Can you take us through a brief history of your organization?
PAAJAF stands for Providing Adolescents and Adults Jobs for Advancement in Future. PAAJAS was founded in Gbawe, Ghana in 2007 by youth activist, accountant and a dedicated local teacher, Philip Kye Appiah. Born and raised in Ghana, Philip Appiah himself experienced the extent to which extreme poverty undermines a child’s access to education, and consequently the ability to create a better life.
The PAAJAF Foundation was established to provide a range of much-needed support services for children, young people and women who live in the village of Gbawe, peripheral urban Accra in Ghana. The PAAJAF Foundation is a registered Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with a Certificate of Recognition from the Government of Ghana, Department of Social Welfare in Ghana.
What are the main goals of your organization?
PAAJAF Foundation works to end poverty and illiteracy in rural Ghana through education and job training programs 10. To achieve this, the goal is to provide a full education to people in Gbawe, from preschool to university. This is done by running a preschool and primary school, along with vocational education for adults. We also aim to give access to quality education for vulnerable people 11.
Detail: PAAJAF works to end poverty and illiteracy in rural Ghana through education and job training programs
Mention a few of your organization’s main achievements?
Since the establishment of PAAJAF, several programs have been offered in Gbawe, Accra, and in Benkasa, Brong Ahalfo, depending on the availability of funding and resources 1.
Adult literacy education is a program that offers classes for individuals with no formal education. During the classes, adults learn basic skills, including reading and writing. Lectures also cover topics on health education, business principles, and how to open a bank account, for instance. The lack of basic skills impairs one’s ability to find a well-paying job and escape poverty, and the aim of the program is to improve adult literacy and teach skills they need 2. The program commenced with five adults in 2007, and the number of participants increased to 25 adults in 2008. In 2014, after some years on hold, the adult literacy education program continued with 20 participants 1.
Sponsor a Child is a program that aims at helping children in their daily life to build a better future. A scholarship, given by a donor or a sponsor, provides the funds so a child can access quality education and life-saving resources such as clean water, nutritious food, and healthcare. The population in Gbawe mainly consists of low-income families, who are not able to afford private education. The scholarship offers opportunity consequently to children under 13 years old who are not enrolled in any type of formal education. 3. So far 12 children have received the scholarship education in Gbawe community 1.
In 2007, PAAJAF initiated the After School Program, with 10 students in Gwabe, and 60 students in Benkasa attended the program. In 2008, 30 students attended the After School Project, but unfortunately, due to the lack of funding the program was put on hold between 2009-2011. The program resumed in 2012, and in 2014, the number of participants increased to 60. Later, the After School Program was included in the PAAJAF Educational Institute (PEI) 1.
Detail: PAAJAF Educational Institute (PEI)
In 2014, PAAJAF initiated PEI (PAAJAF Educational Institute) 4, which aims to build a vibrant educational center in the community. There was an urgent need for such an educational institute since the only school in Gbawe, a city with a population of 44 000, was overcrowded and children could not attend school due to financial difficulties 5. The goal of PEI is to provide a scholarship education for orphans and unprivileged children, youth, and women in the Gbawe community. In 2014, 22 students attended PEI, and in 2016, a scholarship education was offered to 120 students at PEI 4.
Detail: PAAJAF Educational Institute (PEI)
In 2012, PAAJAF initiated Gbawe Entrepreneur Network (GEN), which aimed to help unemployed young people and women to be entrepreneurs and create capital through a community network 9. GEN provided financial guidance and helped to build capacity for innovative initiatives. GEN has supported 16 women to receive funds to support their businesses (i.e. selling food products, and clothes, for instance, in the markets in the community) 9. The program was done through the partnership with Sinapi Aba Trust – Kasoa branch 1.
Detail: PAAJAF Microfinance Program empowering women to start their own business
How does your organization contribute to global health?
