The Ghana National Philanthropy Forum, which also debuted the National Philanthropy Excellence Awards, took place at the Accra International Conference Center on 23 – 24 March, with the theme ‘Philanthropists as agents for national development’. The two-day summit, which brought together about 230 participants from the nonprofit, government and corporate sectors was organized by the Philanthropy Forum-Ghana, headed by Dr. Ben Ocra.
The National Philanthropy Forum is a yearly convergence of local and transnational third sector managers, foundations, NGO/CSO sector support organizations, corporate executives as well as professionals in academia to discuss ways to improve the nonprofit sector.
Delivering a speech at the forum, Dr. Ocra reiterated the importance of philanthropy in nation building; saying the nonprofit field, which formed the ‘third sector’ of the country’s economy, needed to be consolidated in order to increase its impact on national growth. He highlighted the scarcity of data flow as one of the major challenges in the humanitarian community, inhibiting the growth of the sector.
Dr. Ocra called on actors in the country’s nonprofit space, especially NGOs and CSOs to apply best practice in their operations in order to effectively meet the needs of their beneficiaries. He also charged them to be forthcoming with relevant information to help monitor and evaluate the impact of the philanthropy sector on the development of the country.
The Ghana country Manager for Microsoft, Mr. Derek Appiah, who also spoke at the summit, emphasized the need for workers in the voluntary sector to ensure efficiency in their work, by effectively managing their data. The two-part event also saw the unveiling of a Microsoft support package, designed to assist NGOs in their work. The outcome of deliberations at the summit is to be compiled into a single document for government in helping provide policy direction for the sector.
The Excellence Awards
At the tail end of the 2-day conference, an awards ceremony was held to honor individuals and organizations that have made significant impact on the Ghanaian society through diverse philanthropic endeavors.
According to Dr. Ben Ocra, the award was instituted to recognize and encourage humanitarians for their quota towards nation building. Winners of the awards were chosen from six nomination categories based on their various areas of operation. MTN Ghana Foundation won the ‘Corporate Philanthropist of the year’ while Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation (NADeF) and the Osei-Kusi Foundation (OKF) won the ‘Foundation and Corporate Foundation Philanthropist(s) of the year’ respectively.
Professor Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, the Founder of FOCOS Orthopedic hospital, was awarded individual Philanthropist of the year (Special Needs), whereas Nathan Kwabena Anokye-Adisi, aka Bola Ray, was pronounced ‘Individual Philanthropist of the year’
A Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed on Irish-born Priest of Christ the King Parish who also is the Chairman of the Lepers Aid Committee, Reverend Fr. Andrew Campbell SVD. The laureates were presented with infinity crystal trophies bearing specific citations for their various categories. In his acceptance speech, Very Rev. Fr. Campbell expressed delight, saying he felt honored to have been recognized for his ‘little service to humanity’. The Catholic priest, who has lived and undertaken several humanitarian missions in Ghana for the past 40 years, challenged other philanthropists to keep up their good work to continue to give hope to the poor and needy in society.
Clifford Yaw Frimpong is a columnist, writing on behalf of the The Philanthropy Forum, Ghana.