Author Archives: Rural Heights Foundation

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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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A Story of Hope in Rural Ghana

Category : Rural Development

44.1% of the 14,038,224 hectares of Agric. Land Area (ALA) in Ghana remains uncultivated, yet Ghana’s graduate unemployment in 2015 alone was 271,000 (according to ISSER); that’s about 21% of the rural population in Brong Ahafo region (using 2010 population and housing census) – the region with the second largest agriculture land area.

Where did we go wrong? How do we fix it? And where do we start?

By rolling out change programs for a new generation, one school at a time.

Watch:

Agripreneurship Workshop @ Mozano Senior High School in Gomoa Eshiem, Central Region – Ghana.
March 11, 2017


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WiRE Up and Let’s Change The World

What is WiRE?

It’s a skills training and micro-funding support program designed for aged women in rural agriculture. The purpose is to enable workshop participants diversify their revenue streams as a risk management strategy to reduce dependence on farm output which is vulnerable to yield variations and market uncertainties.

 

What does the workshop entail?

  • Screening of business ideas submitted by 40 women with median age of 54.
  • Categorizing workshop participants according to (a) sector of business or business interest (b) life cycle of business (startup, early stage or matured)
  • Organizing the entire group as a self-help savings club and cooperative.
  • Running a skills training session on business best practices (marketing, book-keeping, financial management, etc.), with special focus on how to leverage on mobile technology for business growth.
  • We shall also be reviewing applications for a small grant to start/expand their micro businesses.

Where?

The workshop would take place in Gomoa Abaasa (Gomoa West district), Central Region.

When?

The workshop and related activities are expected to cover 2 days (April 5-6).

How?

DAY 1:

  • Conducting interviews and screening business ideas.
  • Organizing group into a cooperative and electing executives for account opening purposes.
  • Running skills training session on small business best practice.

DAY 2:

  • Market research in catchment area to validate key business proposals for round 1 funding.
  • Presentation of market research report to group and highlighting lessons learnt.
  • Escorting group executives to open bank account at Apam Rural Bank.

 

 

What role would volunteers play?

Volunteers/resource persons would drive the end-to-end-process from proposal screening to facilitating the training program.

What skills set must applicants/volunteers possess?

  • Analytical Skills: Ability to analyze small or micro business to advice on successful growth strategies.
  • Social skills: ability to communicate effectively in Twi or Fanti and to simplify business concepts to the understanding of “illiterates”. The capacity for empathy and working in a team setting is also essential.
  • Problem-solving and decision-making skills: ability to use a consultative approach to unearth problem drivers and recommend practical solutions for business growth.

Any additional Info?

  • Volunteers are free to return same day, nonetheless for those who choose to stay overnight; food, accommodation and free access to WiFi would be provided.
  • Volunteers refreshment (happy hour) will be held at Winneba beach to wind down after the entire project. Activities will include board games (scrabble, chess, Ludo, etc.), beach soccer and touring the fishing area.

How would this workshop benefit you?

  • Certificate of business leadership to be awarded to resource persons
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Free one-time participation in Rural Heights Foundation’s monthly mentorship diner with renowned business leaders and motivational speakers.

Who can volunteer?

Applicant must have the following qualification:

  • A minimum of first degree in any business subject (economics, accounting, banking, finance, marketing, etc.)
  • HND or DBS holder
  • Professional certificate holder e.g. ACCA, CA, ACIB, CIM, etc.
  • Diploma
  • WASSCE Certificate

Note: training on small business review and analysis would be provided.

How do I apply?

Kindly complete the volunteers form on our website. Go to volunteer’s page and click on popup window. Please ignore if you have done this in the past. Only send an email to pamela.vanderbilt@ruralheights.org indicating your interest.


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STEM Goes to Gomoa

The increasing global emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics is a recognition of the challenges that globalization faces as questions related to climate change, food security and wealth inequality comes to the fore of global policy agenda. According to the World Economic Forum, current and future global challenges require social and emotional competencies such as creativity, collaboration and communication, to solve. Such competencies are grounded on foundational literacies; ICT literacy, numeracy, financial literacy, among others.

