1. Who we help
Children from extremely poor families in Ghana who are exploited and abused, often trafficked internally for black market adoptions, forced work in factories, constructional sites, salt fields, mining companies or brothels, or trafficked to other African countries to beg for arms or worse. Families trapped in poverty with no social net and laboring under severe difficulties such as HIV/AIDS, alcoholism or domestic violence, are unable to adequately care for and protect their children from traffickers and abusers.
HACGhana has found in our slums that extreme poverty, unstable income, family dysfunction and health crises, especially chronic health problems such as HIV/AIDS or TB, are the major issues that high-risk families face.
We identify highly vulnerable families as those living within our target poor urban communities who have either already trafficked, exploited or abused a child, or who have a major crisis such as HIV or labor-trafficked parents, or are in a known high-risk category, such as teenage step-children through home visitation and outreach programs.
2. How our model is implemented
HACGhana main activities are the provision of education, social work, income generation and health programs from within all the community centers we operate or our target areas. These programs directly benefit up to around 300 children at each site.
Developing a new site:
- 1. Identify immediate high-risk children
- 2. Open an initial classroom at the site
- 3. Expand programs at the site to meet specific community needs
- 4. Identify hidden high-risk children through community knowledge
- 5. Enroll parents and families in programs to address long-term challenges
- 6. Graduate families that have transitioned to stable and thriving
We roll out our programs at a new site by first opening a single classroom for our after-school tuition program, with one teacher, one housemother and a social worker, working with 30 high-risk children aged 5 to 15 years old. While we work with this first group, our social worker interviews and identifies more high-risk families.
After several months, we add additional programs tailored to the fishing, farming communities and the slum’s most urgent needs, and expand our educational programs, such as to an additional after-school class, public school enrollment and a kindergarten.
This staggered approach means our pro-programs are effective for the needs of that specific community, supported by the community and reach the most vulnerable children.
3. Long-term Sustainability
A significant minority of our families have recovered enough to graduate fully from our programs. With support from our income generation programs such as small loans and business training, and positive changes from our social work programs such as reduced domestic violence or improved parenting, families have been both able and willing to take responsibility for some or all of their children’s educational needs.
We have families pay for extra English classes, pay school fees, provide stationery and more for their children. This has become a marker of social success within our slum and farming communities.
For program supplies, we have been able to source for donations of goods from National diserster management, a strong show of local support. Our school uniforms are sewn by our train Girls under the vocational program, a sheltered co-op workshop of teenage girls, providing direct employment and income. Our train girls have now begun sewing uniforms for other NGOs as well.
Our donor support is growing little by little day in , day out and we anticipate we will have funds to allocate to the project the second half of next year.
There may also be scope to charge users of the service on a subsidized basis,for example, our day-care support, after the first year or free childcare support, provided they have attained steady and safe employment sufficient to cover these costs.
Volunteers in Ghana are ardent supporters because they have seen both the need for and the effectiveness of our work in Ghana.
4. Leveraging Our Network
We have developed close co-operative relationships with the local people and traditional rulers in the areas we operate. We are part of two local organization 2 local organization under the coalitions of NGO’s in all the district in Ghana and have built direct working ties with complementary organizations in health, education, employment and social services to allow our families and children access a far greater range of services while keeping our costs low.
5. Monitoring and Assessing Programs
We evaluate our programs on a regular basis to ensure that students are progressing academically and identify students that need additional help. This includes regular class reports on grades and behavior from the state schools, our orphanages, and as well as our own after-school teachers programs.
We hold weekly staff meetings and prepare monthly written reports on our activities in all the communities we work in, which helps us monitor our work and identify areas for improvement or expansion. In addition, our social workers are interacting on a daily basis with families in the communities where we work, and will monitor experiences of our beneficiaries.
We monitor the health, academic progress and behavior of the children through our housemothers’ reports and monitoring by our social workers. As with all our families, all staff are trained to also look out for signs of deteriorating family conditions that may put children at risk of trafficking through our out reach programs.
For education, example, we track the impact and effectiveness of our project with the following indicators:
- A – Student drop-outs/Students enrolled – under 15%
- B – High school graduates/High school students enrolled – above 90%
- C – Days absent/Days attending school – less than 10%
- D – Students enrolled/Children identified as high-risk – more than 60%
As we want our project to have maximum impact, we work on a long-term strategy, making sure that we follow through with support for students through to high school and employment. We aim for a minimum of Junior Secondary School(Grade 8) for the less academic children, who can then enter vocational training, and Senior Secondary School (Grade 12) and further tertiary training for those capable.
6. Financial Management
HACGhana keeps detailed budgets and financial records in all the regions we operate in Ghana. Our full financial reports will be published regularly on our website. Our payroll policy is to pay strictly average market-rate salaries with excellent health insurance and staff training benefits. We look for financial efficiency such as negotiating bulk school fee payments and sourcing free or low-cost services from other organizations, churches and Philanthropist. We have strict internal financial regulations and a zero-tolerance policy for staff who break financial regulations.