Private schools for the poor

June 25, 2009

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Compared with public schools, private schools for the poor are increasingly becoming popular among parents and students because they provide education in an environment where accessibility is easier, safety is better, discipline is stronger, students are better cared for, and most importantly students achieve higher academic results.

Section of kids and teachers in front of Matthew Brown's Class

A nursery block at Future VIP's School (Accra, Ghana) being named after Matthew Brown for his passion and support for the Opportunity International Development Foundation project.

In response to the needs of private schools that serve the poor, Opportunity International has launched an education development programme in Ghana with tailored products and services including loans, savings and insurance through Opportunity International Savings and Loans Limited and training and other developmental services through its non-profit arm, Opportunity International Development Foundation.

To learn more about our programme and activities visit this blog regularly or contact us at oidf@opportunityghana.com.

Alphabet Software Training

June 12, 2009

Tema, Ghana, June 8th –  June 10th 2009

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Opportunity International Development Foundation  (OIDF) organised a 3day training workshop (from Monday 8th – Wednesday 10th June 2009) for six private schools (Samlena School Complex, Lebanon International School, Provident Educational Complex, Mawuko Educational Complex, Future VIP International School and Best Way Academy) in Ghana at Tema International School, Tema, as part of the capacity building training initiative by OIDF. The purpose of the training workshop was to introduce the Alphabet software (a management information system) for school administration and financial management and also provide the necessary skills for private school proprietors.

Participants for the training workshop were two representatives per school including the school’s Proprietor. The facilitators for the training workshop included Harry Tetteh (ICT Program Officer, OIDF), Mr. Sebastian Gavor and Lesley Boku (Alphabet Software developers), and Linda Poku (OIDF Consultant). Harry Tetteh started the workshop by introducing the basics skills of Microsoft Access application which is the platform for the Alphabet Software to the trainees.

Linda engaging Vivian from Provident Educational Complex

Linda engaging Vivian from Provident Educational Complex

Linda Poku continued by providing training on basic accounting and finance procedures/standards after which Mr. Gavor and Boku trained the participants on how to use Alphabet Software for all transactions and record keeping, with each school as a case study.

Patrick Kohn with Samlena School Complex representatives

Patrick Kohn with Samlena School Complex representatives

Mr. Peter Bediako Puni, Opportunity International Savings and Loans Ltd. (OISL) branch Manager for Ashaiman and Patrick Kohn (OISL Loan Officer for Ashaiman) joined the workshop on the last day of the workshop. Mr. Bediako Puni brought the 3day training to an end by encouraging the trainees to make it a habit of utilizing the Alphabet Software and all knowledge acquired during the workshop to enable them transition from the manual record keeping to automated management information system.

This was an eye opening experience for all the proprietors’ as they shared how the Alphabet Software would enhance their productivity, because easy access to reliable information helps in good decision making for their schools development.

Participants and facilitators group picture

Participants and facilitators group picture

Book Fair!

March 2, 2009
Ashaiman, Ghana, Friday 27th February 2009
A section of kids enjoying their book

A section of kids enjoying their book

Opportunity International Savings and Loans (OISL) in conjunction with its non-profit arm, Opportunity International Development Foundation (OIDF) organised a Book Fair for Private Schools last Friday, 27th February, 2009 on the premises of African Advance College in Ashaiman. The Book Fair was organized courtesy of Opportunity International’s partnership with Books for Africa, a US-based non profit organisation which donated more than 30,000 books to Opportunity International for distribution to its private school clients serving low-income communities to encourage a culture of reading.

 

Distribution of books to school representatives

Distribution of books to school representatives

Opportunity International organized this Book Fair to create a medium through which private schools serving less-privilege communities would acquire a variety of books to stock up their libraries so that pupils would have unlimited access to reading books. The Fair started at 11 am with a brief introduction by Mrs Judith Damoah, the Branch Relationship Manager for Individual Loans (OISL) and Mrs. Esther Ofori, the President of Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS). Other members present at the fair were Mr. Matthew Brown (COO, OIDF), Nana Bamfo (Business Manager, OIDF), Harry Tetteh (ICT Officer, OIDF), Joseph Okyere (Supervisor, OISL), Maame Pobee (Loan Officer, OISL), Patrick Kohn-Arthur (Loan Officer, OISL), Derrick Ababio (Intern) and several members of the Ashaiman Chapter of GNAPS.  

 

Opportunity International staff with GNAPS representatives

Opportunity International staff with GNAPS representatives

In all there were representatives from over 80 private schools from Accra, Pokuase and Ashaiman at the fair. Each representative went round to pick a minimum of 50 books ranging from maths, literature, general reading, history, sciences and religious studies books.

The Fair ended at about 1pm with a vote of thanks by Mrs. Esther Ofori. She expressed her gratitude to Opportunity International for being a caring bank. She stressed that not only does it provide financial support in terms of loans to schools but in addition went an extra mile to make sure that the loans are used judiciously. She also promised that the schools would put the books to good use.

 

Together, OISL and OIDF work to transform lives and develop communities through microfinance. As part of the many initiatives to help alleviate poverty, OISL and OIDF seek to promote and enhance quality private education in less-privileged communities in Ghana. They work closely with private school proprietors to increase their skills and capacities as business owners and educators to help them gain greater access to credit and other financial services. With greater access to credit, school proprietors are able to improve their infrastructure and facilities thus promoting a better learning environment for their students.

