Hieronder volgt een beschrijving
van de activiteiten van de Ghana Needs Foundation in
het Engels. Nederlandse informatie over Ghana Needs
is te vinden in het Projektvoorstel Voedingstherapie
en onder de link 'Organisatie en huisvesting' (zie kolom
Brief introduction of the organization
This organization is a rural
community research-based with no religious, political,
ethnic or governmental affiliations. It was founded
in the year 2002, but was duly registered under the
name GhanaNeeds Foundation (GNF) in 2003, in accordance
with Ghana Companies Act 1963.
GNF activities are divided into
3 main departments, these are:
1. Its primary focus is
in the area of Care and Support for which it is currently
collaborating with the District Assemblies and the Catholic
Diocese in the identification and support of OVC*/PLWHA**
in the Upper West, Upper East and Central regions.
2. A research department
that is instrumental in several local and international
sponsored rural community based researches. The most
recent is the study of the status of AIDS orphans and
vulnerable children in Ghana. Sponsored by UNDP with
collaboration of Ghana AIDS Commission representing
3. A capacity building
department was recently added to GNFs areas of
operation. It is responsible for building the capacity
of rural community leadership interactive program. This
allows the chiefs, opinion leaders, unit committee members
and farmers association meet once a week to engage in
open forum to discuss the HIV/AIDS and other problem
areas in the community including traditional style of
care and support and child trafficking and migration
* OVC = Orphans and Vulnerable
** PLWHA = People Living with
HIV and Aids
GNF was able to identify several
PLWHA, their children and Caregivers. In the wake of
our effective strategies on the ground, three associations
of PLWHA were form in the Upper West, while AIDS orphans
Caregivers association was formed in Kasoa in the Central
region, the Bongo communitys associations is yet
to be formed, the delay is due to high degree of stigma
in the community. We have been supporting all the above
associations with our own resources.
New Implementation Plan
GNF seeks to duplicate its activities
in other deprived communities, but it is handicapped
in the areas of finance and transportation. Our field
staffs find it difficult to move into the hinterlands,
because public transport stops only at their terminals
and we have to continue by hiring cars.
PLWHA/AIDS Orphans and Vulnerable
Children (OVC) Urgent Needs:
1. They are in dire need of
balanced diet (Nutrition) in other for them to become
strong to fight the opportunistic infections.
2. They need enough medication to reduce the impact
of the opportunistic diseases.
3. They need to be put into income generating activities
for which they can use the profits for the treatment
of the opportunistic infections and to sustain their
clinical appointments. This is the effective means
of sustaining the program, as against the idea of
relying completely on donors.
1. For those who are dropped
out due to lack of fees would be returned back to
2. Those who are of school going age and yet are not
in school would be sent to school.
3. They would be supported in their domestic up keep
especially in the areas of nutrition since they are
In total, GNF identified the
following number of PLWHA and AIDS/OVC within the 5
months of our pilot project:
Wa Community = 97
Lawra Community = 26
Nandom Community = 28 (near a boarder town)
Total: 151 (Upper West only)
From all the five communities
are numbered as 356, but about 100 are being cared
for by their immediate relatives while GNF is struggling
to care for the 256, out of which 130 are school drop
outs while 126 are yet to even start schooling.
Problems and cultural practices
that contribute to the spread of HIV and Aids in the
three northern regions of Ghana
Conclusions below are for
Lawra District (UW)
Recording a population of 92,065
in the year 2000, the Lawra District had the highest
population density with a high level of malnutrition
among mothers and children.
According to the Ghana Demographic
and Health Survey (1998), 34.6% of children under five
years in the region were stunted (height for age), 7.5%
were wasted (weight for height), and 28.4% were under
weight. Infant mortality in the region remained high
at 81.5 per 1000 live births.
The above portrays a regional
status and given the extreme hardships faced by most
households in the Lawra District, the situation could
even be worse.
