‘Nkabom’: Connection + Collaboration for Ghana

Hearts and hands connect to fundraise for 3 incredible Ghana-based causes, and I learn the inspirational stories behind today’s trailblazing British-Ghanaians.

Girls Flow Free distribute menstrual hygiene products and education sessions in several regions in Ghana (Image courtesy of Girls Flow Free)

In the Twi language of Ghana, the word ‘nkabom’ signifies ‘unity’ and ‘connecting hearts.’

And even though many of us remain at home still as UK lockdown slowly shows signs of lifting, it is so inspiring to see that this doesn’t stop hearts and minds connecting to raise funds and awareness for important causes while we are still unable to do so properly face-to-face.

Our speakers at this informative and interactive online event on 21st April 2021 were:

  • Afua Adom – award-winning journalist, ambassador and TV presenter
  • Dawid Konotey-Ahulu – co-founder of advisory group Redington and #10000BlackInterns

And three amazing Ghana-centred charities exhibited their causes in a Dragon’s Den style ‘elevator pitch’ session:

  • Action Through Enterprise (ATE) represented by programmes and development manager Leela Shanti
  • Girls Flow Free represented by founder and executive director Sophia Acheampong
  • Move The World represented by co-founder and managing director Claire Hardy

Moderated once again by the buoyant Kellie Lucas, I learned from the cream of the established British-Ghanaian crop about opportunity, ‘giving until it hurts,’ and making a difference for others, no matter how small it might be.

Read on to find out more!

Always paying opportunity forwards

Nkabom speakers Dawid Konotey-Ahulu and Afua Adom in session

The seeds of opportunity can grow in the most unlikely places, even in the face of adversity.

“Living on $32 a day in Ghana, that’s not much by Western standards. But I had a fantastic childhood… and despite bloodshed and violence, it [helped me] be cool with uncertainty,” says Dawid of growing up in Ghana until the age of 16, only moving to the UK amid the 1979 revolution.

“Giving until it hurts… that’s how you change the world.”

Dawid Konotey-Ahulu, co-founder of Redington and #10000BlackInterns

And discovering the work of grassroots charities was making a huge difference on the ground blew him away even prior to the pandemic, as Move The World’s Claire Hardy recently told him of a remarkable 11-year-old in Ghana who changed his name to ‘No Poverty,’ and wants to start a company of his own, making sure his employees are paid properly.

“We all know we need to make a difference… as we reflect to confront our own mortality [during this pandemic]… how about giving until it hurts? That’s how you change the world.”

A recognised businessman and entrepreneur with his fingers in several pies, making the most of the opportunities that found him in life has spurred Dawid on to make sure others enjoy the same chances to better their lives, no matter the circumstances.

Now that’s how you galvanise everyone to gift somebody else the seed of an opportunity during an online fundraiser!

Making waves of opportunity from Scotland to Ghana

Action Through Enterprise help run successful small-business development programmes in Lawra district, Upper-West Ghana (Image courtesy of Action Through Enterprise)

Afua also has first-hand experience in witnessing the transformative power of opportunity.

Her Ghanaian parents would lead by example since her childhood living on the west coast of Scotland. Every year they insisted on having strangers round for Christmas dinner, and in doing so pay back the kindnesses of those who had taken the opportunity to show kindness to them along the way.

I’ve never had Christmas without a stranger at the dinner table, because my parents would literally find someone… and I loved it because they became part of our extended family!” she explains.

Before his passing, her father seized the opportunity to start a school in his own village near Kumasi. By donating books and solar lamps, and getting the village wi-fi installed, Afua saw that the opportunities extended by him helping them to carry on learning at home, something taken hugely for granted in affluent nations, is indeed a life-changing thing.

“I’ve never had Christmas without a stranger at the dinner table.”

-Afua Adom, award-winning journalist

“[We need to get] help to people that need it… people [need to know] that they can access these things,” she says of the need for improvements in Ghana’s communications and infrastructure so that all can receive fair opportunities in life.

And on that note, let the elevator pitches begin!

Three amazing charities, three Dragon’s Den pitches

Move The World’s Get Global Programme in action with 10-year old Ama (Image courtesy of Move The World)

Action Through Enterprise, Girls Flow Free, and Move The World each had six minutes to present their causes and four minutes for questions, all in aid of reaching a target of £3,000 to share between their communities across Ghana.

Sharing is caring after all!

Their terrific causes all aim to enable vulnerable groups in Ghana to find their way to empowerment through education and entrepreneurship.

Let’s find out more about what they do.

  • Action Through Enterprise’s Leela Shanti showcased their work in Lawra, which is one of the most impoverished remote areas in the Upper-West region of Ghana. Located 18 hours by road from the capital Accra, children often don’t finish school, and families can typically only afford less than four meals per week.

ATE’s initiatives include running a small-business development programme giving grants, mentoring and training for locals to create a sustainable income, an access to education and school feeding programme to help more children complete their basic education, and a special-needs awareness programme providing vital support for disabled children and their families.

ATE believe everybody has the right to access opportunities, and no child should ever have to go hungry.

  • Sophia Acheampong, founder of Girls Flow Free, starkly expressed the stigma surrounding menstruation and period poverty in Ghana.

Young girls often struggle to afford safe and hygienic menstrual products, while their families cannot even pay for basic necessities to live. This means they turn to using rags, trade sex for menstrual pads, and miss school whilst on their period, all which can negatively affect their fertility later in life.

Girls Flow Free has reached nine regions and 26 schools in Ghana’s hinterland areas, and they actively protect young girls’ health and wellbeing as well as ensuring they stay in school by delivering menstrual health and hygiene education, and distributing free menstrual products.

  • Last but not least, Move The World’s Claire Hardy set the scene for their work in educating youth in Ghana to be active global citizens in order to make their mark on the world.

Their Get Global programme is a 7-month education programme which includes a cool Get Global Passport learning journal. Activities such as bracelet-making, planting beans and mindfulness, along with exploring poverty, maintaining good health, and gender equality all fire discussion and critical thinking based on the UN’s first six Sustainable Development Goals in a safe and structured educational environment.

Move The World’s programmes have so far reached 414 students aged 10-12 in schools and community settings, and they are excited to launch Get Global 2.0 in summer 2021.

The Takeaway

Image courtesy of Nkabom

It’s truly exciting to see people all over the world harness the internet to unite for great causes in ways that were just not possible before its existence, and ‘nkabom’ was most definitely the theme of the evening as the audience raised over a thousand pounds!

I did of course donate, and I will be following all three organisations with enthusiasm and full confidence that they can and will fulfil their aims to give opportunities to vulnerable communities in Ghana, even in the face of current world circumstances.

Because when you harness ‘nkabom,’ everything is possible.

You can find out about the work of these three incredible organisations and donate to this brilliant cause by visiting the Virgin Money Giving page here.

And you can view the entire fundraising session (and Dragon’s Den elevator pitches!) on Youtube here.

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