The gift that keeps on giving
Announcing the 2016 DUCA Innovation Fund contest winner
By Mark Lukowski
CEO and child sponsor
A year ago, as I passed through village after village on a three-hour drive to Kpahikpaba, Ghana, I thought about Christian Children’s Fund of Canada’s (CCFC) impact. It can be difficult to understand how small investments address the obstacles communities in countries such as Ghana overcome to meet basic needs. But my eyes were opened when I arrived in that small, dusty village.
Through CCFC’s 2014 edition of its Innovation Fund contest, online voters selected Northern Ghana to receive funding from DUCA Financial Services Credit Union (DUCA) to “Build a solar-powered village (read more about this on p. 10 of our donor publication ChildVoice).” This innovative (and ambitious) project provided solar power to an off-the-grid community.
After visiting Kpahikpaba, I could see how the $25,000 donation transformed a community with no power, no access to clean water and no ability to generate income. Now, more than 100 households have solar power, providing light for children to study and parents to complete chores in the evenings after focusing on income-generating activities during the day. The village also has a new solar-powered pump to collect water from a well. Several taps have been installed in the centre of the village, eliminating the need for women and children to walk nearly eight kilometres each morning to fetch water.
The Innovation Fund contest is a unique way for the public to participate in the process of selecting a project for donor funding. This is the third year (2016) CCFC has received a $25,000 donation from DUCA for the Innovation Fund, and we are looking forward to seeing the impact that will be made from this year’s winning project.
After one month of online voting, I am pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 Innovation Fund contest is Paraguay. Soon, this country’s program communities will reap the benefits of a project that encourages families to establish regular reading times.
As I learned on my trip to Northern Ghana, innovation can be found in the most unexpected places. Through this winning project, I’m confident we’ll learn even more about how communities can create innovative and sustainable solutions to help children reach their full potential.
Making an impact: (above) Mark Lukowski visits the site of a solar-powered pump in Kpahikpaba, Ghana