Author Archives: Rural Heights Foundation

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YouthsMAP donates to Rural Heights Foundation

Category : News

Youths Mentoring Abilities Professionally (YouthsMAP), a US-based international NGO has donated office equipments to Rural Heights Foundation to support the latter’s rural education program in Ghana. This timely intervention will allow Rural Heights Foundation to efficiently manage the administrative cost of running entrepreneurial training programs for Senior High students in districts marked as having high poverty incidence according to Ghana Poverty Map 2015.

YouthsMAP serves as a mentoring body to youths in the USA and developing countries by providing guidance and resources towards advancing their education professionally where there are limited or no resources.

YouthsMAP seek persons with various professional backgrounds and academic disciplines to become mentors. Do you have leadership qualities? Do you have knowledge to share about education or career? This may be that unique opportunity you have been waiting for to network with a global cohorts of inspiring leaders. Visit YouthsMAP website to apply. Do it now!


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Join a community of change agents on this fun-filled learning experience

As a Foundation our project activities offer unique opportunities for developing leadership and communication skills.

Its is our pleasure to invite you on yet another field activity in Gomoa Abaasa in the Central Region.

 

Project Background & Description

This is a Monitoring and Evaluation visit regarding our Aged Women in Agriculture (AWA) project. Under AWA, Rural Heights Foundation has approved and disbursed 0% interest loans to some selected women in Gomoa. The purpose of the loan is to help invest in alternative income streams or to expand their current inventory.

See Project Video

The goal of this M&E visit is:

  1. Collect data on business performance so far and assess it against predefined benchmarks.
  2. Provide tailored advice on how to grow their revenue, keep proper records and save consistently using mobile money.

 

Who can volunteer?

Anyone. The only qualification is interest, passion and a desire to explore village life. Training on business model diagnostics and consultative advisory will be provided before D-Day.

 

What work will volunteers do?

  1. Visit each client at their shop or market place to interact and collect data.
  2. Input data on real-time basis using an mTech tool or paper-based questionnaire.
  3. Record interaction between with client using audio-visual tool.
  4. Provide needs-based business advice that is responsive to the problems identified.
  5. Submit report for data instrument for collation.

 

What arrangements have been made for volunteers?

Volunteers will be accommodated in a community guest house that has descent facilities. Additional arrangements includes 3-square meals, free phone credits (all networks) and access to Wi-Fi for internet use.

 

When is the project due?

Wed. October 4 – Thurs. October 5

Time

Day 1 October 4, 2017

2.00pm – 5.00pm GMT

Day 2 October 5, 2017

9.00am – 4.30pm

 

How do I sign up?

If you have completed our volunteer forms in the past, all that is required is to indicate your interest by sending a message via WhatsApp to +233-264079803 (No calls. Just text). If you have not submitted your details to us before, kind complete the volunteer form and we will get back to you.

Email: info@ruralheights.org


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Obaapa Rising: Girls in Gomoa supported through vocational and technical training

In our commitment to support government’s effort towards ending inequality by 2030 under Sustainable Development Goals framework, Rural Heights Foundation has raised funds to provide scholarship for some girls in the Gomoa West district of Ghana. The scholarship is meant to cover tuition for ICT and other technical/vocational training.

Although school enrolment for girls in Ghana has improved over the years, general adults literacy is still skewed against women. Nationally, 46.9% of females (as against 67.3% males) are able to read and write in English. The situation is worse in the rural areas where only 31.4% females (as against 53% males) are literate. This compares unfavorably with their urban counterparts where female literacy is 60.3% as against 80.9% for males (Source: GLSS 6, p. 17). The impact is limited economic opportunities for girls in general but particularly for girls in the rural areas where poverty is rife. The adverse social outcome is unplanned pregnancy, rural-urban migration and a host of other issues.

Our solutions is to provide vocational/technical training for girls in poor rural communities in order to empower them with skillsets that responds to local demand. To support the Obaapa Rising Girls Scholarship scheme, kind visit here or send us email via info@ruralheights.org.


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Social protection amidst fiscal uncertainties: Will the anchor hold?

