World Vision Holds Conference in Africa

World Vision officials from Ghana, Zambia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Chad started a three-day international conference in Ghana’s capital city of Accra yesterday on to deliberate on activities of the organization, a local news agency reported Thursday.

The focus on the conference, the first of its kind, will be on the Gifts-in-Kind (GIK) program – a means of using material resources to complement development resources in the fields of operation under the projects of World Vision. According to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), which reported on the gathering, the conference would afford participants the opportunity to know themselves as GIK Partners in Africa and to network – sharing effective practices and brainstorming new ideas.

Another important part of the Conference would be World Vision’s meeting with two of its major donors – World Concern and Medical Assistance Program (MAP), GNA reports. At the gathering, World Vision plans to discuss ways to forward for their partnership with the two U.S.-based organizations.

At yesterday’s meeting National Director of World Vision-Ghana Sam Asare said the GIK Project played a critical role in the work of the organization and that out of the annual $20 million budget of the Ghana Office, the GIK budget accounted to eight million dollars.

According to GNA, Asare said various items including the shipment of de-wormers, textbooks, shoes, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and hygiene equipment were some of the products that were distributed under the GIK Program at the community, national and international levels. The director described the GIK Program as that which gave the national or receiving offices the opportunity to dialogue with donor partners to select items that were relevant to their development and relief programs.

Asare, therefore, appealed to the international donors to maintain that approach of dialoguing to enable World Vision to meet the needs of its beneficiaries.

Herbet Brako, Associate Director of GIK in Ghana, said World Vision received 36 shipments valued at $14.5 million (USD) of various items last year under the program including shoes and hygiene products that were distributed to the Ghana Armed Forces to assist in their operations in peacekeeping.

In addition, he said the University of Ghana and other basic and senior secondary schools had also received various assistance and textbooks under the Program.

"This year another container of mixed shipment will be given to the Ghana Armed Forces to assist in their operation in Liberia," Brako reported, according to GNA.

The associate director said since 1979 when World Vision was established in Ghana, most of the regional hospitals in the Upper West, Upper East, Northern, Ashanti and Greater Accra Regions had benefited immensely from the GIK Program.