Donation News

Ghana School Without Computers Receives Donation from Microsoft

Richard Appiah Akoto is a junior high school teacher in Ghana who had a major obstacle. His students will have to pass an exam including computer skills questions, but his school hasn’t had any computers since 2011 due to budget shortfalls. He has over 100 students between 14 and 15, and only one of them managed to achieve an A grade last year.

So Akoto rose to the challenge. In chalk, he did a detailed walk-through of common software like Microsoft Word, showing them how to launch and operate the programs. He put a few pictures of his process online, via his Facebook. The pictures went viral, spreading like wildfire across Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit.

One person spreading the post tagged @MicrosoftAfrica in her tweet. She wrote:

“Hey @MicrosoftAfrica, he’s teaching MS Word on a blackboard. Surely you can get him some proper resources.”

The same day, Microsoft Africa replied, saying they would get a device to Akoto, along with training resources. In the next few weeks, they flew him to Singapore for computer training and to attend an educator’s conference.

In the meantime, the viral post was catching other people’s attention. A benefactor at University of Leeds in the U.K. sent Akoto a laptop for his students. NIIT Ghana, a local computer training school, donated five desktops, books on computer skills, and a laptop. Akoto’s Facebook page is flooded with comments from individuals, companies, and news agencies offering more help.

Small donations, from the donors’ perspectives. But the value added to Akoto’s school and to the education of his students is immeasurable. His drawings were meticulous, ambitious, and a wonderful learning tool when nothing better was available. But teaching and learning on the real thing will take his students so much further. Another example of how social media has proven to be a powerful tool for those in need.

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The Fight Against Malaria in Africa

Malaria continues to be a huge problem in Africa, as well as other places across the world where access to medical help and information are not always readily available. Though some progress has been made in treating and cutting down the number of cases, malaria has yet to be eradicated.

However, many organizations around the world are fighting hard to provide African communities with the information and support they need.

The Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Elimination Initiative

The Isdell:Flowers Initiative is the brainchild of the J.C. Flowers Foundation, the philanthropic arm of financial services giant J.C. Flowers & Co. The Initiative focuses on an area called the “last mile,” the cross-border region that includes Namibia, Angola, Zambia, and Zimbabwe where the population is mobile and difficult to reach. Because people living in this area travel a lot, they often spread malaria without meaning to, and they don’t have the education or resources to take precautionary steps.

That’s where the Isdell:Flowers Initiative comes in. Their work focuses on things like net distribution (to prevent malaria-infected mosquito bites), training villagers to treat and prevent the disease, and providing the equipment for rapid testing. The Initiative also performs extensive research and data analysis.

The Global Health Group

Launched in 2007, the Global Health Group’s Malaria Elimination Initiative pursues “achievable and evidence-based elimination goals.” By partnering with researchers, implementers, and advocates, Group Health conducts research and develops new tools to help eliminate malaria. To date they’ve published important reports and peer-reviewed papers; organized relief efforts in both Asia and Africa; partnered to provide sustainable, domestic financing and resource mobilization; and greatly influenced policy-makers with organizations like the Malaria Elimination Group, an international scientific community that serves as an advisory board to 35 countries fighting malaria.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The Gates Foundation has its fingers a lot of philanthropic pies, and the fight against malaria is no exception. Noting that malaria occurs in 100 countries across the world and exists as both a social and economic burden, the Gates Foundation oversees programs that help address malaria as a treatable and preventable disease. Their multi-year malaria strategy, Accelerate to Zero, was adopted in 2013 and continues to coordinate with partners in taking steps to eradicate malaria. Because the Foundation is well funded and uniquely positioned across the world, they are able to support initiatives and take risks in a way other, smaller organizations can’t.

Organizations Profiles

John Prendergast Fights For Human Rights in Africa

John Prendergast
IMG: via Enough Project

John Prendergast is, in many ways, the model activist. He has dedicated the past thirty years to advocating for human rights abroad, and his efforts have allotted every organization he has worked with enormous amounts of support from passionate philanthropists. He is an author, human rights campaign leader, an advisor to prominent philanthropists, and a hands-on leader whose vast knowledge about violence in Africa has allotted him great success in his peace-oriented initiatives. In short, he has made an incredible difference.

One of the things that sets Prendergast apart from other activists on the front-lines of human injustice in Africa is the lasting relationships he forges with philanthropic people. The activist and author knows that change cannot be made through the efforts of one person, but that it takes a dedicated coalition of like-minded people to provide significant help to others in need. Throughout his career he has advised celebrities in their own humanitarian work, has sparked philanthropy aimed at worthy causes, and has even coauthored books with famous public figures in order to raise awareness about atrocities taking place abroad.

To learn more about John Prendergast, check out our profile.