Category : Advocacy Paper

The clarion call for productive inclusion programs in the social sector, at its core represents a broad-based affirmation of market-driven solutions to Africa’s topmost policy questions; poverty, inequality and exclusion. There are various reasons that makes such a call justified; uncertain fiscal performance, changing international aid landscape and the unintended consequences of creating an entitlement culture, may be few of such reasons . It is important also to recognize that any meaningful progress towards eradicating extreme poverty by 2030 (see SDG#1) will depend largely on focusing public expenditure on social programs that create livelihood opportunities for majority of persons living under $1.25 a day in Ghana’s poorest districts (see Ghana Poverty Map 2015). This is the philosophical underpinnings of Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) and other social protection programs such as Labor Intensive Public Works (LIPW) and Ghana School Feeding Program (GSFP). That notwithstanding there are sustainability issues to discuss.

Figure. Program Impact Dashboard -LEAP and LIPW

 

Sustainability Risks

There are essentially three sources of risks that faces LEAP and LIPW at both the policy and project level:

  1. Fiscal Uncertainties (policy and project level).
  2. Efficiency gaps in project delivery.
  3. Enforceability of Service Level Agreement (SLA) between Metropolitan, Municipality and District Assemblies (MMDAs), and local contractors under LIPW.

Fiscal Uncertainties: The change in policy direction by the new administration “from taxation to production” was accompanied by aggressive tax reforms designed to boost consumer spending, without any significant scale back in expenditure on public goods and services. Whether 2017 fiscal outturn will validate this theory, remains to be seen. But by end of first quarter 2017, Ghana’s total revenues/GDP ratio had declined year-on-year (see fig. 3) although revenue registered a 14 per cent growth in nominal terms within same period.

Although growth is expected to rebound by close of year, the markets continue to be cautiously optimistic considering high debt burden (67.5% of GDP as at May 2017) which has limited Government’s fiscal space. The invasion of armyworms on farm lands also poses a risk to growth outlook as the current growth strategy hinges on achieving high productivity in agriculture. The net effect of these downside risks is the adverse impact on government’s fiscal space. Given the intense competition for a bigger portion of the revenue pie, it may be reasonable to expect some short-term adjustments that could disrupt planned spending on social intervention programs.

This is why…

We argue that despite the immense contribution of social protection to reducing extreme poverty, there are important questions on how to transform social protection programming into a productive inclusion enterprise to make it sustainable and responsive to Ghana’s fiscal realities.

[1] Handa, S., Park, M.J., Darko, R.O., Osei-Akoto, I., Davis, B. & Diadone, S., 2013. Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty Impact Evaluation. Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina. Available here. [Accessed July 22, 2018]


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Is crowdfunding an effective fundraising tool for Ghanaian nonprofits?

Category : Crowdfunding

Ghanaian NGOs are in a unique position to complement government efforts in achieving social protection goals through capacity-building and other productive inclusion programs. Unfortunately a lot of local nonprofits lack the funding capacity to implement large scale programs at the macro level. The good news is that crowdfunding has come to fill that gap. Unfortunately the statistics for crowdfunding in developing regions such as sub-Saharan Africa is not complimentary.

According to a report by the World Bank Group, (See report here, p.1)[1] “developing countries in Africa are among the lowest performing in the world in terms of utilizing crowdfunding. In 2015, the African crowdfunding market ‘was projected’ to total about $70 million, which accounts for less than half of one percent of global crowdfunding activity and about 21 percent of emerging market activity.”

In general crowdfunding traffic is heavier in America and Europe than in Africa. A second disadvantage is that class of assets that make up majority of the transaction volume and value are either debt or equity, in favour of profit-making ventures. Charitable donations for nonprofit purposes are minimal.

Why is this so?

Well, first of all the history of funds diversion and corruption by some local nonprofits haven’t helped in building institutional credibility with international donors. Secondly, many local NGOs lack robust accountability mechanisms that allow for transparent tracking of resources and honest impact reporting. As the saying goes, one rotten apple spoils the barrel.

So what can the “good apples” do?

1.     Institute international best practice in the management of your NGO.

2.     Be consistent on governance issues that affect operational efficiency. Ensure that there is proper structural arrangement for decision-making and accountability.

3.     Be transparent in financial management.

4.     Make impact measurement the cornerstone of your program design and report same to your key stakeholders regularly.

5.     Collaborate and engage with other nonprofit actors in your field.

6.     Build lasting relations offline before you take it online. Once online, engage creatively, meaningfully and continuously.

Are you a nonprofit owner or operator?

Sign up for ubumbano and become a member of a vibrant community of innovators working in the nonprofit space in Ghana. It’s FREE!!

Ubumbano is a social networking and crowdsourcing platform for nonprofits operating in Ghana. It’s powered by Rural Heights Foundation.

