Ghana is a country on the West Coast of Africa and was the first one in Sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence. It shares boundaries with Togo to the east, Ivory Coast to the west, Burkina Faso to the north and the Gulf of Guinea, to the south.
The “Warrior King” is the meaning of Ghana. The name was derived from the ancient Ghana Empire. During British colony the country was called “Gold Coast” and in 1957 A.D, Togoland trust territory was merged with the Gold Coast and named Ghana. The country practices constitutional democracy and it is located on the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean with a total land area of 239,460 square km. She lies within latitude 4o 44’ N and 11o11’ N and 3o 11’ W and 1o11.’
- Population (UNDP 2014 est.): 26.652 million.
- Life expectancy: increased to 61.10 years. In the year 2013, the life expectancy for women was 62.08 years and for men 60.16 years.
- Unemployment rate (CIA World Factbook 2013 est.): 5,2%.
- GDP - Real growth rate (CIA World Factbook 2014 est.): 4,2%.
- Inflation (CIA World Factbook 2014 est.): 17%.
- Human Development Index (UNDP 2013 est.): 0,6 ranking 138th.
- Poverty: The level of world economic crises is a great factor with poverty. An average of 28.5% Ghanaians lives in poverty. Ghana’s real GDP per capita growth is 6%. The frequent increase in the prices of items and commodities makes people with fixed incomes unable to face the economy. In Ghana, the increase in the price of crude oil brings down the value of the incomes of the people, while transportation fares, food, utility bills and even health and educational bills increase. If only people's wages and salaries would be increased when prices of crude oil increases, it would mitigate the effects of the hardships associated with such situations.
- Economy/GDP: Ghana’s Economy has grown into a Lower Middle Income earning Country. Ghana’s economic freedom score is 63.0, making its economy the 71st freest in the 2015 Index. Its overall score is 1.2 points lower than the year 2014, with improvements in freedom from corruption and monetary freedom outweighed by declines in the management of government spending, investment freedom, and labor freedom. Ghana is ranked 5th out of 46 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and its overall score remains above the world average. Ghana’s economy has maintained commendable growth trajectory with an average annual growth of about 6.0% over the past six years. In 2013 growth decelerated to 4.4%, considerably lower than the growth of 7.9% achieved in 2012.
- Economic Activities: Agriculture, industry, tourism and service.
- Agriculture: As the foundation of Ghana’s economy, agriculture employs more than half of the population and is a key focus for the country’s inclusive economic development agenda. Ghana has about 136,000 km2 of land, covering approximately 57 percent of the country’s total land area of 238,539 km2 is classified as "agricultural land area" out of which 58,000 km2 (24.4 percent) is under cultivation and 11,000 hectares under irrigation. About 60 percent of all farms in the country are less than 1.2 hectares, 25 percent are between 1.2 to 2.0 hectares with a mere 15 percent above 2.0 hectares, and the mean farm size is less than 1.6 hectares. Small and medium size farms of up to 10.0 hectares account for 95 percent of the cultivated land (SRID, 2001).
- Education and Literacy rate: People who can, with understanding, read and write a short, simple statement on their everyday life constitute the literacy group in Ghana. UNESCO Statistics show the literacy rate in Ghana to be 67.2% of adults and 80.8% of youth (ages 15-24) as of 2010. The increase in youth literacy over the adult population reflects the positive education trends and the dramatic increase in student enrollment from 2002 to 2010.
- Health: The National Health Policy has been designed within the context of Ghana’s vision of achieving middle income status with a minimum of 1000 USD per capita by 2015 AD because it places health at the Centre of socio-economic development. Ghana experienced tremendous gains in health from the immediate post-independence era. Life expectancy improved over the years; smallpox has been eradicated; the prevention of a range of communicable diseases such as measles, poliomyelitis, and diphtheria has improved child survival and development.
- Institutions: Ghana is a politically stable country and now practices a multi – party democracy after several coups in the past. In 1992, Ghana held a referendum and voted for constitutional rule under the presidency of H.E Flt. Jerry John Rawlings and came into being the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and the fourth Republic. There are three arms of Government in this Republic. These are: Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary. The dominant political parties in Ghana are the National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Convention Peoples Party (CPP). H.E Ex-president Flt. Jerry John Rawlings was the first democratically elected president of the fourth Republic. He was succeeded by H.E Ex-president John Agyekum Kuffour who also spent two tenures of four years each from 2000 to 2008. H.E the late John Evans Atta Mills became his successor and demised after three years in office in the year 2012. H.E John Dramani Mahama is the successor of H.E the late John Evans Atta Mills in the 2012 election.
- Children: Children are a potential human resource and therefore if any nation is to have continuity and progress, there is the need to preserve the future generation – children. Yet, most Ghanaian children are denied basic rights like food, shelter, education, health leisure and at times life. In the urban areas, children from low income households contribute to family income through a wide range of commercial activities such as Hawking, head porterage, “shoe-shining”, petty trading etc.
UNICEF led a transformational programme shift toward a Child Protection systems strengthening approach with the first step being the development of policies on Child and Family Welfare and Juvenile Justice. Commitments toward “Scaling up Nutrition” and “A Promise Renewed” were manifested in the finalization of the draft National Nutrition Policy and the National Newborn Strategic Plan for 2014-2018. Gender based advocacy culminated in the development of gender mainstreaming guidelines for the WASH sector, providing the basis for gender sensitive sector policies and strategies. Rollout of Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans (EPRP) at national and regional levels better positioned Ghana to plan for and respond to WASH challenges during emergencies. Ghana is among the countries with the highest rates of violence against children in the world, with close to 90 per cent of children having experienced some form of physical or verbal violence (MICS 2011).
- Water and Environment: Rapid growth in settlements, growing sophisticated demands by water consumers, increasing environmental degradation, poor water resource management behavior, falling sources of funding and investment are challenges associated with the environment in Ghana. Water sources available for use by Ghanaians are the sea, rivers, wells, dams, springs and streams depending on proximity. About 80% of Ghanaians have access to safe water; especially, those in the urban areas. Many of the people in the rural areas mainly rely on rivers and streams for consumption needs. The key problems facing the environment in Ghana are loss of biodiversity through the wood carving industry, illegal logging, destruction of natural habitats, poaching, and forest governance.
- Religion: There are three main religions in Ghana reaching out for converts. These are the Traditional religion, Christianity and Islam. Traditional religions accounts for 5.2% of the population. The Christian population also accounts for 71.2% of the total population and includes Roman Catholics, Baptist, Protestants, etc. The Muslim population (17.6 percent of the total) is located chiefly in the northern part of the country.
Child Protection Centres
The phenomenon of street children and children exposed to risk is a growing concern in many developing countries, particulary in Africa where children fend for themselves on the streets. Hence the initiative and the establisment of the following Don Bosco Child's Protection Centre's to restore hope to children and young people who are abandoned, marginalized, poor and homeless.
- Social recreation.
- Teaching of alphabetization and numbers.
- Scholarship for formal and informal education.
- Health Centre's and Oratory.
- Reunification with families.
- Aid assistance.
- Advocacy for human right.
- Legal assistance to abused children.
- Skill training.
- Finding foster parents.
- Vulnerable children and youth.
- Abandoned/street children.
- Non schooling children living with guidance/care-takers with low or no regular financial income.
- Wheelbarrow and truck pushers.
- School drop-outs.