2018 – the year in review

What we would have very much liked to report on here was the start of the construction of the school. Unfortunately our anticipated planning didn’t work out even and therefore we have to wait for another couple of month till the beginning of the construction works.

Though the year 2018 started with a construction site. For the second time we dug for a borehole, after the contractor at that time made a mistake with the first one.  That’s why we put a lot emphasis on the siting. And also the new contractor made a good work. And finally the new borehole could be put into operation in January. Since then it is a big help for the community, because it delivers both drinking water and water for the everyday work.

Our big aim at the beginning of the year was however the construction of part of the school. We planned for a three classroom building with an office. The overall cost of 72.000€ was too much for our NGO to finance it on our own. That’s why we looked for donators and foundations. As a matter of fact we concentrated on getting the support of the German federal ministry of development and economic cooperation (BMZ). That gives sponsorships to projects in the development sector. We applied for such a sponsorship because we fulfil the formal criteria and we thought our project would meet their target group well. However it was rejected, since they thought that we have not carried out enough projects yet. This was a big disappointment for us since we put a lot of effort into that application and we had high hopes. Now we had to change our plans and think in smaller steps.

These took precise shape in the form of another construction project. This time we planned a single classroom with an office and a store room, which would be much cheaper. At the same time we wanted to connect this construction project with capacity development. Already during the construction of the borehole we founded a committee which was in charge of handling and maintaining it. The same we wanted to do this time with an educational committee which should promote education among the community members. Altogether we applied for funding by the W.P. Schmitz foundation for this project.  However they currently have so many things to work on that the earliest time point they can examine it is in January. So we still hope that they will grant it.

Also in Ghana there were delays due to the administration. Although we are already in the possession of the land where the school should stand, we wanted to transfer it to our partner NGO respectively give them a 90 year lease. Thereby we try to set up professional structures instead of putting our trust into single persons. Unfortunately there stands a big administrative effort behind this process. Probably bureaucracy is a nasty topic in each country but especially in Ghana we were hit hard by it. Even though we already applied for it in September the lease is not completely through. Lately the death of an important traditional leader delayed it for some other months.

At the end of the year we gained a new cooperation partner. The Fitness Lounge Cham started a challenge system for us, in which their members’ training achievements generate donations for us. This ways they handed us over 1600€. Because of the big success of the event the Fitness Lounge Cham wants to continue with their support.

At this point we want to mention the Konrad-Adenauer-Gymnasium Westerburg and especially the AG for development and piece and the six graders. They held a charity run for our project where they collected 4900€.

Even though the construction of the school still keeps us waiting many donators, members and supporters stay loyal with us. We want to express our gratitude for their trust, because this not only means a financial support to us but also gives us motivation to continue with our work. That’s why we start with a lot of wishes, expectations and zest for action into the hopefully successful year 2019!

 

A borehole for Taha

In the long-time planning of the school there was always considered to dig a borehole, first however only to supply the students and teachers with drinking water. But our local partner ensured us that already during the construction period the direct accessibility of water would make work much easier. Moreover the easier access to clean drinking water would mean a tremendous improvement of the inhabitants’ situation.

Therefore in 2016 a borehole for drinking water was dug, equipped with an electric submersible pump. However the building enterprise made a big mistake and that’s why shortly afterwards caving sand congested the pump and the borehole was impossible to run.
We couldn’t draw the enterprise to responsibility, by now they are insolvent, and that’s why we had to start from zero. We all agreed that a new borehole is absolutely necessary. But this time we applied for different grants. Through this it came to a delay till we finally decided to run the project on our own budget.

From this point our partners in Ghana took over. This was also the first official project of the newly founded “Northern Educational Alliance” (NEA), our partner NGO.
The biggest challenge already came up at the beginning of the project. It was sitting for the right place to dig. Therefor several geological surveys were conducted for different sites. Tamale and the surrounding area, to which Saguli belongs is well known for the low lying groundwater line and this was also a problem we had to face when drilling the first borehole.

For the contract of the drilling we made a bid and Terrahydro Associates LTD. was the company which finally won among three drilling companies. They began drilling on the 13th of January 2018. The expectations were very high und therefore many inhabitants came to watch the work. Among the people present at the drilling site where the chairman for NEA and his Executives, the chief of Saguli and some of his elders, the Assembly member of the area and cross section of the youth and women of the community. The joy and the relief were enormous when finally at approximately 80 metres depth water was hit. The work delayed for another month because the contractor had to fetch mechanizing material from the national capital. However on the 28th of February 2018 the project was successfully completed.

From now on the borehole is available as a source of drinking water for the inhabitants. It is run by a fuel driven generator. A specifically founded water committee composed of the community members will care for its running costs as well as the maintenance of the borehole. As soon as the school is completed the borehole should be primarily used by the students.

We and the community members of Saguli are highly pleased about the successful completion of the project which will significantly improve the local situation. Even if it is just a small step, it is a step towards the right direction.

 

 

 

Annual review over the year 2017

Even though there is still no school building on our property in Taha, a lot has happened last year. Of course, we want to keep you up to date and have put together a yearly overview of the past year:

Strong local partner

In 2017, an NGO (non-governmental organization) was founded in Ghana under the name “Northern Educational Alliance“. Their chairman and our long-standing partner, Alhassan Salifu, had the basic idea for the Taha-school-project. The newly founded association aims to create structures for education, especially for girls, in northern Ghana. The NGO consists of five members and is our local partner association.

Exchange with other associations

Founder and chairman Christoph Wenzl took part in an advisory seminar of the organisation “bengo“, a subordinate body of BMZ, in May. The focus of the two-day seminar was the question of how to submit funding applications and what has to be considered, especially in other countries. Christoph also received many other valuable tips on project work and was able to exchange ideas with representatives of other associations and establish contacts. The goal for the new year is therefore to structure the work in Ghana even better and to work sustainably on site. For this reason, a water committee and an education committee have been set up in Ghana to monitor progress and problems and to ensure the long-term success of the project.

Inspired by the impressions from the seminar, we mainly dealt with the planning of the project last year. In this way, we were able to develop a solid basis for all further steps and hope to submit a funding application to the German Federal Ministry for Development and Economic Cooperation (BMZ) this year to finance the school’s main building.

A new borehole for Taha

Our partners in Ghana were also busy last year. They hired a new well drilling company. At the beginning of this year, work will now begin on the new well, which is important not only for construction work but also for the later operation of the school. First of all, however, the well should serve as a source of drinking water for the villagers, as they have so far only had very difficult access to clean water, and we hope to improve their living conditions in the long term.

Thank you!

Finally, we would like to thank you. Without the active support of our members and donors we would never have come so far. Taha-Schul-Projekt e. V. already has 32 members! We would like to thank you for all membership fees, all donations collected at birthday parties and other events and for your help in organizing and coordinating the daily tasks.  We would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Robert Wenzl, who redesigned our website last year.

We look forward to an exciting and productive year 2018!

 

 

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News from the construction site

First progress can be seen. Building materials could be purchased with a part of the donations. The workers at Ghbalahi moulded about 1000 blocks out of sand and cement. Later on the four blocks, of wich the school contains, will be constructed out of these blocks. Furthermore the ground plot was marked, as you can see on the left picture. Best requirements, this is how it can go on.