On June 18 the SBIG team of 10 Americans and several Ghanaian volunteers arrived home to New Jersey after staying over a week in Ghana. The focus of the Pilot Program was the establishment of a new computer lab and library at BASCO (the Baptist School Complex and Orphanage), which was selected by SBIG based on a detailed Needs Assessment conducted in early 2008. BASCO is located in the countryside outside of Koforidua about 2.5 hours outside of Accra.
Highlights from the trip include:
- A new air-conditioned computer lab was completed with 14 computers, 2 printers and an LCD projector and seating for 24 students (a donor has been identified for an additional 15 computers which will make this computer lab one of the largest for a primary school in Ghana according to government officials)
- A new library was completed with seating for 16 students and approximately 2,000 books donated by Delbarton School students, the Warren Township Library and other individuals
- Over 315 students and staff members received SBIG logo shirts, pens, and pencils
- A skilled computer teacher was hired by the school for instruction three times per week for 45 minutes for each student
- The dedication ceremony for the computer lab and library was attended by approximately 400 students, SBIG team members and government and local leaders and was covered by 3 local TV stations and newspapers, indicating the importance of this event to the local community
- Members of the SBIG delegation played a spirited football (soccer) friendly match with a group of students from BASCO
- We met with the acting U.S. Ambassador to Ghana to discuss SBIG’s mission and attended a session of the Ghanaian Parliament
- We toured the historically significant Elmina Castle – site of one of the largest points of embarkation for the slave trade in the 1600s to 1800s.
In addition to the direct contributions made by SBIG to BASCO, other donors (Ghanaian and American) were identified to purchase a new diesel generator to supply power for the computer lab and the Ghanaian government has agreed to extend the power grid approximately 3 kilometers to provide electricity to BASCO. Importantly, we were told that as a result of this extension of the power grid to BASCO, 7 communities and approximately 5,000 people now have access to electricity. Overall, SBIG enjoyed a tremendously successful trip and we look forward to continuing our mission in the upcoming year.