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16.03.2007 Feature Article

Churches, Mosques & self help for the communities in which they operate!

Throughout Ghana the main stream churches, various churches and Mosques have well established themselves into our society. They attract huge chunk of our population when every Friday's & Sunday's. I wonder whether they classify these gathering as an excellent opportunity for community developments.

The question we need to ask ourselves as citizens of Ghana is to what extent do these religious organisations play in terms of community developments.

Yes! Of course some religious organisations have indeed made significant impact however others have not. Instead some churches are siphoning money from the public without having a strategic plans for the community they serve.

Surely, with such a high number of religious buildings at every corner of Ghana, should also signal an active role in the strategic transformation of their communities. Would it be fair to say that churches and Mosques should also link with DCE and assemblymen and women? May be quarterly liaison with these people to ask questions about the strategic developmental plans of their communities. Ghanaians must not assume that that the government priorities are the same as ours. They may see our priorities differently. We need to be more assertive and ask the right question and demand provision of services, which would enhance our environment, and the quality of life of the community. We therefore need such an integrated approach in order to . holistically address community developments. Hence, addressing community development in this way means Paramount chiefs, community leaders, local businesses, statutory bodies and voluntary organsiation would all play a signiificant part in matters affecting their communities in with they operate.
These days Ghanaians we are everywhere. Let pinch the good projects in the various countries we are and add on to ours. In Spain, for example they enjoy their night life and we need to befriend the right leaders and ask about the efforts their local DCE made to ensure that their communities services are usable friendily, safe and enjoyable. We need to be sharing ideas from everywhere that would faciltate changes in Ghana. We should not just focus on our work and generate money for our own self development and wealth but for Ghana as a nation.

What role could our churches, mosques play to help towards the transformation of Ghana?. Some have do visit hospitals, build schools yes but what else?

Ghanaians churches & Mosques through the world must ensure that they preach this message of self help in the various porjects highlighted in this article. Each and everyone of us must play an active part before we could proudly stand tall and call ourselves as Ghanaians.

Well, 50 years on after our independence and still majority of our people are ll illiterate.

Doesn't this exposure our vunerables to exploitation by those who are literate and cunning? A cheap way of ensuring that people acquire knowledge is providing the necessary facilities. Ideally , we need libraries at every named town and villages.on our maps. Where there is no means for libraries a mobile library would be sufficient.

Would this be too much to ask churches,mosques and others to focus on building learning resource centres ( libraries), public toilets with washing basins, recreational grounds etc communities woud be proud of their contributions. For example, prior to Harvest day or Ramadan day religious leaders could consider whether it would be worth asking congregation to donate building materials in a way of a bag of cement , roofing sheets, etc and other building materials contributing towards buildings in their community. This would not only help to increase awareness of ethos of self help but also the motivate people in seeing tangible outcome from their donations.

Let's reflect on the situations in our psychiatric hospitals currently, 50 years on .and there still no libraries, some occupational therapy, isolated rehabiltation centres in in one or two, no sports centres with gym, edcuational or vocational programmes and our patients there are even called inmates. These are issues that have not been centrally addressed to improve the quality of life within the walls of our psychirtiac hospitals. We see our fellow disturbed citizens roaming our streets aimlessly searching for foods.

What do our churches , mosques and others do the allevaite these misery? Perhaps self help projects intiaitives ? . In Britian, for example, some churches play an active part offering hostels and hot soups kitchens for the homeless . What do churches & Mosques do in Ghana to help?

Do we have places for our homeelss families could go for free soups or warmth. How could we call ourselves caring tolerant christain, moslems country when we only focus on our selves? Should we perhaps start learning about these self help intiatives other countries have long been engaged in?

The challenge now is for all religious organisations and the individuals to chip in and offer tangible self helps projects throughout our country.

Ghanaians should never feel sorry for themselves and rather focus on the engaging thenselves in self help projects take the credit for doing so. Communities may need to focus on community developments and monitor, review and evaluate developments in their own town years to see to their MP the progress made through self help and demand big porjects from the government. There is more belssing in helping a community than solely focusing on one's own development. The community come to you to help them out but then if the focus is for everyone in the community to chip in with strategic projects you all as a community blossom together. This would bring about a renewed thinking and genuine happiness in the community.

In this way , communites would be more likely to be helped by the government and other NGOs if they start such intiaitives themselves.

Our heavenly Father God or Allah does love beauty hence he put us all on earth to use our own intiaitives through self help projects using the integration of human wisdom to make that differnce.

Churches& Mosques may be to reconsider their positon within our society and promote themselves. Engaging in self-help projects would definitely improve our natural environment and the quality of humans' lives.

Good sanitation improved basic amenities could all be achieved through self-help and pressure groups.

Religious organisations, and paramount chiefs, DCE, MP's could all make that difference to motivate the public into being participant of the self-help projects.

Mercy Adede Bolus
Mercy Adede Bolus, © 2007

This author has authored 172 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: MercyAdedeBolus

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