Dear donor, friend and follower of the Meet Kate Foundation,
The past months you haven't heard from us as much as you were used to. But, silence does not mean stagnation. Behind the scenes we find ourselves at a stage of intensification, improvement and reflection. We have succeeded in running the Meet Kate Academy for over a year now, which brings us to a point where we look at our strenghts and points of improval.
The poultry farm is also taking on impressive proportions: our 2900 roughly eat 350 kilos of food a day and lay about 2100 eggs a day during their laying period. The profit derived from this is re-invested in the farm and also put into our educational projects.
Director Kelly de Vries in Ghana is very happy about the way things are going: 'There is nothing better than waking up on a sunday morning with a fresh egg from our very own poultry farm. And they're not just normal eggs, our super chickens are doing so great they have started laying double-yolk eggs in their first week!'
Watch an impression of the poultry farm here.
It is clear that we are not the only ones in motion. We would like to introduce you to a couple of initiatives and organisations that, like Meet Kate, are committed to showing you a more realistic and positive immage of Africa.
Chairmen Meet Kate Foundation
Wednesday March 12, Kiymet and Myrthe were guests at the Lionsclub Voorburg Prinses Marianne in Leidschendam-Voorburg. After telling about our projects in Ghana, they received a surprise check of €2.000,- from Judith Haans and Monique de Jager (president and memeber of the Lionsclub). An amazing contribution!
MEET KATE IS GOING TO SCHOOL
The Ghanaian board met with all of our scholarship students to evaluate the past year. Seven students are momentarily taking their final exams. We are very excited for our first group of graduates!
Unfortunately we also have some less positive news. We have decided to no longer collaborate with our student's mentor. The lack of trust led us to start looking for a new employee. The Ghanaian board will take on the project's coordination for the remainder of the school year.
THIS IS AFRICA
This is something we fully support: interesting African blogs and websites, that show a flourishing continent in motion, that is both diverse and inspiring. This is Africa!
The ironical name of this multimedia blog is a reaction to the outdated stereotypes about Africa. A critical, intellectual and refreshing blog!
The online magazine Awake to Africa gives a refreshing outlook on modern day Africa from a diaspora-perspective, and studies the changes in the relationship between Africa and The West.
A photoproject and instagram-account on which photographers throughout the continent show you everyday African life.
Pambazuka means 'rising' in Swahili, and is a webforum for social justice in Africa. A pan-African community with over two thousand academics, journalists, activists and writers from social organisations, that write sharp analysis about status quo in Africa.
HURRAY! OUR 7TH ANNIVERSARY
On April 27th, the Meet Kate Foundation celebrated its 7th anniversary. It is amazing how much we've accomplished over the past years. This also leads us to our plans for the future, more about that soon!
CORRUPTION IN GHANA
Kelly de Vries: 'People often ask me about corruption in Ghana. Unfortunately I can give many examples that show corruption is still common practice in Ghana. Most often it involves small amounts of money, but sometimes things are taken a step further. Unfortunately, we have had some first hand experience with this recently and would like to inform you about what happened.
Last October, Meet Kate hired a new accountant to handle the finances of our projects in Ghana. The young man we hired had a Bachelor's degree in Accounting and received a good salary at Meet Kate. We figured we were off to a good start. After two months we realised he couldn't meet our expectations. We also felt his conduct didn't match the family-feel we like to create at Meet Kate. We therefore decided to terminate his contract. This also meant we had to postpone the closing of our financial booking year.
In February, when we continued working on our financial books, we discovered there was a large sum missing from one of our bank accounts. Ghana still uses checks, so there is no possibility of online banking or checking your accounts on a daily basis. We found out there was 4500 cedi (1500 euro) missing from our account. Upon visiting the bank we discovered the signatures on the checks had been falsified. Our former accountant was our primary suspect, since he had had access to the checks. Of course, he had taken the first flight out of the country and by now was somewhere in the Middle East. The boy who had cashed the checks in his request however, was still around. The Ghanaian police didn't feel the need to search for the boy, so we hired (and paid for) people ourselves to track down this young man. Eventually, the young man was arrested and sent to jail. His father and the accountant's father ended up paying back the money their sons stole from Meet Kate.
Good news, but once more we were confronted with the corruption in Ghana. The police had gotten hold of Meet Kate's checks from the boy's fathers, and refused to hand them over to us unless they were given a fee.
1. Arresting the young man is part of the policemen's job, they are paid officials.
2. Despite the fact that the police made no effort of tracking down the young man, they insist they deserve a fee regardless.
3. The salary of a trainee at the police is five times the salary of an average employee at Meet Kate.
4. The police knows we run a Children's Home, housing and helping less fortunate children, and they still rather take part of the money themselves.
In the end, we had to pay the police a 300 cedi (80 euro) fee, and everything turned out "ok" Whenever I talk to other about my frustrations, Ghanaian start laughing and tell me I've been lucky, because the police would normally charge a 1000 cedi fee.
Ghana has a culture of solidarity, but also one of taking care of yourself first. This sometimes makes living and working in Ghana extra challenging!'