As a result of the poor soils,
food production is extremely low which calls for annual
import of food items from adjoining Districts of Jirapa/Lambusie,
Nadowli, Wa, and Sissala, which most parents cannot
Poverty has therefore affected
the lives of the people in the areas of malnutrition,
low education, access to health and other social conditions.
In all these cases, women, children and the aged are
most affected because they are the vulnerable groups
in the communities. The issue of poverty has driven
many youth both young men and women into unhealthy economic
activities including prostitution and young men into
commuting to other regions for greener pastures, which
are fertile grounds for contracting HIV/AIDS.
Over the years, the LMNRC has
provided support to rehabilitate malnourished patients
at the Center as well as extending outreach services
in the communities. In the year 2002 for example, a
total of 52 in-patients and 151 outpatients were handled.
Today with the threat of the deadly disease HIV/AIDS,
the Center cannot be left out in the war against the
A case in point is that in the
last three years the Center handled a number of people
infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. That is, in 2001,
ten (10) out of fourteen (14) died; 2002 recorded thirty-two
(32) cases with twenty-five (25) deaths and as at the
third quarter of 2003, thirty-seven (37) cases were
recorded. Most of these are orphans, pregnant and lactating
mother who are referred to the center on grounds of
It is sad to note that despite
the education that is on-going to ameliorate the situation
the number continues to increase daily; and yet many
cases are undiagnosed because they are not reported.
Problems of the HIV / Aids patients
1. Prone to many diseases due
to poor resistance that has been caused by the disease
2. Poverty due to long term illness,
which makes them unable to do any work.
3. Loss of appetite leading to
4. Loss of interest in the society
due to their general appearance which causes them to
5. For fear of infection, people
tend to withdraw from them.
6. Due to the chronic ill health,
parents of victims are unable to play their parental
roles, leading to conflicts, divorce, mental problems,
and their children are dropouts in school or totally
denied of education. Malnutrition is usually present
in the families.
7. Some commit suicide due to
all these problems.
8. Lack of funds to buy drugs
to treat their opportunistic conditions, which come
One of the major constraints
HIV/AIDS patients are facing is inadequate nutritional
level that could support them while they go through
the requisite medical and moral care. Indisputably,
many gaps remain in the area of education to check and/or
control the spread and effects of HIV/AIDS in the District.
Through the leadership discussion
in the community open forums, GNF identified some characteristics
of living condition that brought about high degree of
stigmatization, child trafficking and child labor in
the rural setups.
Some of the characteristics of
living condition of the communities include;
I.) The community is one
of the major abodes of immigrants/migrants commercial
sex workers. Residences are of divers ethnic, religious,
social economic background. Such community is usually
the transit or temporally stops point for immigrants
from various neighboring countries in the sub region
and others from other rural communities in Ghana.
II.) Mainly polygamous
cultural background, children are fathered to parents
not based on ability to provide good care/support, but
on ability to produce numbers as a mark of cultural
respect and pride.
III.) Deep in cultural
and religious practice that often only recognizes the
supremacy of the man and sidelines the women and children
in their pursuit for better standard of living.
IV.) Basically with low
or no disposable income. As cost of basic education
and cost of living continuous to rise, children are
relegated to the background as the parents themselves
struggle to survive.
V.) Facing serious environmental
and health problems. These situation turns to subvert
the confidence and undermine the psychological threshold
in child upbringing and development. Aspirations of
children in such communities are very low. Most of the
people living with children are elderly left as care
givers with little or no incomes, by their young adults
sons and daughters who themselves are struggling to
cope with life elsewhere.
Traditionally, Parents who produced daughters even if
it is the only one, they believe that one female must
always remain in the house to look after her parents,
but is allowed to make boyfriends and even children
that will eventually remain orphan.
VII.) In Lawra particularly,
tradition allows it that, when the husband of any woman
dies, the immediate brother must take over the wife
even if he already has his on wife, the diseased brothers
wife automatically becomes a second wife