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Published: July 10th 2012
I have been in Klikor, Ghana for one week now. I must say from day 1 I have been made to feel very welcome by all the staff at the children’s home and the school where I will be working, at the Guest House where I am lodging and by the children and community themselves. Klikor is a rural area where most of the population are farmers. The roads are dirt roads and can become quite difficult to manage during the rainy season as it is now – especially when you’re donning flip flops when wellies might be more useful! Still, the weather is quite bearable as there is cloud cover and a gentle breeze. When it rains, it hammers it down, drumming down on the tin roofs and churning up the mud on the roads.
I am lodging at the Nasi Guest House which is 2 minutes walk from the school and children’s home. It is a pleasant lodge and I am fortunate to have an en-suite bathroom. Francesca and Atu run the Guest House and are great hosts – Francesca has acted as my guide, taking me to the market and to a neighbouring town to find a bank during this week. I will admit I have wimped out by staying at the guest house as it is a little more cosy than a more authentic experience of rural accommodation (e.g. outdoor bucket shower), but hey if I’m spending my annual leave doing accountancy work, I figure I deserve a break somewhere.
In this first week, I have been getting to know David, the founder of the Friend’s Foundation under which there is a children’s home, a primary school, a senior school, farm and now a mango tree project. I will be looking at the financial management capacity across all these areas in my month here. I have also been getting to know Davidson who grew up in the children’s home and now works at the senior school teaching ICT but is also heavily involved in the management of the whole organisaton – a real multi-tasker. There is also Princess who is the financial administrator at the primary school.
Wednesday was my first official day of work. David, Davidson, Princess and I had a meeting to discuss the scope of the work so we could set some objectives. Over the following two days, I conducted an organisational review to assess the level of their financial management capacity currently and to identify areas of risk. What became clear is that though there are literally pages and pages of records of financial transactions, as everything is done manually, there is little in the way of analysis, planning and accounting for decision making. Rather, there is a lot of fire fighting. Also, they are chronically understaffed, as indicated by Davidson’s multi-role, and David himself would like to take more of a back seat as he wishes to retire soon. So there are a multitude of jobs to get on with and it is clear the next 3 weeks will need to be intense and productive so we can at least get started in tackling some of the issues. The great thing is everyone is committed and wanting to get the organisation on track with its financial management. Next Monday will be the first day of action and we begin with Operation Bank Reconciliation.
As for now, I am just about to go to sleep so I can wake up early for a trip to Lake Volta this weekend with my new companions – 5 young teaching volunteers from France: Judith, Alice, Fabien, Renaud and Emily.
‘Til the next time…
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