by Gertrude Bibi Annoh Quarshie
“Giving”- in its purest form includes using our hearts, our minds, our talents and other resources in ways that enrich the lives of all people whether poor or rich. It is simply being conscious about the problems around us and taking purposeful action to solve those problems. “Giving” is a dignified selfless act of passion and compassion!
As a staff the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), I am very passionate about what we are doing to transform the lives of African women. More often than not, people are interested in how they can also support activities or initiatives that promote or uphold women’s rights. The workplace-giving programme is one of the channels that any group of people can use to raise funds internally. In fundraising, individual efforts are important but the synergy from a group is usually worth the investment and that is why I love the principle of workplace giving.
Workplace giving is an initiative in which employees raise money internally by donating a certain amount from their monthly salaries, deductible at source. The contributors then decide on which project(s) to support with the fund.
The AWDF workplace giving programme was inspired by a donation received from the Hewlett Foundation’s staff workplace giving programme 12 years ago. Since then, the fund has grown in size and in reach, supporting various initiatives that have put smiles on many faces. The Fund is managed solely by staff, with a three-member executive committee. Interested staff members complete a form instructing that a certain amount of money be deducted from their salary each month. All the contributions go into a fund administered by the committee.
Some of the initiatives the fund has supported include the provision of a water tank at the maternal and child centre at the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital Ghana, provision of various sewing equipment to the Nsawam Female prisons and a donation to Operation SMILE. We recently supported the establishment of an innovation lab for students of the Africa Science Academy as well as the provision of equipment for PAYPD Kayayie centre for porter girls.
Having been associated with the workplace-giving programme over the past decade, I have become a stronger advocate of the phrase “don’t just complain about the state of affairs, take action”. GIVING is one way of taking action.
We are all capable of giving. If we can create a movement of individuals committed to donating a percentage of their resources to champion women’s social, economic and health rights, we will be helping to solve many problems. For more information on starting your own giving circles contact [email protected].