Accra, Ghana, 22 October 2008
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.