Do you know Ananse and how he managed to outwit Mr Tortoise? Or Kofi, the clever schoolboy and his tricks? Have you heard of the black pot, out of which suddenly a rabbit jumped? And do you know what happened to the boy who turned into a tree?

The circuit supervisor of Sagnarigu hands over the books to the principal of a primary

No?!? Then maybe you should ask the children of Taha.
Because while you are reading this article, they probably sit excitedly over the books, in which these adventures are told. Overall theses are 600 story books for primaries and Junior High Schools in Ghana, which our partner organisation Northern Educational Alliance (NEA) distributed to children at four schools in the Taha area last week. They were proudly supported by the circuit supervisor of Sagnarigu, the Northern chairman of CCT and delegates from the chief palace.

This was part of the reading-project, which we conduct in close partnership with the Ghana Education Service to improve the children’s learning skills. The GES found out that you can catch up deficiencies in learning with continuous reading exercises. The problem herein is that the children are lacking the materials since they own very few books themselves and only the bigger schools in the country possess libraries.

That’s why together with the NEA we planned the “schoolbooksproject”, where, in a first step, we distributed story books. In the following weeks the children will have time to read the books and events like reading competitions or quizzes will motivate them alongside.

The project could be financed with the donations of the last months, but we would especially like to thank the students of the Joseph-von-Fraundorfer Gymnasium Cham, who collected more than 1800€ at a charity run. But we also want to express our gratitude to all other supporters!

In the gallery you can get a few impressions from the books distribution:

On behalf of the whole NGO we want to thank the “Chamer Squash und Freizeitclub e.V.” for their donation of 1,000€ for our project. These are the revenues of this years sommernight-festival. The “Old-Shatterhand-Festival“, how it is widely known, attracted a lot of people in Pitzling for the 31st time this year. With the donation the Chamer Squashclub wants to give us starting aid for our planned start of construction.

Raimund Huber und Hans Schmaderer (li. u. re. außen) vom Chamer Squash- und Freizeitclub e.V. übergeben im Beisein von Schulleiter Uwe Mißlinger die Spende von 1000,- € an die Betreuerin des schuleigenen Kinderhilfswerks, Wally Kutscher, die damit das Taha-Schulprojekt unterstützt.

Furthermore we thank the Joseph-von-Fraunhofer Gymnasium Cham, which supports us since the beginning within the framework of their children-social-aid unter the chair of Wally Kutscher and which accepted the donation for us. Special thanks goes to StD a.D. Christian Nowotny, who adverted our project to the chair of the Chamer Squashclub. (Originalreport: jvfg-cham.de)

1116 km. This is the distance between Cham and Rome. However this wasn’t about an extreme Marathon to the Italian capital. Because the students from the Joseph-von-Fraunhofer Gymnasium (JvFG) accomplished this distance in totally 1800 rounds around the “Quadfeldmühle” in Cham. They made this sudatory effort not just for fun but for charity: In the end of the charity run they collected 3,653.40 € in total, because 2 € were donated for each round by a private sponsor.

The organizers of the charity run handed over the donation at the JvFG’s closing ceremony

This sum was shared in equal parts between two charity projects which are both closely linked with the JvFG: First of all the partnerschool in Togo, the Collège Saint Albert le Grand Atakpamé, got the subsidy for urgent renovations. And second our NGO got the other part of the donation for our big project, the start of the construction of the first classroomblock. The JvFG is supporting us since the very first beginning, mostly within the framework of their “children’s social-aid”, but also with events like this.

We want to thank all the students for their great effort but also the organizers of the event, Margot Alt and Andrea Rothfischer and we wish you all a happy vacation.

The handing over of the donation on Saturday, 20th of July, went on really jovially. A delegation of our NGO met with members of the amateur-theatre-group Pemfling at the terrace of the restaurant “Da Virginio” in Cham. Their chairman, Katja Kraus, handed over a check worth 1.000 € (= 6,000 Ghc). This is part of the return of their last season, which they donate to charity since the beginning. Our chairman, Christoph Wenzl, gratefully took the donation and informed them about the current situation and the planned projects.

