The Help Ghana Foundation was established in 1983 by Joke Addotey-Van Heeswijk when she was confronted with the daily life of the underpriviliged in Ghana, when frequently visiting the country with her Ghanaian husband. In the years that followed she was able to raise funds for a large number of projects, and collected an enormous volume of relief goods that were shipped to Ghana in the late 80’s and early 90’s. As time went on and the situation in Ghana changed, the emphasis was shifted from these shipments to funding local initiatives. The prime mover is always that there are local people taking the initiative themselves. The request is usually supported by local NGO’s or well-known local contact persons that are recognisable as relevant community agents to the foundation, like Assembly members, a Traditional Council, teachers, PTA members, social welfare officers, medical staff, the clergy, or ex-volunteers.
In recent years, as Joke decided to step down after dedicating most of her life to this work, positions in the board have been taken up by ex-volunteers that worked in Ghana for a prolonged period of time, giving them enough know-how and experience to be able to conduct these activities with integrity. Next to that we have a range of local representatives that we have known since the onset, who serve as liaisons with the various projects.
As the donations are mostly provided through individual donors, and occasional NGO co-financiers, the board commits itself to give the best possible feedback from the field. This involves a yearly visit by at least two board members to Ghana, at their own expense, to maintain contact with the local focal persons and to acquire sufficient up to date information or relevant documentation.
As a rule the foundation prefers not to support individuals, but rather collective initiatives that benefit a larger group or a community, either with small scale enterprises, or aspects additional to existing structures. This is preferably done with target groups to whom large scale NGO’s are not readily accessible, be it because of illiteracy, social status, insufficient networks, or mere remoteness. The protocol, to have our support as fairly distributed as possible, entails that an applicant can not file a request in consecutive years, and there is a ceiling in financial support, irrespective of the theme of the application. The applicants are also made aware that they carry a shared responsibility among themselves for a proper conduction of funds, and they are expected to strive to complete a project within an agreed timespan. They have to commit to this by undersigning a communal agreement prior to our support.
You can download our project questionnaire here to file an application