Adaklu Sikama, Ghana

Nestled in the Adaklu traditional area and about 4 hours from Ghana’s capital of Accra, Adaklu Sikama is a vibrant village of nearly 450 people. The welcoming spirit of the community is invigorating while its residents toil in what seems like an endless cycle of poverty. Limited health care, poor education and a nearly non existent economy are some of the ongoing challenges this community is faced with.

The Current Conditions of Adaklu Sikama

While primary education facilities have been built, facilities remain unfurnished, teaching and learning supplies are insufficient and parent engagement is inconsistent. The Adaklu community has raised funds on their own to construct outdoor, covered areas for a junior secondary school; however the resources and personnel required are unavailable.

Accessible healthcare while in close proximity is drastically under-resourced. Staff is dedicated, but lack the necessary training and supplies to treat acute health issues, manage chronic disease or provide education and services that would aid in prevention. Maternal healthcare, while in high demand, is administered exclusively by a single midwife.

Local leadership and community residents have engaged some project development; however data collection, funding and followthrough has stagnated. The community as a whole has prioritized development projects and maintains effective dialogue. Regional and national corruption continue to inhibit long term changes that will improve overall community well-being.

Access to viable economic opportunities, or additional training in the community is nearly non-existent. As a primary means of survival the majority of residents work as petty traders, tailors-seamstresses, or honey and subsistence farmers. The average individual daily income hovers at about 29 cents per day.

Limited access to clean water and public sanitation, inconsistent electricity, unreliable transportation networks, and undeveloped waste management systems is the reality in Adaklu Sikama.

Access to food is not the primary issue. Rather residents lack diverse food sources, are under-nourished and susceptible to diet related disease. Action has been taken to fund a school food program, supported by the government, however inconsistent funding or rather ineffective implementation results in irregular operation.

The community prides itself on hosting local cultural celebrations, demonstrating their dance and musical traditions; however funding to enhance individual skills, compete on a regional level, or increase access is unavailable.

What We Are Doing

The first step in our process is to thoroughly assess the strengths and needs of each community condition. In Adaklu Sikama, our team conducted a house-by-house survey of the community, personally interviewing nearly every household. We met with the village Chiefs and Elders, teachers, parents, students, local clinic staff, and regional health, government and civil society leaders. What we learned in these conversations and through data collected produced a comprehensive picture of what life is like in Adaklu Sikama, and formed the blueprint for our long-term partnership.

During our initial assessment of community need, many residents noted a lack of participation in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) because they were not aware of the opportunity, did not understand the advantage of the services provided, or because transportation was too challenging. We addressed this critical gap with a three step process:
• Educating the Public: Representatives of the local NHIS office and clinic staff presented and held an open forum for questions. These sessions attracted more than 700 people from 11 communities.
• Subsidizing Registration Fees: For the average resident of Adaklu Sikama the cost of the annual registration is roughly equivalent to a week’s income. To assist the most vulnerable segments of the population we paid 75% of registration fees for children and seniors. To date we have help more than 200 people afford primary health care, many for the first time.
• Providing Access: Even for those who understand the benefits of NHIS and can afford the registration fees, enrollment in the scheme requires two separate trips to a regional NHIS office, which can be an insurmountable obstacle. We mitigated this problem by arranging for the NHIS District Office to conduct registrations in Adaklu Sikama, and sending our team to pick up the completed registration cards and deliver them to residents.

With a well-staffed clinic, easily accessible to the village, why did an overwhelming majority of residents name a lack of basic health care as a primary concern? Touring the clinic the answer is immediately apparent: the staff is friendly, caring and eager to help, but they lack the resources to treat even the simplest ailments. We worked with the staff to assess the current state of clinic's resources, and our network of partners to procure basic diagnostic and treatment supplies. We also installed a new refrigerator for the storage of vaccines, allowing the clinic’s staff to inoculate residents against 17 diseases, including measles, mumps, yellow fever and polio. Since we began working with the clinic’s staff in 2012, they have used these supplies to provide lifesaving care to nearly 5,000 people from Adaklu Sikama and more than a dozen neighboring communities.

The citizens of Adaklu Sikama understand the importance of education. Nearly all of the children are enrolled in school and their teachers are dedicated and enthusiastic. The school lacks even the most basic supplies - books, pencils and paper, textbooks, even desks and chairs - making it almost impossible for students to receive the education they need and deserve. In the Fall of 2013 Aya partnered with community groups in the New York City Metro area to collect and fill backpacks with the most desperately needed supplies and distributed them to the students of Sikama. The School staff collected data during the distribution of supplies to more than 200 students, and have altered maintenance practices built off of lessons learned.

What's Next

Education is a life long process, and resources for those who want to learn and grow are nearly non-existent. Adult literacy in Adaklu Sikama hovers at around 50% with almost no access to books, periodicals, or the internet; and with employment limited to farming and manual labor there is often no incentive or opportunity to continue learning. With our support, Adaklu Sikama has set aside a public space for a new community library, but now we need your help to fill these rooms with books. This will be a space where parents engage in their children's education, and the community at large has the opportunity to explore, collaborate and learn.

How you can help: Support this initiative by funding boxes of books and other supplies to fill waiting shelves at the new community library in Adaklu Sikama
Join the Library Campaign

An element in a child's development that is often overlooked is the need to play, develop relationships and problem solve in a safe and productive space. By providing community schools with recreation supplies, especially soccer supplies, children will have the ability to play, exercise and learn life lesson that will help carry them into adulthood.

Support this initiative by:
Join the Team Building Campaign