Presence of international NGOs in Ghana is hugely felt in health, agriculture, education, and environment. This, however, does not mean that they do not extend their roles in other areas like promoting good governance by offering technical support and advice during policy-making process. Before getting deep into this discussion, it is important for you to understand the definition of an NGO. NGOs definition, according to the World Bank, is based on four main pillars that help in community development, that is; environmental protection and conservation, ease suffering of the poor, arouse and encourage interest from poor people or communities, and offer fundamental social support. International NGOs obey all these principals and execute them all over the world by getting approval from governments, but operate independently of the governments.
International NGOs in Ghana are well established, both profitable and non-profitable, with Waitrose a U.K based supermarket operating in Ghana, being among the most successful NGO in the country, linking fruit producers in Ghana with the UK market. To some, the effect of profitable NGOs in Ghana’s economy is negative; while others believe, it is a positive thing. The naysayers’ perspective roots from revenue collection, while to the optimist; focus is on job opportunities and corporate social responsibilities, which they believe to be a positive thing. It can be unanimously agreed that the impacts NGOs have on Ghana’s economy is debatable.
The underlying factor in the role played by both profitable and non-profitable international NGOs is community development and improvement in living standards of poor Ghanaian families. Fortunately, there are many international NGOs operating in Ghana, adding their efforts in different sectors, that support the livelihoods of most Ghanaians. Whether you are a farmer, environmentalist, or just an ordinary Ghanaian looking for employment, knowing some NGOs can prove helpful. For this reason, the following discussion focuses on various NGOs in Ghana, categorized according to their sector of operation.
International NGOs working in Ghana
International NGOs working in Ghana are driven by both profit and humanity, to help solve the problems of Ghanaian citizens. Ghana, like most developing countries, is struggling with economic, health, environment, among other issues. International NGOs from first world countries with resources and advanced technology, choose to spread their network into African countries, including Ghana. With their network, they are able to affect the livelihoods of poor Ghanaian in one way or another. This is evidenced by the employment opportunities brought by various international NGOs branches. Most Ghanaians agree that remuneration from NGOs is one of the most lucrative. This helps to improve the quality of life of the local communities.
Various diseases and natural calamities have plagued Ghana, like other African countries. This affects a family as the unit of the society, in some cases, very much that a family fails to get back up to its feet. With a larger percentage of Ghana’s population comprised of the poor, the spread of infectious disease is fast and deadly; in most cases leaving a lot of death along its path. In addition to this, a huge population in Ghana, which is growing rapidly, causes more problems in all aspects, health, environment, and food. International Non-governmental organizations in Ghana own these problems and try to find a solution that will ensure sustainable life for Ghanaians.
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Despite the fact that it is difficult to know all international NGOs in Ghana, having a minimum list of international NGOs in Ghana that you might be of use to them or gain from them is quite useful. This is most important for the Non-profit NGOs whose main objective is to improve the general livelihood of local communities in Ghana. Below is a list of international NGOs in Ghana:
- International Organization on Migration
- Sympathy International
- Global Culture Solution
- Africa Health Research Organization Ghana
- Youth World Travel Organization
- Transforming Lives International
- Youth Education Development
- Actionaid Ghana
- Direct Impact Foundation
International health NGOs in Ghana
The health sector is given much attention all over the world. Of course, human health is an important component in the normal functioning of an individual. When the human body is in good condition, economies get to run smoothly, people work to their maximum potential, and families get to sustain themselves in various ways. In Ghana, the health sector is still struggling with limited resources, access to quality drugs and inadequate skilled personnel to work in hospitals. Part of the role of international health NGOs in Ghana is to ensure a sustainable health, build health network in the northern region using effective and customized strategies unique for Ghanaian people.
According to past literature, the northern region of Ghana is, in most cases, a target destination for most international health non-governmental organizations. This is because of the different health challenges faced by the local communities living in that region. The most notable maladies affecting people of Ghana’s northern region include upper respiratory tract disease, Guinea Worm, malaria, and diarrhea associated diseases. To add on this is poor nutrition. Malnutrition is a major problem to childbirth as it causes infant mortality.
In past journals and statistical surveys, international health NGOs in Ghana have been found to offer great support in nutrition, prevention of malaria and HIV/AIDS, offer logistic help to clinics located in the remote areas of Ghana, and finally encourage cleanliness in schools by issuing water can. All these efforts done by International NGOs in improving the health situation of residents living in the northern region, lead to the formation of policies, which encouraged the creation of a strong network among health NGOs. This was in an effort to avoid repeating efforts of one NGO in a given location by another NGO, rather spread the efforts to different areas; reaching Ghanaian in the other regions who need the health service. In addition to this, the policies promoted cooperation between Ghana’s government, through the ministry of health, and the international NGOs.
It should be noted that most NGOs in Ghana have joined into an umbrella body called, Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health (GCNH), a civil society organization (CSO), which oversees the operations of all registered Non-Governmental Organization, both local and international. GCNH is a non-profit organization with proper management and policy-making systems that ensure its healthy functioning. The main mission of GCNH is “to provide public health and safety interventions across the nation through evidence-based advocacy, empowerment of members, innovative programming, organizational development and behavior change communication.”
GCNH is guided by simple and well-defined objectives. These objectives revolve around ensuring ready access to health. Listed below are GCNH objectives:
- Facilitate research in the health sector to create sustainable growth output within the health sector.
