Recently I picked up “the White Man’s Burden” a book by Bill Easterly on the failures of current development. A model organization of a new method in development is highlighted…and as I read the description of the trip along the coast of Ghana – halfway between Cape Coast and Accra, I realized I had been there, to this town, to visit these people!
My tour began at the future library site in Mprumem. I am hesitant to comment on the location of the library. I strongly believe local leaders are best equipped to make decisions concerning their community's needs. The library is located close to the highway (which is good, it’s where people travel and they hope to eventually have road stands to help fund the library). But it is only accessible by foot through, basically, a swamp! My western intuition wants to criticize this location based on its inaccessibility, but I have to remember – swampy thigh-high weeds a mile from my home may be a deterrent to me, but this is not MY library. The location was chosen because it was central to five communities, not just Mprumem and since none of hte communities have a library or access to books, it will serve all the villagers. The library is still being built and it will take more funding to move to the next level. I was able to visit previous work by this organization in the local community where the community’s chief’s development work is clearly evident. All children attend school and the schools are strong recently built buildings.
A little about the government structure in Ghana – each community has a Chief, a position passed to the brother of the older Chief’s wife, generation after generation. Although not related to the official government, chief’s closely engage with the community and work on community issues. I learned on this site visit that it was common in Ghana for the chief to be well-educated, and living abroad, but still providing for their community. I had another western questioning moment when I wondered how much a leader could help while living thousands of miles away, but it was clear in this community Anthony had much help from his brothers and his wife’s brothers. My hosts showed me the progress Anthony made with the local schools and explained the location of the library and the lack of books and other resources for the children. The elders in this tight knit community are eager to provide for the children and bring education and computers to their world, in order to open more doors from their futures. I’m excited to see the progress in the library and hope to hear about its usage in the coming years.
I am happy to report about the progress of the library foundation. Based on the pictures I have seen (see new photos), I am very much satisfied with the progress we are making.
I sincerely thank you for your continued support.
Since January 2009, a total of $1,600.00 has been remitted towards the library project, with remittances on Friday, Feb. 13 for $950.00, March 13, 2009 for $450.00, and April 26, 2009 for $200.00. The money was used to purchase cement blocks, cement, sand, payment of mason and workers, and shipment of one barrel of books donated by friends and the Montrose Area schools at Montrose, PA (who also raised over $1,000.00 for the library project about two years ago). Since the foundation, at least three layers of blocks have been added from the foundation up. Pictures will be posted as soon as I receive them.
I take this opportunity to thank all those helping to make this dream a reality for school children at Mprumem and neighboring villages.
During my last report to Globalgiving, I mentioned that the foundation for the library was almost complete. Well, I am pleased to report that the foundation for the library at Mprumem has finally been completed as of December 2008. Work had been slow but we are now ready to commence with the next phase of construction. Pictures have been mailed to me and I will post them online as soon as I receive them.
The need for a library at my area was poignantly brought home to me while I was catching up on my daily news about Ghana on the internet. Under the title: “Books piled up, no room for library,” books donated by an expatriate to Gomoa Onyadze, one of the communities to benefit from this library project, have been left sitting somewhere because there is no room for the books. On Wednesday, January 21, 2009, the Ghana News Agency reported the following:
Books meant for a library at Gomoa Onyadze near Winneba Junction
have been locked up in a small room due to lack of a suitable building
for the purpose.
About 2,000 books were donated by some expatriate volunteers who
rendered services in the town to use to stock a library but the structure
has not been built. Mr. Issah Badugyan, Chairman of the town's unit
committee, said this at the inauguration of Nana Kobina Gurah IV and
Nana Ekua Gurabah I as Chief and Queen Mother respectively of the town.
Mr. Badugyan said the volunteers realized that the inability of pupils to
read was the bane of their poor performance in examinations and decided to
support the community with books to establish a library to help pupils to
cultivate reading habit. He said the volunteers honoured their promise but
due to financial constraints the community had not been able to fulfil their
part of the agreement which enjoined them to provide a structure for the library.
As a result the books, which were presented to the community nearly two years
ago, have been locked up defeating the purpose for which they were donated.
He appealed to the Member of Parliament for the area the Gomoa West District
Assembly, donor agencies and benefactors to help the community to solve the
problem. Nana Gurah, Executive Secretary of Mbofra Foundation, a non-
governmental organization, pledged the support of the community to investors
who want to do business in the town. He said a land bank had been created to
make it easy for investors to acquire land and promised to make education his
priority. Mr. Francis Kojo Arthur, MP for the area, appealed to the people to put
the acrimonies of the past election behind them and unite to develop the town. He
said they could only see him as an effective MP if they were prepared to unite and
help the community to develop.
This report and many more like it are found throughout Ghana and the reason why several years ago I proposed the Mprumem library project to avoid such sad stories. Books may, in fact, be donated but if there are nowhere to put them for the benefit of school children and the public in general, then the good intentions and efforts of donors go to naught. For this reason I appeal to all those who may read about project 1290: A Library for 1,500 Students in Mprumem, Ghana, to redouble their efforts so as to bring project 1290 to a successful completion.
Expenditure since January 2008:
June 2008…………………….10 bags of cement………………………………..$100.00
September 2008, ($70 payment to mason; $ 35 each for two supervisors)……...$140.00
November 29 ($100 for filling, 10 bags of cement $110, Mason $40)………… $250.00
December 26, 08. ($150 for iron rods) …………………………………………... $150.00
Anthony Ephirim-Donkor, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor & Undergraduate Director
Department of Africana Studies
Binghamton University, State University of New York
P. O. Box 6000, Binghamton, New York 13902-6000
Phone: 607 777-4248; Fax: 607 777-6547; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
School children in Mprumem and surrounding villages will benefit from a library being built under the auspices of the Globalgiving. The foundation should be completed in September 2008 and for over 1,500 primary and middle school students, the library will transform their lives intellectually and propel them to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.
This project is no longer accepting donations.
Still want to help?
Find another project in
that needs your help.
Box 6000, Binghamton,
The traditional ruler of Mprumem and a professor