By Andrews Ofosuhene, President-elect of the Rotary Club of Accra-East
Prior to joining the Rotary Club of Accra-East, I had the privilege of working on a health screening exercise at a local health facility on the outskirts of Accra, Ghana. We were told a story of a young person who had been bitten by a snake. The nearest health facility was quite a distance away. No matter how fast they travelled, there was no way they could reach the facility in time to be saved. So, they resorted to traditional treatment. Sadly, this young person passed away. No one deserves to die like this. This is one of the many stories we hear in Ghana. Moved by this story, my club decided to renovate and establish a health facility to serve the community in Kokrobite and the surrounding area.
I was passionate about this project for two reasons. First, I was moved by the story behind the decision to establish the facility. Second, I had been involved in putting together and presenting the proposal to renovate the facility, thanks to my boss and mentor, a Rotarian and my club’s service projects committee chair.
My club exhibited the need to renovate the Kokrobite Health Centre at the 2016 West Africa Project Fair. The story of the snake bite propelled my club to establish a health center in the Kokrobite community under the leadership of the then Club President David Ofosu-Dorte. By attending and participating in the 2016 West Africa Project Fair held in Cotonou, Benin, we identified a strategic partner—the Rotary Club of Weija-West who provided strategic in-country support as geographically they were closer to the project site. Through this collaboration, we were able to secure pledged funding of $10,000 from the Rotary Club of Oakland Uptown in the United States. This was after going through the necessary processes and agreements with the Ghana Health Service and community leadership in Kokrobite to ensure sustainability for the next 20 years and beyond.
So, you see, the 2016 West Africa Project fair provided a platform that ordinarily we would not have had. We were able to provide a quick and easily accessible medical facility to this community.
Now for two successive years, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the West Africa Project Fair has been continued virtually due to its humanitarian significance. It has been a huge success. Though feedback on the virtual format indicated that online presentations and interactions are more limited, the fair has been able to spread its reach wider than it would if it were held physically.
This year, as a member of the host organizing committee, I am looking forward to a more exciting 2021 West Africa Project Fair, which will still give all clubs an equal opportunity to collaborate and engage with other Rotary members within the district, with other districts, nationally, and internationally. This virtual 2021 West Africa Project Fair will take place 4-6 November 2021 in Accra, Ghana.
I encourage Rotary and Rotaract clubs, international partners, and individuals who are yet to a participate in a project fair to take advantage of this virtual platform. It is cost effective and presents the same level of opportunities as the in-person project fair. I am optimistic that what we have achieved by registering, attending, and participating in the West Africa Project Fairs gives us the continued hope of what we can and must achieve as we Serve to Change Lives within our communities.