Our whole NGO wants to thank the amateur-theatre-group Pemfling for their great support! Whoever is interested in their plays, might want to check out their website: www.laienspiel-pemfling.de. The season usually starts after Christmas in December and January.

Step after step our project is taking shape. Even though we are both in Germany and in Ghana busy with planning the first building of our school, the appointment in Tamale last Friday had highest priority in Alhassan Salifu’s timetable, the chairman of our partner organization.
For the meeting with two very important representatives of the Ghanaian state was about the future of our project after completing the first building.

Samata Mahama is the district education director for the Sagnarigu district, which means that she is the highest authority for all educational matters in our operating area. The second official was Mahama Rukiya who is the Human Ressource Manager. One of her duties is among others assigning new teachers to our school.

As one can guess from looking at the picture the meeting was very successful. The two executives assured us full support by the government. This includes for example an unobstructed participation of our students in the WASSCEs once they complete school.

Furthermore it is planned since long that we will hand over the school to the government one day. Even if this was a regular method once it is banned right now. However they assured us that the ban will be lifted very soon and that we can already apply for the takeover.

Even though some representatives of our NGO already met the former officeholder this follow-up was very important since the positions had been staffed new after a change in government in 2017. Nevertheless this has no implications for our project because the new director is totally on our side.

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!

 

Still in 2018 our cooperation with the Fitnesslounge Cham started. The owner Martin Hiebl was very excited about our project and wanted to support us.
In November the first event started: The “Let’s move for a better world challenge”.
In a challenge system the members’ training achievements were converted into points for which the fitnesscenter in return donated money to us. Thereby they already collected 1600€, which were officially handed over to our vice chairman Andreas Sperlich during the Christmas brunch of the Fitnesslounge.

The charity event gained a lot of positive feedback among the members, that’s why we will continue with the cooperation. At the moment a lottery is running and its benefit will also be donated to our project. We thank Martin Hiebl and the Fitnesslounge Cham for their great support and wish all the members a lot of fun at the training!

Still there is eager whispering and laughter but then suddenly silence sets in the assembly hall of the Konrad-Adenauer-Gymnasium(KAG)  in Westerburg. Drum beating sounds from the speakers. Christoph Wenzl rises the students’ attention for the following programme with a short opening movie.

Because on June 11th there was neither maths nor German on the sixth graders’ timetable. Instead for two hours they got introduced to the life in Africa, the Ghanaian school system and the Taha-School-Project’s work. With the help of many pictures Christoph Wenzl impressively presented the everyday life in Ghana, he showed the capital crowded with cars and just as well crowded shops. The youths were carried away to a new world and they marvelled at the sight of the strange and surprising pictures from Ghana.

After the general introduction Wenzl reported on the student’s life in Ghana and especially presented the work of the Taha-School-Project. Beginning with the funding idea to the next planned construction projects he explained every detail to the students. Finally he showed a video of the borehole which was completed this year, which earned much applause from the audience. It was very important for Wenzl to stress the NGO’s tasks, since he wanted to show the youths on what their donations are spent.

This was the reason in the first place why our chairman travelled to Westerburg, because the earnings of the annual charity run will be donated to the Taha-School-Project this year.

The event as well as the talk were organized by the working group for development and peace (AGEF), a student’s union. The responsible of the group were very pleased about the talk as well as the supervising teacher and they assured that this gave the students extra motivation to collect donations on the charity run the following week.

And indeed, this is what happened, because the sixth graders were able to collect the amazing sum of 4800€. We cordially thank them for their donation and the invitation to the talk. We are always happy to talk about our work and motivate young people to get engaged. A special thanks goes to the members of the AGEF for the great organization.

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.

 

 

 

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!