HA: Ghana News
What is Humanist Action: Ghana?
Humanist Action: Ghana (HA: Ghana) is a Ghanaian women's rights and poverty alleviation program guided by secular humanist principles under Foundation Beyond Belief.
The program runs a livelihood training program in the Central region of Ghana and partners with local grassroots nonprofits that do similar work.
The goal of Humanist Action: Ghana is to:
- Reduce poverty and promote self-sustainability
- Support local expertise
- Promote humanitarian services in local communities by training future trainers
HA: Ghana focuses on protecting human rights by championing the skills necessary for Ghanaians in impoverished communities to meet their basic needs. HA: Ghana does this by collaborating with local organizations and individuals to empower members of the local community to build a life of self-sustainability and dignity. Each vocational or agricultural training project coordinated by HA: Ghana is specifically tailored to the needs and desires identified by the communities themselves. After each training, trainees are provided with the tools and equipment needed to start a viable business in their field.
Founding Principles of Humanist Action: Ghana
HA: Ghana is a logical extension of FBB’s Humanist Giving program, which provides catalyst grants to small organizations with a track record of effective, data-driven innovation. HA: Ghana expands upon this idea by partnering with grassroots groups working to promote human rights and protect the environment.
The HA: Ghana approach emphasizes close collaboration with a grassroots partner organization not just because it embodies humanist ideals but also because it is more effective and sustainable.
In the communities where HA: Ghana works, the partnerships are built to minimize the visibility of HA: Ghana and maximize the visibility of its partner organization, because the face of change should always be a local one. The narrative that sustainable change comes from within the community is itself revolutionary and empowering because it counters centuries of colonial and internalized racism.
Even as HA: Ghana tries to hide behind the scenes in the local context, it must build a strong platform for international storytelling to raise awareness about the work HA: Ghana and its partners are doing. Telling this story responsibly means letting the words and ideas of the locals speak for themselves. It means never exploiting images or stories of suffering in order to raise money for the program. And it means focusing on images and stories of resilience and happiness, not just hardship.
HA: Ghana believes it has the responsibility to counteract the unrelenting hardship narrative that the media and other organizations often tell about the places where HA: Ghana works. Such monolithic storytelling is irresponsible and harmful. For more on the danger of a single story, see Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED talk.
In HA: Ghana partnerships, HA: Ghana works to increase the capacity of grassroots organizations to provide direct services, not to provide direct services ourselves. HA: Ghana aims to make itself redundant in every community it enters.
Despite what countless other programs seem to think, being willing to help does not qualify just anyone to provide technical expertise. HA: Ghana CAN have a positive impact where they work, but only if they first listen and learn. Locals are experts in their experience. Without this context, HA: Ghana cannot truly understand the problems they are attempting to address, and they are not able to collaborate effectively with them.
Humanist Action: Ghana is guided by the principles and aspirations of humanism, but our approach is one that many non-humanists have arrived at from other philosophical starting points. Moreover, Humanist Action: Ghana does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity/expression. We believe that this is, in fact, the humanist thing to do.
Where we Work
HA: Ghana is currently based in Cape Coast in the Central Region of Ghana. Cape Coast is the capital of the Central Region in southern Ghana. It is known for its role in the transatlantic slave trade. Now it is a large fishing community with a population of about 170,000. Although Cape Coast is hailed as the citadel of Ghanaian education and has some of the best senior high schools in Ghana, joblessness, poverty, poor sanitation, and falling standards of education at the basic level plagues the region.
HA: Ghana is currently partnering with Services and Advocacy for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (SAPID), a local nonprofit based in Cape Coast that supports a school for children with intellectual disabilities. SAPID runs a series of vocational training projects that train students in acquiring skills to help provide livelihood support for themselves and their families after school. HA: Ghana is working with SAPID to revive their bakery project, which not only trains students in the skills of baking but also provides jobs for students that have gone through the training program and graduated school.
HA: Ghana has also started the Vocational Training Project in Wiamoah, a suburb of Cape Coast. In designing the project, HA: Ghana worked with community members and leaders in creating a training program that supports and trains impoverished youth in learning a trade to provide self sufficiency. Ten trainees are currently enrolled in the project, where they are provided with all training tools and equipment needed to learn tailoring and open their own business at the completion of the program. HA: Ghana’s trainers are experienced tailors from the local community, and they are committed to providing detailed and impactful lessons to trainees.