This broad view of education is the driving force behind Rural Heights Foundation’s iServe Rural Program, the first of which was held on 6-12 February 2017.  The 2017 project, which saw 4 graduate volunteers committing over 120 credit hours, aggregately –  involved intensive tutorials on the four (4) B.E.C.E subjects; Science, ICT, English and Mathematics. These subjects are essential for creating a competitive workforce in the long-term; a vision to which Rural Heights Foundation is very much committed.

Watch Video:

With 22.6% of the population in Gomoa West living under the poverty line (GH 1,314 per annum), such interventions tend to have tremendous impact since most B.E.C.E candidates in poor rural areas lack the financial wherewithal to purchase or even run photocopies of past questions to help prep for final examination.

Both students and teachers alike expressed profound gratitude and satisfaction with the program and entreated Rural Heights Foundation to scale up same to cover other deprived schools in the Gomoa West district of Ghana.

 

 

 

 


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Call for Volunteers: Become a Business or Career Coach at iLead Rural

Category : Events , Technology

 

What is iLead Rural Project (LRP)

iLead Rural Project is a platform for skills and knowledge transfer on business start-ups at the Senior High School level. LRP has a particular bias towards agriculture and agritech due to Ghana’s immense agrarian potential.

On June 25 and February 13, 2016, Rural Heights Foundation organized a similar entrepreneurship workshop for the students of Gomoa Senior High Technical School in Gomoa Darumpong and Apam Senior High respectively.

Watch video

What is new about iLead Rural Project 2017?

  1. As part of RHF’s strategic alliance with YouthsMAP, a US-based nonprofit, all volunteers who participate may be eligible to enrol in a global professional career mentorship program runned by YouthsMAP.
  2. A component on agritech (tech in agriculture) has been introduced to accommodate the growing service sector.

What Role Would Volunteers Play?

The program will have two main segments – plenary (seminar) session and a break-out session. Volunteers will facilitate break-out sessions. The break out session would have 3 main groups:

  1. The Pathfinders Group – for would-be entrepreneurs and business owners.
  2. The Professional’s Group – for those who wish to pursue excellence in their respective professional fields.
  3. The Protégés Group – an open group for those who wish to ask general questions or seek advice on some personal matters such as relationships, family, faith, etc.

Volunteer selection for Pathfinders group is strictly limited to only those with real entrepreneurship experience.

 

What’s in for volunteers?

  1. Free lunch meal with drinks.
  2. Free transport to Gomoa Eshiem and back to Accra.
  3. Free access to MTN 4G WiFi network to enable live event streaming and social media browsing.

Why the need for iLead Rural Project?

According to a report by Forum for Education Reform, school enrolment figures for various demographics narrows as education progresses from the lower levels (Primary and J.H.S) to higher levels (S.H.S to Tertiary). For example, data for 2011/2012 shows a 96.5% enrolment for Primary Schools, 80.6% for J.H.S and 37.1% for Senior High School system. Given the lack of clear and coherent policy direction to deal with such “drop-offs”, a private non-governmental effort to help boost chances of self-employment has become imperative.

 

How Will this Program Benefit You?

  1. In 2014 Ghana spent USD1.5b on importation of food items; crops, livestock and fisheries. This market gap has implications for business opportunities in agriculture. To be a successful entrepreneur in agriculture however, it is important to know which sub-sector holds greater returns on investment at lower risks.
  2. Proper management of risks is dependent on good advice in matters regarding start-up costs, land tenure negotiations, how to manage market risks, yield variations and commercial acreage operations. This workshop would provide you with all these insights and the tools/techniques to manage risks in the agriculture value chain.
  3. Finally, the application of technology to agriculture is a growing market. Understanding this market is key to commercial success.

 

How long is this event?

The main event is a 2h 30min program but since all project staff and volunteers will be travelling from Accra to Gomoa Eshiem, we advice that a full day (8.00am – 17.00pm) is dedicated for same. Please note: this is a return trip.

 

Do You Wish To Volunteer?

If you wish to participate in this project as a volunteer, kindly fill out our volunteer forms (visit Volunteers page) if you haven’t done so already. If you have submitted your forms in the past, kindly send an email to pamela.vanderbilt@ruralheights.org indicating your interest.

 


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