Mr Freeman Gobah, Country Director of Pencils of Promise, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has called for extensive stakeholder consultation on the siting of school projects to ensure they benefit those who need them most.
He spoke of the situation where because of the non-involvement of the local people, projects including libraries and ICT laboratories had been built far away from communities they were meant to serve and literary become “white elephants.”
The Director made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of the inauguration of a six unit classroom block built by the NGO for the Klenomardi M.A. Basic School in the Ketu North Municipality of the Volta Region.
He asked that government agencies and other entities engaged more with stakeholders – parents, and the community, on such facilities.
In some instances, political influence was also to blame for the wrong siting and duplication of projects in rural communities, he noted.
He said amid dwindling state resources, the role of NGOs had become increasingly vital, and there was the need for collaboration with Government.
“Projects are clashing and must be evenly distributed. We need more coordination between government and the NGOs to avoid duplication of resources, and ensure they are properly sited and well thought of, to meet the needs of beneficiaries,” he said.
Mr. Gobah expressed concern about what he cast as the “huge educational infrastructure deficit in the Volta, Oti, and Eastern Regions”, where PoP had been operating since 2012 – provided over 160 classroom blocks.
Teaching and learning materials, he said, were virtually non-existent in rural schools in these areas, and that many of them did not have the full complement of teachers.
He gave the assurance that the NGO would sustain it drive to provide the infrastructure – a basic requirement for schools.
“Going forward, PoP would continue to build schools to improve education. We will focus more on quality education in the classroom, and will engage more stakeholders, and remain accountable to our donors.
“We will journey deeper into the Volta, Oti and Eastern Regions, and address the huge infrastructure deficit,” he said.
Pencils of Promise also provides teaching and learning materials, as well as in-service training for teachers.
Every classroom block it builds comes with a toilet, and water holding facility, to assist make handwashing become an integral part of school culture.