The PEI School project supports education for children and adults. We are also developing a health project in collaboration with GHNGN who will help us get resources and volunteers for the project. It is a pilot project, and the aim is to provide health services to 145 children at PAAJAF Educational Institute (PEI).
Who is part of your organization?
PAAJAF is run by a board of directors, volunteer team members as well as a paid staff.
We have 9 paid staff in the school 6.
The board consists of a Chartered Account, a theologist, and an accountant. At the moment we have 2 Ghanian volunteers and 6 international volunteers from the USA, Canada, Europe and Asia. The international volunteers are professionals in NGO management, and they help to develop the website, write proposals, and they work with social media marketing.
How do you engage with students and young professionals from global health?
We welcome international students and professionals, with the ability to read and write in English, to volunteer. Those interested to teach in English can support our educational projects (e.g. Preschool 7, Primary School 8, Adult Literacy Education 2), whereas those interest in health, can help us to do research in Ghana to develop the new health project. In addition, they help us in marketing and advertising the projects, and in fundraising.
Detail: PAAJAF’s volunteer Ainhoa
What projects are you currently involved in?
We are currently focusing on education, PEI in particular, but we intend to start a health project with GHNGN. Such a project will help our beneficiaries to understand health needs of the Ghanaian people.
How can people get more involved with your organization?
Everyone is invited, for the education project, as long as they are able to read and write in English. For the health project, interested volunteers must at least be students of health sciences. The foundation is in need of marketing, fundraising, and grant proposal support to bring awareness, increase the foundation’s visibility and attract volunteers, individuals and corporate donors to help us run our PEI Project and the health project that we plan to work with GHNGN in the future.
People can also log on to our website for latest updates regarding our ongoing projects.
On the website, you can find more information about our study that was conducted in 2007, by Philip Kye Appiah and Juliet Yayera Afua. Learn also more about the future goals of PAAJAF: https://paajaf.org/founders-story/#more
Detail: PAAJAF provides a full education to people in Gbawe, from preschool to university
Detail: Philip Kye Appiah, the founder of PAAJAF
The story of PAAJAF:
I was inspired to establish the PAAJAF Foundation with Juliet Adusei. She was a teacher and we had the same vision: to help neglected children. It made perfect sense to start off the best way we could. As a young man, I had to work many jobs to support myself from junior high school and upwards. Due to extreme poverty, I had to wait four years after completing junior high before I could consider entering senior high and later complete a diploma course. I wanted to study and work, but there were no resources available. I could see others around me struggling too, with no access to school, books, and uniforms. This motivated me to help other young, underprivileged people. I want to provide them with an opportunity to be educated and end the cycle of poverty in order to lead a better life.
- PAAJAF, Our history. Available at: https://paajaf.org/ngo-for-underprivileged-children-in-gbawe-ghana/
- PAAJAF, Adult Literacy Education. Available at: http://pei.paajaf.org/curriculum/adult-literacy-education/
- PAAJAF, Sponsor a Child Program. Available at: https://paajaf.org/how-we-help/child-welfare/
- PEI (PAAJAF Educational Institute). Available at: http://pei.paajaf.org/about-pei/
- PAAJAF (2017). Success stories. Available at: https://paajaf.org/successstories/education/
- PAAJAF, Staffing. Available at: http://pei.paajaf.org/staffing/
- PAAJAF, Preschool. Available at: http://pei.paajaf.org/the-importance-of-education-for-young-children/
- PAAJAF, Primary School. Available at: http://pei.paajaf.org/curriculum/primary-school/
- PAAJAF, Gbawe Entrepreneurs Network (GEN). Available at: https://paajaf.org/projects/help-youth-women-become-entrepreneurs/#summaryTab
- PAAJAF, Who we are. Available at: http://pei.paajaf.org/who-we-are/
- PAAJAF, Why we do it. Available at: https://paajaf.org/why-we-do-it/
Contact person PAAJAF: Philip Kye Appiah (Co-Founder)