 

Computer Literacy Training

February 23, 2009

Friday 20th February, 2009

Harry Tetteh leads the training workshop for school proprietors and staff

Harry Tetteh leads the training workshop for school proprietors and staff

Opportunity International Development Foundation (OIDF) organised a one-day training workshop on basic Information Communication and Technology (ICT) for six private school proprietors (Provident Educational Complex, Mawuko Educational Complex, Lebanon International School, Future VIP School, Golden Gate Academy and Best Way Academy) with their staff at the Methodist Secondary School ICT Laboratory at Tema on Friday 20th February, 2009. This was a prerequisite training for the introduction of software for school administration and recordkeeping beginning in March.

School loan officer, Patrick Kohn and Harry Tetteh of OIDF gather with participlants for a group photo

School loan officer, Patrick Kohn, and Harry Tetteh of OIDF gather with participlants for a group photo

Topics covered in the training include computer parts and their functions, the desktop environment, windows applications, and using menus, buttons, bars and boxes. The ICT training which was facilitated by Harry Tetteh (ICT Program Officer, OIDF) was greatly appreciated by the trainees as it was the first time for most of them to use a computer. Many of the schools present requested for further ICT training programs to increase their knowledge on computers.

Gavor Software Training

January 26, 2009
Tema, Ghana, Friday 23rd January 2009
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Representatives from six private schools from the Greater Accra Region gather for a photo with the facilitators of the program.

Private school clients of Opportunity International participated in a one-day training workshop on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for school administration and financial management. The purpose of the workshop was to create greater awareness of good recordkeeping and also demonstrate features of the information management software developed by Gavor Consult International Ltd. called Alphabet. The program was sponsored by Opportunity International Development Foundation (OIDF), the not-for-profit development arm of Opportunity International Savings and Loans, and facilitated by Mr. Sebastian Gavor, the developer of the software.

 

Matthew Brown and Sebastian Gavor

Matthew Brown and Sebastian Gavor

Proprietors and staff from six private schools serving low-income communities in Ghana (Bestway Academy, Future VIPs, Golden Gate Academy, Lebanon International School, Mawuko Educational Complex, and Providence Educational Complex) participated in the program at the Data Link University College premises in Tema. The workshop included interactive sessions where the proprietors shared challenges of manual recordkeeping, their hopes, and their appreciation for the efforts of Opportunity International to strengthen private education for the poor.

As a follow up to the workshop, OIDF will provide these school proprietors with a computer, a copy of the software and other equipment, and assist them with their transition from manual to electronic recordkeeping. Following a successful pilot, OIDF plans to expand this initiative to a greater number of private schools.

This workshop marks the commencement of the ICT capacity building initiatives of OIDF for private schools serving low-income communities in Ghana. As part of this initiative, OIDF will also introduce ICT for education by sponsoring and assisting with the set up of computer labs for private school clients of Opportunity International Savings and Loans.

Training for Edupreneurs

October 23, 2008

Accra, Ghana, 22 October 2008

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Edupreneurs and Training facilitators

During the week of 13—17 October, thirty Opportunity International edupreneurs from the Ashaiman community and surrounding areas participated in a financial management workshop. The program was facilitated by Opportunities Industrialization Centers International (OICI Ghana), a leading organization in technical and vocational training, at their headquarters in East Legon, Accra. This training serves as a pilot for future workshops that are designed to provide private school proprietors serving low-income communities with basic business skills that are necessary to access credit.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Opportunity International, the Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS), OICI Ghana and The Mitchell Group (TMG) are working in close collaboration to support this initiative. These organizations, with the enthusiastic backing of the Ghana Education Service (GES), have come together in this notable alliance with the shared goal of developing and promoting private schools which provide quality education to poor populations.

The program targets ‘emerging’ and ‘underdeveloped’ private schools, who are unaccredited or have received ratings of no higher than ‘C’ or ‘D’ by the GES. The primary goal is to assist these private school owners build their capacity to access credit so that they may more effectively grow and improve their school facilities and provide a better learning environment for the children they serve.

Opportunity International plays an important role in this partnership as it has developed a specialized lending program for this target market. The thirty proprietors were chosen to participate in this program due to their drive to
improve the quality of their schools and desire to access larger, medium -term loan facilities.

After a week of training, the proprietors now claim that they are ready to accept the challenge put forth to them by Joseph Eaglewings, their elected chairman for the week, to put into practice all that they have learned so as to improve their businesses and lives. With the training session completed, the proprietors are now more prepared to access and manage the credit that will help them grow their schools. They have learned, as Peter Megbekpe, the GES Circuit Supervisor, noted on the last day of training, that better business management is the first important step in improving the quality of private schools and the education these schools provide the next generations of Ghanaians.

These participating Opportunity International private school proprietors walked in to the OICI conference room Monday morning as teachers and business owners who hold a passion for education and walked out of the training Friday afternoon as true entrepreneurs with the drive and improved skills to grow their businesses so as to better serve the students and communities in which they work.


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