At panagenda we depend substantially on our great employees and their thorough training and skills. We know that education is key to success in life – while at the same time millions of children in some parts of the world hardly have access to any kind of school. As a consequence, panagenda decided to cooperate with Alma Mater Education (AME), a charitable organization building schools in Ghana. Recently we were happy to learn that the first school is already expanding with a “panagenda ICT suite” to ensure that children also receive tuition around important IT skills. In case you were still looking for a good cause to donate to – the contact details and bank details of AME can be found at the bottom of this blog entry.

In 2015, Ghana ranked lowest of the 72 countries assessed by the OECD in terms of educational quality and access. 55% of children do not go to secondary school due to high fees. This has a devastating impact on earnings potential, literacy and even life expectancy. Those most affected by this are the rural poor, who have neither access to schooling, nor the means to pay for it.

In 2015, AME opened its first rural Secondary School, and Agricultural Training Centre in Wioso, Ghana. The area was selected as it was underserved with educational provision – the nearest secondary school being 20 miles away, and as a result, as high as 95% of the young people in the area would not go beyond basic school.

Wioso Senior High School and Organic Farm in Ghana is a pilot-project, which will demonstrate proof-of concept for an innovative and self-sufficient approach. When the project is finished in 2018, AME intends to use this school as a basis to expand, building more schools in Ghana

We recently received an update by AME CEO James Riggs and wanted to share this great cause with our community. It has helped us reflect not only on personal successes of the past year, but also remind us that despite the atrocities that occur in the world, people like James and organizations like AME, are fighting to balance out and give hope for harmony. Whether it is this cause or another, whether striving for global impact or members within your own family, reflect on how you are able to make the coming year a better one, not only for yourself but the people around you.

An update from Ghana 

by AME CEO James Riggs

Hello everyone, it’s my great pleasure to give you a quick update on all that has been going on at Wioso Senior High School and Organic Farm in Ghana. We have finally managed to complete Phase 2 of the school building, more of that below and will be welcoming a further 100 students during September.

Our current students continue to perform extremely well, and we are all excited to see our first national exam results, which our oldest students will be sitting in June next year. We are optimistic that they will do extremely well, as the quality of the teachers continues to impress, and they have all taken the ‘Alma Mater Education System’ to heart. Lessons around the school now are far more creative and student inclusive, and it is not uncommon to see lessons outside, at the farm, and around the site.

It is full steam ahead once more after a difficult 2016 which saw us miss the deadline for finishing Phase 2, resulting in student intake last year being very low. A combination of a falling value in sterling, unseasonal weather and a delay in getting the solar equipment from Europe, meant that we missed our construction deadline last September.

However, I am very happy to report that we have caught up this year. Phase 2 is finished, and all of the power at the school is now provided by the African sun. We have a further five classrooms ready to go, and aim to have our ICT suite installed early in 2018, which was generously donated by panagenda last year, and will be named the ‘panagenda ICT suite’.

After the problems of last year, there have understandably been a few parents in the local area who have been waiting to see how the school building progresses. Although cutting it fine, they are now seeing the progress made at the school and are beginning to enrol their children to begin in Wioso next month. Our target enrolment rate is 100, and we have had over 500 applicants for study already.

Of course, our aim is to make the school economically self-sufficient as well as ecologically – which we have already achieved through our Organic farm, solar power and borehole water supply. Our aim, with the new students this year is to be up to 70% economically self-sufficient, with a running cost deficit of just £12,000. This target is a great motivator, and we would have gone a long way to proving the model, alongside providing free education to half of our students if we can achieve this.

Going forward, it has been identified that we need to develop a hostel, and provide a bus service, to allow many of the students from the more remote areas access to our school. These are the most vulnerable children, with absolutely no chance of an education, and the ones that AME was set up specifically to help. Our site can provide an education, renewable utilities and food from the farm. A hostel would be a cost-effective and secure way to provide these students access to an education, and is repeatedly requested when we visit these communities.

Thank-you so very much for taking the time to read this update, and for your continued support with our ambitious project in Ghana. I hope you all agree that so far things have been a great success, and we can all be rightly proud of what we have achieved. Simply without your support, none of this would have been achieved, and from all of us at AME and the students in attendance, a massive thank-you!

If you would like to donate to our 2017/18 fundraising drive, the account details are below. Our target for the next academic year is £120,000 to complete the school buildings and roofing, a hostel, a school bus, the sports field as well as an onsite hostel for those children who have to travel more than two hours each day. Naming opportunities include the science lab, classrooms and the new offices, as well as the school bus and hostel.

Please contact me directly for any further information.

Warmest wishes

James Riggs
CEO Alma Mater Education

Donations: Can be received via bank transfer, into our UK or US accounts, details below.

UK Sterling Account

Bank: HSBC
Account no: 62155907
Sort code: 400409
IBAN: gb15midl40040962155907

US Dollar Account

Bank: Wells Fargo
Account no: 6268919351
Routing no (wire transfer). 121000248
Routing no (direct transfer). 054001220