AfriKids supported Albert through the Education Fund to get out of the mines and go back to school – a complex journey involving another local benefactor who spotted his potential. Albert was a really smart kid, and he told me proudly but humbly how he had  rapidly caught up on missed years of education. At every given opportunity he spent time at the AfriKids ICT Academy, soaking up as much knowledge of computers, programming and networking as he could – he says he “loved it and happily did a few errands around the place to earn a bit of chop [food] money”

 

Following  senior high school,  Albert was offered a place at university in Ghana’s capital Accra, to study IT; without the AfriKids Education Fund he says he simply wouldn’t have been able to take up the offer.  He graduated, of course, with a first and top of his year.   A huge achievement in itself, but, the story doesn’t end there….

 

Today Albert introduces himself as the founder and CEO of Norgence –a software business that provides IT systems to the niche market of micro-finance and credit unions organizations in northern Ghana. When I met him in Bolgatanga last month Albert had delayed his trip to Tamale, a city two hours away, where he was off to secure his 45th client.  Albert wants to create employment for local young people in sales and marketing, customer services and programming and he’s set to scale his business.

 

Getting his business up and running was a challenge. He told me  that, “creating confidence in a Ghanaian designed product, especially from someone in the north was a big obstacle”.  One he overcame with a winning combination of excellent customer service and a very reliable product. I confess to a bit of smiling and polite nodding as Albert explained software platforms and programming language he uses for his systems. All of his customers have come through word of mouth. Sadly, his mum didn’t live to see what he’s made of his life.

 

Of course not all AfriKids’ beneficiaries are IT geniuses but Albert does represent the impact AfriKids has in northern Ghana on the lives of children and young people. From the streets and into schools, out of mines and into vocational training; with consistent support that makes long lasting change a reality for the poorest kids.  It’s not the cheapest international development model around but it works!  I saw a huge number of children and young people who had been lifted from poverty and were training to be mechanics and seamstresses (often supporting the whole of their families) and children who were now spending most of their time in school instead of working on the streets.

 

Hearing his story made meeting Albert by far my most memorable business meeting yet.

A Christmas message from AfriKids

There’s been a lot of publicity recently about the media’s representation (and misrepresentation!) of Africa; West Africa in particular. The Ebola outbreak and the subsequent re-release of another Band Aid single have got people discussing this and bringing pity fundraising back into question. For AfriKids it’s encouraging to see public debate on something we’re very passionate about - saying no to pity. From Emeli Sande questioning the lyrics to the charity single, to Fuse ODG eloquently explaining why he had to turn down his involvement in the single, people are engaging with some of the issues that AfriKids tackle on a daily basis.

 

The staff of AfriKids Ghana are all following these discussions carefully and wanted to share their own positive take on the situation. What better way than through song!

 

 

If you want to support the work of AfriKids this Christmas, you can do so in a way that means you could win something awesome back. Check out our Snowball Raffle for 24 fantastic prizes, or click here for alternative donation details.

 

Merry Christmas!

 

#GivingTuesday and AfriKids’ Snowball Raffle

This #GivingTuesday, why not make a donation that offers you or a loved one the chance to win something amazing back! We’re proud to introduce The Snowball Raffle!


What is the Snowball Raffle?

 

Well, it’s actually 24 raffles offering a chance to win brilliant prizes while raising funds for AfriKids’ award-winning child rights work in northern Ghana. The greatest thing about The Snowball Raffle? Because we’re limited in the tickets we can sell, as the price to enter goes up, the prizes get better, and your odds improve. Yes, your odds improve!

 

Go to www.snowballraffle.co.uk for the chance to win great prizes

 

The Prizes

 

We have 24 fantastic prizes on offer (all donated at no cost to AfriKids) from a luxury scented candle, right through to a weekend break in Europe thanks to British Airways and Hilton Hotels. You can also win pampering experiences, signed merchandise from One Direction and Suede, artwork, furniture, and a cycling wine tasting holiday! Did we mention the music, clothing, beer, handbag, VIP festival tickets and the latest gadgets?

AfriKids relies on the generosity of so many supporters throughout the year so this is our way of saying thanks for your Christmas donation.

 

Good luck!

 

 

Meet Linda ‘Santa Claus’ Malaguti!

AfriKids’ Finance & Operations Coordinator, Linda Malaguti, is all set to run 10km for AfriKids dressed as Santa Claus along with her friend Lucia! Here she tells us why…

 

 

I have been working in AfriKids for four months now and every day I have been falling in love more with this organisation. Maybe it is because of the extreme passion that every single staff member puts in his/her work both in the UK and in Ghana or because I have always had passion for international cooperation and development issues. I find AfriKids suits me very well.

 

I have a Masters degree in Economics and Local Development and I have always been convinced that local development has to be made by local actors, who know what the local needs are and have the right cultural language to communicate with the local people. I think AfriKids’ work in Ghana and its grassroots approach is simply admirable.

 

On December 6th I am going to dress like Santa Claus and run 10km because I want to support all of this!

 

So, folks, come one and all and cheer for me and AfriKids! A small or big donation help as well!:)

 

You can sponsor Linda’s festive efforts here.

Commonwealth Foundation helps AfriKids expand

Earlier this year we were proud to announce the expansion of the work of the Kassena Nankana Area Programme thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Fund. This work will see an increase in reach of our work with physically disabled children and those with learning disabilities. We’re now pleased to share that thanks to the Commonwealth Foundation we’re able to expand our work  eradicating harmful beliefs using the same techniques that were previously successful in Sirigu. AfriKids Ghana’s Raymond Ayinne gives us an on the ground report on the festival that launched it. 

 

The Commonwealth Foundation funding to fight spirit children belief in the Bongo District has been launched as a part of the community’s Azambene festival. The Chief of Bongo expressed relief that the seeming abuse of children, especially the killing of children in his traditional area will be a thing of the past.

Nich Kumah, the Country Director of AfriKids, outlined the nature of the project saying that it will work with stakeholders to ensure that no child loses his life to the belief. The Upper East Regional Minister acknowledged the work of AfriKids in tackling age old traditional beliefs and said he was excited that the organisation was extending its work to Bongo. He called on the various communities to support AfriKids to succeed with the programme.

 

As you can see from these photographs, the day was loud, bright and fun with drums and dancing as well as the serious messages of the festival. A great start to what will be a great project.