Along the Gulf of Guinea lies the vibrant West African country of Ghana. The local population are relaxed and hospitable and they deeply respect family values and honouring elders. There are over 50 different ethnic groups across the country, each with its own distinct handwoven fabric.
Poverty remains widespread and is particularly concentrated in rural regions of northern Ghana where over half the population live in multidimensional poverty. Trafficking and forced labour are serious threats for Ghanaian children in poverty, alongside their vastly inadequate access to clean water and sanitation facilities.
Ghana was the first sub-Saharan nation to throw off colonial rule and the first to halve its extreme poverty rate. It continues to be a leader in West Africa as more children pursue their education and living conditions improve. More people are moving to live in urban areas; more children have the opportunity to stay in school longer; the economy is diversifying away from subsistence agriculture (although agriculture remains an important source of employment and income) and it continues to grow.
But economic conditions have worsened in the past five years and these gains are under threat, particularly due to the global food crisis. A gap is widening between the richest and poorest. Those left in rural areas bear the brunt of low incomes but the people crowding into expanding cities face the problems of rapid urbanisation: greater congestion, dangerous pollution, lack of access to safe drinking water and other basic necessities.
Though the harsh realities of life in poverty threaten to rob many children of hope, the incredible stories from our over 400 Ghanaian church partners are a testimony to God's goodness in all circumstances.
During COVID-19 school closures, 16-year-old Evans used his skills to create an online learning platform to help his peers understand maths and science concepts. Mercy leaned into her church community and obtained a degree in computer science despite tragically losing her father during her high school years. Edwin, a centre director, is teaching local families how to make ‘tippy taps’, a simple and effective system to bring the life-saving gift of running water to children’s homes.