The word ‘ubumbano‘ is a Zulu translation for ‘solidarity’. Philosophically, it expresses the centrality of collaboration and community engagement as tools for achieving effectiveness. Ubumbano offers that platform to pursue shared goals through collaboration and engagement.

Fundraising, knowledge and more. Click link to join our WhatsApp group https://chat.whatsapp.com/4FCJOHvcbEgBxicFMdRmqL

——

[1] “Crowdfunding in Emerging Markets: Lessons from East African Startups.” 2015. Washington, DC: The World Bank Group. License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0



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Obaapa Rising: It’s time to stand up for our girls in the rural areas

What is Obaapa Rising?

Obaapa Rising project is a rural-based intervention designed to provide financial aid to girls who have completed Junior or Senior High School but unable to progress due to constraints. The goal is to enable them pursue skills-based training aimed at improving their odds in terms of employment.

 

Why is it Important?

Although school enrolment for girls in Ghana has improved over the years, general adult literacy is still skewed against women. Nationally, 46.9% of females (as against 67.3% males) are able to read and write in English. The situation is worse in the rural areas where only 31.4% females (as against 53% males) are literate. This compares unfavorably with their urban counterparts where female literacy is 60.3% as against 80.9% for males (Source: GLSS 6, p. 17).

The impact is limited economic opportunities for girls in general but particularly for girls in the rural areas where poverty is rife. The adverse social outcome is unplanned pregnancy, rural-urban migration and a host of other issues.

One solution is to provide vocational/technical training for girls in poor rural communities in order to empower them with skillsets that may lead to self-employment and financial security. This is exactly what Rural Heights Foundation seeks to achieve with Obaapa Rising project.

 

How Can You Support?

There are two ways in which you can help:

  1. You may support with a one-off financial commitment (any amount) paid directly to beneficiaries.
  2. You may elect to underwrite beneficiary’s training cost, in full or partially as may be suitable.

 

Obaapa Rising Grant beneficiaries for 2017; meet Ernestina, Doris, Diana, Vivian and Millicent.

For mobile money, VISA debit/credit card or direct deposit click here.


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The 80/20 seminar series is here again: Invite us to speak at your company

Category : News

According to The Regus Group (cited by Global Organization for Stress), stress levels in the workplace are rising with 6  in 10 workers in major global economies experiencing increased workplace stress.  The sheer volume of scholarly literature that is focused on unveiling the link between stress and public health outcomes attest to the seriousness of this highly ignored health concern

In their article published in the International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, researchers from University of Ghana, Sackey and Sanda (2009), argues thus:

The call for organizations to create conducive environments and work schedules for their employee is indeed an urgent imperative. As a nonprofit organization with interest in well-being advocacy, Rural Heights Foundation has introduced an annual leisure tour package for its corporate stakeholders. This is to enable corporate employees take control of their health by exercising greater discretion over work-life balance.

Rural heights Foundation has commenced its free corporate seminar series; The 80/20 seminar, which focus on work-life balance. To invite us to speak at your office please send an email to pamela.vanderbilt@ruralheights.org or WhatsApp +233264079803.

The 80/20 seminar series is a work-based advocacy platform. The purpose is to share valuable information on the need for work-life balance among corporate staff. For more information on our corporate tour program click this link.

 


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We are hiring. Apply now!

Category : Career

Dear Applicant,

Please take note:

  1. Applications must be sent before Tuesday 23rd May 2017, 11.59pm. All applications received thereafter will be rejected.
  2. Interested persons should email their CVs to careers@ruralheights.org with subject title MBE 05/17 – No cover letters are required.
  3. Only short-listed applicants will be contacted. If you have not been contacted within 7 days after expiration of application period, kindly consider your application unsuccessful.
  4. Please download and review the job role profile below. Good luck to everyone.

 


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The 8-pillar test: Are you a social entrepreneur or just a romantic dreamer?

Category : Blog

I am persuaded that training young people on how to use nonprofit vehicles to address social problems is one of the most effective methods of teaching entrepreneurship in developing countries where economic growth is slow, youth unemployment is high and social problems are innumerable. The nonprofit environment tests all aspect of one’s leadership capacity; how to develop a logic model (vision-mission-strategy), how to mobilize volunteers (people engagement), how to raise funds (capital structure) and how to sustain the business model overtime (innovation). Unfortunately, there are many who enter this space, full of passion and ready to “change the world” but are sorely ignorant of the tools and techniques required for performance optimization. One of the things I enjoy doing is to consult pro bono for nonprofits. First question I always ask is, “What is your logic model or logframe like?” The response? 95% of the time I draw blank. With this, I never bother to even ask further questions about program monitoring or impact evaluation. It’s useless. Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) necessarily depend on logical framework analysis for context. You can’t measure goals you haven’t clarified. What I see most often is that early-stage actors within the development sector are more excited about project activities whether or not such activities are making any dent in whatever perceived problem they set out to solve in the first place. Given this backdrop, they confuse the fun and excitement of projects (selfies and all) as anecdotal evidence of impact. Nothing could be farther from sound logic.

