It's hard to imagine that this year is almost over. We've been so swamped with work this year, and we've gotten some of the biggest results and "thank-you's" that we could have EVER dreamed of!!!
And though it's been a while since our last update, I hope to more than make up for it with all the good news we have to share!!!
First, we're quite pleased to say that a couple months after our last project update we were able to bring one of our first projects to conclusion! In early June, we helped open a 50-seat internet cafe and business center in Ghana that created over 30 jobs for the local community! This project expanded the internet to many people who had very little knowledge of the web. On top of that, it wasn't just any internet connection that we helped bring in. It was BROADBAND! Now children at the new center can watch streaming videos and obtain information from online at the same speed as kids from other parts of the world. We had a video made of the whole affair that can be accessed at http://youtube.com/goodmorningafrica.
This year in Ghana, we also convened a conference on oil, the media, and the economy. This was very important because Ghana recently discovered oil, and we knew that oil discovery was a curse for many other countries in Africa (e.g. the Sudan, Nigeria, Angola, Libya). We also knew that there was much work to be done before production had started if we were going to try to educate the people about the effects of oil on their government leaders and the economy! (Luckily, we also knew that there was a good 2 full years before oil production started!) 50 journalists attended this conference. We had representatives from all the major media houses in TV, radio, and print! We also had speakers from the World Bank, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, and local business owners. As part of our Executive Consultancy program we also brought over an MA student from the US who had been a news anchor in Chile for many years. Who knew that Chile had SO MUCH in common with Ghana! He was able to reach out and speak to the audience as "one of them." And they took his message to heart. Afterward, everyone spoke about how wonderful the conference was and how it was the best one they had ever attended! Even members of The World Bank had told us they had tried before to convene a conference of that nature and were not able to do it. We were quite proud of that, and I've attached a copy of the program for the event below.
As a side note, a lot of people have asked how the conference was connected to our mission. And my response is two-fold. The conference idea started with one of the companies that we were helping - a business-oriented newspaper. We had already brought out our consultants to the newspaper when I asked myself, "now that we have this valuable resource in the country, how else can the country benefit from it?" And in Ghana, all media outlets compete with each other by putting on huge conferences to gain attention for their products. On that note, as they say, the rest is history. The second part of GMA's mission, however, is to educate and bring all sides of an issue together so that we can begin to truly tackle it. And I believe this point is very important because VERY FEW organizations are able to bring together stakeholders from so many corners of society. I believe it is part of the reason that GMA has been as successful as it has in the content of our programs. I felt this conference was a huge testament to our team being able to bring together local experts, the media outlets, government representatives, local businesses, young Ghanaians studying media in the universities, and even energy experts from the World Bank! Conspicuously, the only people that were missing were the foreign oil companies that came to Ghana do the oil production itself. Though, quite honestly, I believe they will come around eventually even if they were a bit fearful of showing up this time. (These things do take time you know!)
This summer we also were able to reach out to a couple thousand people with our messages on entrepreneurship. On two occasions, we were invited to speak at a fairly popular radio station. The station gave us some of the conversation in a digital format that I hope to put that up on the internet soon!
And while I feel there's still so much to say, I realize this update might be getting a bit long. But, I know that I would be completely amiss if I didn't mention the dozens of trainings that we conducted with our small business partners. We did trainings in human resource management, operational and change management, financial management, capital markets, business plan writing, and customer service. all together, we trained about 100 workers! And in the training on human resource management, we were able to convince one business owner that his workers were very much underpaid. He responded enthusiastically with a 50% raise for dozens of members of his staff!!!
Thanks for listening.
In Africa We Believe,
Chairman and CEO
Real results are coming to fruition from the technical seeds our volunteers and MBA consultants planted last year. It was the beginning of 2007 when GMA arrived, brand-new, to Ghana and looked for the businesses it would come to help later in the year. Eventually, GMA helped bring over 100 weeks of consulting to Ghana.
One of the things our people did was to contact the World Bank's IFC division and see if we could get them to sponsor their renown SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) Toolkit in Ghana. A few months later, two of our business clients received an invitation to India to receive initial training on this resource. And now, it's finally official!!! The first link below is from this month (March 2008) and talks a little about our client and the resource we helped them obtain. The second link shows some of the companies we've helped, their take on Ghana, and their take on our work!
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Chairman & CEO