Cargill Ghana Limited, a leading cocoa beans processing company, as part of its corporate social responsibility initiatives, has broken the ground for the construction of a six-unit classroom block at Sraha near Adjei-Kojo in the Tema West Municipality of the Greater Accra Region.
The classroom block project, when completed will serve as the second public basic school to the only one serving the communities.
The event was attended by the Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Frema Akosua Osei-Opare, the Deputy Ministers of Education and Trade, Rev. John Ntim Fordjour and Michael Okyere Baafi respectively, as well as the United States Ambassador to Ghana, Her Excellency Stephanie Sullivan.
Others in attendance were the Dutch Ambassadors His Excellency Ron Strikker, as well as the Member of Parliament for Tema West Constituency, Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah among others.
The groundbreaking ceremony falls in line with Cargill’s strategic plan of improving the incomes and living standards of farmers and their communities while growing cocoa sustainably in the country.
Delivering the keynote address, the Chief of Staff, Frema Akosua Osei-Opare, said government remains committed to supporting efforts aimed at encouraging growth and investment in the cocoa sector.
She further added that being the second-largest producer of cocoa beans globally, access to educational infrastructure by wards of cocoa farmers is critical for the sector.
“Cocoa has over the years been a major source of revenue for our dear country, and has contributed significantly towards the enhancement of livelihoods within many communities. As the second-highest producer of cocoa, access to educational infrastructure by wards of cocoa farmers turn to offer a very positive outlook for the sector and enhances the sustainability of the local economy. It is our hope that through this Cargill school project, children will receive quality education”.
Speaking about the project which is being executed by Cargill in partnership with Care International, the Managing Director of Cargill Ghana Limited, Aedo van der Weij, explained that three primary schools, two kindergartens, and one junior high school block are being built concurrently in six communities of Fahiakobo, Lineso, Fojourkrom, Juabo, Afofiekrom all in the Western North Region and Sraha near Adjei-Kojo in the Tema West Municipality of the Greater Accra Region.
Mr. Weij noted that education is the bedrock for a sustainable future, and that Cargill’s resolve to investing in educational infrastructure in the country as part of its CSR confirms the values that Cargill stands for.
“Education is the foundation on which the future is being built. The future of the child, the family, and the community is really the enabler of sustainable economic empowerment and resilience. This project also exemplifies very concretely what Cargill is standing for; doing the right thing, putting people first, and reaching higher”.
The Deputy Minister of Education, Rev. John Ntim Fordjour, while expressing the Ministry’s appreciation for the intervention by Cargill Ghana Limited announced that having addressed the issue of access through the Free SHS policy, some 2,007 infrastructure projects are being undertaken by the government to further create a conducive learning environment for students.
“Having addressed the challenge of access, the next challenge to address which is also very key to improve education outcomes is a conducive environment for learning for our children. To address the education infrastructure deficit, a total of 2,007 various infrastructure projects were invested into by the government; 60% of which have been completed and the rest 40% is expected to be completed soon.”
Speaking at the event, the MP for Tema West Constituency, Carlos Kingsley Ahenkora, expressed his appreciation to the management of Cargill for the gesture.
He however bemoaned the slow pace of development of the Adjei-Kojo Sraha communities within the Tema West Municipality.
A visit to the only public school by Citi News revealed overcrowding in many of the classrooms as pupils were seen seated in threes per a mono desk. According to Citi News sources, class population averages between 100 and 120.
Speaking to Citi News, the Assembly Member of Adjei-Kojo Electoral Area; Charity Siame, together with other residents expressed their excitement about the Cargill classroom block project, but appealed to other benevolent organizations to come to their aid with more infrastructure.
“Most classrooms are overcrowded with about 120 pupils in one class; so this Cargill classroom project is really coming to ease the congestion in our only school. We are appealing to other benevolent institutions to come to our aid.”