In the beginning
V.O.I.C.E.S Ghana (formerly Voices of the Voiceless Ghana) traces its roots to January 2005, when Ahmeda Mansaray-Richardson, the current Executive Director created the vision and mission of the organization.
Within fifteen months from its inception, the founding team had successfully acquired a Ghana Certification of Incorporation and applied to the Ghana Education Service to pilot the primary initiative, the Pubic Health Club program in two local schools. The official kick off of the Public Health Club (PHC) program was June in 2006, at Majomar Juniour High School, in the Abeka community and Achimota School, in the larger Achimota community.
A summative evaluation of the PHC at the beginning of 2008 showed an overall perception amongst all PHC stakeholders that the program had effectively helped improve the problem-solving, critical thinking, leadership and teamwork skills of its participants. To complement this success, the PHC program was rolled out into five communities in Accra, and partnered with UNICEF, the Ministry of Women's and Children Affairs, and the Ministry of Local Government to plan and deliver the first National Child Sanitation Summit.
AS WE GREW
Our second oldest initiative the Village Pot Institute (VPI) was launched shortly after the PHC, with the objective of gaining the support and involvement of local businesses’ in the PHC program. Our First VPI partner, S.C. Johnsons, to date continues to contribute significantly to the future of the organization not only through financial support but also in its governance with representation on V.O.I.C.E.S Ghana’s Board of Directors. Today we can count on our VPI partners S.C. Johnson, Tropic Pharmacy, Promasidor Ghana Ltd, Kingdom Books Ghana Ltd, S.I.F.E and Ghana Cyberspace Ghana Ltd amongst others to be actively engaged in the programs we run in their communities.
To further develop the PHC and VPI initiatives, we launched the VOICES Training Institute (VTI) in February 2007, holding our first workshop on the Rights Based Approach to Development for our training institute participants. Today, the VTI has successfully graduated 2 cohorts from the VTI program, and 100% of its alumin are in tertiary education institutions globally. The 2009-2010 corp of VTI volunteers, include 10 highly dedicated young people who not only participate in facilitating our community based programs but also are engaged in at least 5 personal and professional development workshops per year, targeted at improving skills such as IT, public speaking, resume writing and career, as well as effective mentorship and teamwork.
IMMERSION & CHANGE
The next initiative to take off was the VOICES Immersion Program launched in August 2007 with the hosting of the first international intern, recruited through the Montreal based NGO, HorizoneCosmopolitaine with financial Support from CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency. To date we have hosted 5 international interns from a number of world renowned organizations and institutions including Wharton Business School and McGill University.
Finally, the idea of the VOICES for Change Program launched in 2008, was conceived as a way to follow up with participants from the aforementioned national summit on Sanitation, in order to keep them engaged in actively improving the sanitation in their respective communities. In the two years since then, VOICES Ghana has partnered with UNICEF and the Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs in facilitating 4 more national children summits on development issues. Participants from these summits under the auspices of the VOICES for Change Program have gone on to become youth advocates in their communities on the issues of Sanitation, Petroleum Exploration in Ghana, African Union and Child Rights. By providing strategic advice, access to resources and tool kits, VOICES Ghana through the VOICES for Change program is able to keep these young people to inspired to be the change in their communities whilst advocate for change on a larger scale.
In 2009, our then Programs Director in conjunction with an intern laid the ground work for our latest project the VOICES Health and Wellness Project. Under this Project,the VOICES health and Wellness Team partners with community stakeholders in assessing health and wellness needs of communities and coordinate stakeholders to implement sustainable solutions.
The major resource for this project the VH&W tool kit was designed by the V.O.I.C.E.S Ghana to raise the awareness of community participation to identified health issues; Emphasize the important role community members can play by promoting their own health at local, national and international levels; Provide persons in developing settings a resource guide with strategies and tools that can be employed to promote and protect their right to health and Demonstrate the benefits they can derive from taking action to addressing their own issues. A pilot roll-out in one of the PHC communities is envisaged for May 2011.
Today in 2019, after successfully completing over 10 years of operations, we continue to focus on strengthening our six program initiatives and establishing stronger partnerships at all levels in our communities including expanding our corporate and NGO partnerships. With a dedicated team of 3 professional staff, five young volunteers, and over 500 school going children having successfully participated in our 6 programs initiatives nationally, we look forward to learning from our upcoming organization-wide evaluation in order to continue to provide value adding programs that further the mission of the organization. In addition, plans for duplicating our successes and lessons learned are underway for at least two other African countries.