Let me be blunt. No donor and grant-making organization within the development sector will take you seriously without a credible logical framework. In fact it is a sound logical framework analysis that forms the bedrock of any potentially successful project proposal.

 

The 8-Point Test

So here are the key questions that must be broached if you are to achieve any meaningful success in your quest to translate a lofty vision into concrete outcomes.

1. Why do you want to do what you plan to do?

2. What problem are you trying to solve, and in what sector?

3. Is there any dataset to suggest that it is indeed a problem?

4. What goals are you trying to achieve in your attempt to make a dent in this ‘problem’?

5. Who will benefit from your proposed solution (key client and stakeholders)?

6. What specific (measurable) outcome(s) would be realized by your intervention?

7. What deliverables or outputs would come out of your intervention?

8. What specific activities would you undertake to realize the expected results?

These core principles apply equally to a typical nonprofit that depends on outside funding and a social enterprise that has its own sustainable revenue stream.

Clarifying The Horizontal Logic

Addressing all these fundamental questions is essentially the vertical logic of your intervention (program/project). The horizontal logic defines how you create connectivity between the “How” of these fundamental questions. So for instance, how would we know if you are achieving your goal, reaching your objectives or pursuing the activities that will lead to the deliverables and ultimately, the outcomes? What external conditions (beyond your control) is necessary for the realization of your goals? So in terms of establishing a horizontal logic, first, define the objectively verifiable indications or key performance indicators (in corporate parlance) and provide means of verifying same. For instance, what data source would you use (verification) to track a performance metric that serves as an indicator for your goal of retraining 50 commercial sex workers at Kwame Nkrumah circle in Accra by December 2017? And what conditions would make this intervention a success? That in essence is your horizontal logic. The horizontal logic must be defined for all the program components (goals, outcomes, outputs and activities). Your Logframe should look something like the Table below.

Use it Always

A Logframe is a crucial and indeed popular planning tool used in the development sector. In fact it has tremendous utility in the private corporate sector as well. Without being named as such it is used by all top-performing brands globally, in one format or another, to create a strategic framework for growth.

It is the basis upon which Monitoring and Evaluation in the development sector is performed and also the standard framework to conducting variance analysis at Monthly Performance Reviews (MPR) within corporate settings.

Logical Frameworks must be used by all as a basic planning tool for performance optimization. For more information on how to develop one for a project or functional activity such as sales, contact n.asante-antwi@ruralheights.org

Did you find this article useful? Please leave a comment or feedback.


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Productive inclusion at Darumpong: Beneficiaries receive 0% interest loan

The global policy conversation on how to address extreme poverty is shifting gradually from social protection to productive inclusion models. Rural Heights Foundation’s Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE) program, which is currently being implemented in Gomoa West ( a district with 22.6% poverty headcount) is an example of this paradigm shift. The program is designed to assist aged women in agriculture to diversify their income sources, by building alternative value chains in trading, agro-processing and eco-tourism.

Program participants were targeted and selected through a structured process that involved use of macro-level data obtained from Ghana Poverty Map 2015. On April 5, 2017 trained RHF volunteers conducted interviews after having screened summary proposals from 40 applicants.

Following a thorough review and approval, the first batch of beneficiaries received payments on April 27, for investment into alternative value chains. Among proposals approved was that of a 63 year old widow whose dream was to start a Banku and Tilapia business to supplement her income from a 2-acre cassava farm. The program also involved skills training for program participants.

 

Although impact assessment data (see report by CDD Ghana) for social protection programs such as Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) and Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPW) suggests cause-effect linkages with school enrolment and access to basic health care, the urgent imperative to ensure fiscal prudence requires that Government of Ghana  rethink the current paradigm of poverty reduction programming in a manner that balance responsibility with sustainability. In this regard Rural Heights Foundation is showing the way and demonstrating that indeed, what the poor needs are lessons in fishing instead of handing out to them baskets of fish.

To support our effort go to Donate page or click on image below.

 


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