A non-governmental organisation (NGO) operating in the cocoa sector, International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), has commissioned an ultra-modern three-unit school block for the pupils of Afresene Camp D/A Primary in the Ahafo Ano South-West District of the Ashanti Region.

The school project, which cost ICI an amount of Ghc192, 000, comprises three classrooms, an office, storeroom, four-seater toilet and two washrooms.

The school project, the first of its kind in Afresene Camp, a cocoa growing community and its adjourning villages is currently serving a student population of 63.

Until 2015, when ICI went into Afreseni Camp, the community had no school and children had to walk to the next community, Mankraso, which was about six kilomeeres away.

The distance prevents children below the age of 10 in the community to trek 12 kilometers daily from accessing formal education early.

As part of ICI’s interventions towards the promotion of child-centred community development, management of the organisation encouraged the leaders of the community to consider starting a school.

Through the help of the Community Child Protection Committee (CCPC), set up by ICI and the leaders of the community, a school for the community was established and a teacher was hired by the leadership of the community to run it. Due to the rapid growth in enrollment in the school, the Ghana Education Service (GES), in 2016, absolved it.

Addressing the gathering at a short but impressive commissioning ceremony last week, the National Coordinator of ICI, Mr Mike Arthur, revealed that his outfit was encouraged to put up the school block by the commitment from the leadership of Afreseni Camp.

He noted that with the permission of the district authorities and leaders of the community, the block has been named after the late treasurer of ICI Mr Robert Zehnder, whose effort and determination gave birth to the construction of the block.

Mr Arthur further explained that the establishment of the Robert Zehnder Learning Centre was a fulfillment of a request by the Afresene Camp community after his outfit developed an Action Plan with the community to guide their development as part of the three year child protection project being carried out there.

According to him, the provision of educational facilities in cocoa growing areas was part of ICI’s commitment to protecting one million children within cocoa growing communities in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire against child labour by 2020.

He added that the school facility will promote education in the community as children who will aaccompanied their parents to the cocoa farms will now be enrolled in school.

He therefore, called on parents to prioritise the education of their wards which he said is the only tool to eradicate poverty.

Meanwhile the Cocoa Plan Manager at Nestle Ghana, Mr Fred Kukubour, said his outfit will continue to partner the ICI to develop cocoa growing communities in the country.

He disclosed that Nestle will carry out an assessment in the Afresene Camp Community and provide it with a borehole under its Water and Sanitation Project if necessary.

For his part, the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Ahafo Ano South-West District, Mr Patrick Adusei, commended ICI and its partners for constructing the facility in the area.

The Ahafo Ano South-West DCE however, advised members of the community not to use the facility for religious activities and other social gatherings since such activities had negative impact on the facilities.

Story By: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

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