- Commission members to provide a standardized public health support within the communities.
- Create a platform for CBOs/NGOs operating within the health sector to conduct campaigns on an evidence basis.
- Encourage members to conduct communications, both behavioral and societal change that will promote healthy living among Ghanaians.
Following are some of the International NGOs, whose presence has been felt in various ways by Ghanaians in the northern region and Ghana, as a country:
- Action Aid Ghana,
- World Vision,
- Action for Disability and Development,
- Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana,
- Christian Children's Fund of Canada and Adventist Development and Relief Agency
International environmental NGOs in Ghana
Environment protection and conservation is a collective responsibility of every human living on earth. This is for obvious reasons; including the fact that one person’s misuse of the environment is, by all means, going to affect the next person. This simple and obvious reason has been the reality in the recent times, with most countries in the world experiencing unnatural occurrences in weather patterns, feedstock/crops i.e., fish stock in rivers, crop production in the farm, and also temperature levels. These are some of the widely felt effects of environmental mismanagement.
Environmental unpredictability and situation in Ghana is no different from the rest of the world. This has been witnessed in various ways, like floods of the recent past as reported in press releases and river degradation. Ghanaian forestry sector has also attracted the attention of most international environmental NGOs. Most of the international NGOs interested in Ghana’s forest sector and the environment, in general, have given technological help in the forestry sector, research and building capacity within the forestry department, among others. A major effect of the support given by international NGOs is in mobilizing communities in forest protection and conservation efforts, to maintain sustainability in Ghana’s forests.
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It cannot be forgotten that international environmental NGOs in Ghana play a big role in shaping environmental policies made by the government. Given that, these organizations are major players in environmental research in Ghana; their opinion carries a lot of weight during the process of making environmental policies. To add on this, the fact that they fund many projects places them in a crucial position as they follow up to ensure the funds deployed have been used effectively.
Natural resources in Ghana like the forest, water, and energy do not function in isolation. International environmental NGOs in Ghana help mobilize resources both human and financial, which is used in the effective management of these resources to ensure sustainability. This promotes usage of natural resources without being depleted. In the process, local skilled or educated persons can apply for employment opportunities with the various international environmental NGOs and secure a job.
International NGOs in Ghana also research on the alternative ways of doing things, right from buildings that will replace usage of timber in construction, alternative sources of energy that will reduce the use of firewood; in the rural poor. It is difficult to know every international environmental NGOs in Ghana, but it’s wise to know a few. Below is a list of some international environmental NGOs operating within Ghana:
- Ecological Restorations (ER).
- Friends of Earth Ghana.
- Centre for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development (CEESD).
International agricultural NGOs in Ghana
Ghana is a country in the western part of Africa. Like most developing nation, Ghana’s population is growing at a faster rate, with limited resources including land. This West African country faces two main challenges, which threaten its growth that is high poverty levels and social inequality. In the northern part of the country, rates of poverty double if not triple the average national poverty.
Agriculture for quite a long time has been a land dependent system. In Ghana, most of the farmers practicing agriculture is composed of a majority small-scale farmers whose land size is below 2 hectares; most of whom are women and children. To add on their small pieces of land is the use of old farming systems, which do not maximize on the input to guarantee maximum yield. This leaves the poor farming communities, food insecure and susceptible to unpredictable climate patterns.
It has been observed, in various research reports in Ghana that a majority of the rural population is made up of the vulnerable in the society; children women, and the aged, due to rural-urban migration. The young men and women flood into urban areas in search of better opportunities, adding pressure the existing food demand and other social amenities. This leaves the fertile rural areas unexplored due to lack of labor and aggressive young, energetic individuals.
Most international NGOs in Ghana that are agriculture based have observed the gap brought by rural-urban migration and reach out to the rural poor, weak and vulnerable, with new agricultural technology that is more effective and minimizes on input but maximizes on output. Most of these organizations in Ghana seek to alleviate poverty through improved farming technologies that will lead to high quality and surplus farm produce for sale.
- Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS).
- International Food & Agricultural Trade Policy Council
- Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA)
- World Vision Ghana
International education NGOs in Ghana
Ignorance is the enemy of progress, is a truth that gave education the life it has. Most governments, including the Ghanaian government, prioritize education as a tool for its countries development. It is through education that an individual can learn to be independent.
The role of education in poverty eradication is apparent, as it gives every individual a fighting chance to make his or her own dreams come true. The Ghanaian government has done much it can, to ensure all of her citizen access education, at least the basic education. This is through incentives like making basic education free and compulsory, building schools, creating a fully funded ministry of education and its allied bodies to ensure curriculum, syllabus, and assessment of students progress is done promptly. Nonetheless, it is not still enough to ensure every child gets access to quality education.
International education NGOs in Ghana help in reaching the rural poor Ghanaians in a bid to promote education and improve the living standards of rural poor. In addition to this, they facilitate student exchange program, which promotes diversification in education. In addition to this, trained teachers in Ghana can look for International NGOs jobs in Ghana, which will help improve their living standards. Below are some of the international education NGOs in Ghana that you need to know about:
- Action for Rural Education
- Education International
- German Academic Exchange Service
- Ghana Adult Learners Association
- Free Education and Reading Inc.
- World Education Inc.
- Voluntary Adult Literacy and Vocational Training