Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Building Fund Awarded Google Grant

The Building Fund announced today that it has been awarded a Google Grant providing Google AdWords services for the non-profit. The Google Grants program supports organizations sharing Google's philosophy of community service to help the world in areas such as science and technology, education, global public health, the environment, youth advocacy, and the arts.

Designed for 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, Google Grants is a unique in-kind advertising program harnessing the power of Google AdWords advertising product. Google Grants has awarded AdWords advertising to hundreds of non-profit groups whose missions range from animal welfare to literacy, from supporting homeless children to promoting HIV education. Support from Google will allow The Building Fund to reach a greater number of people interested in supporting access to education and increase traffic to The Building Fund website.

For the full press release click here. Link

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thank You AFH

First and foremost, thank you to all of the architects from the Chicago Chapter of Architecture for Humanity who came out and contributed to the plans for the Young Apostles International School (YAIS) community center!! The meeting was a great success bringing together 22 Chicago architects who lent their time and talent to The Building Fund and the YAIS. The architects spent five hours discussing and planning, coming away with 4 distinctive designs for the community center. The designs, which will be presented to the school this winter, integrate cross-cultural solutions to creating a space where both the students and community members can come together. From water collection systems to multipurpose spaces each plan took into account the need of YAIS, and will bring fresh ideas to our architects in Ghana. Thank you again, to everyone who came out and we look forward to keeping you updated on the progress of the community center.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Providing Opportunities for Ghana's Women

Across the country, Ghana's robust economy has contributed to considerably improving the well-being of its people, with the proportion of Ghanaians living in poverty falling from 52 per cent in 1991-92 to 29 per cent in 2005-06, according to estimates by the Ghana Statistical Service. But Ghana's north has largely been excluded from that broader trend. One hindrance is geography. The three northern regions are far from the ports, roads, railways, markets, industrial centres and fertile farming areas that help stimulate greater economic and human development in southern Ghana. The incidence of poverty in the Northern Region declined only slightly over the same period, from 63 per cent to 52 per cent. Special programmes are needed to overcome the north's heavy concentrations of poverty, poor climate and limited economic opportunities.

One way to tackle these inequities is to get individuals to band together in order to increase their production and marketing capabilities for their local products. For example, the Africa 2000 Network-Ghana has sponsored a project to encourage women to form an association for the creation of shea butter for soap production in Tamale, the capital of Ghana's Northern Region. For these poor women, even modest increases in their incomes can make a big difference. Previously, each had collected and processed shea nuts as an individual, but earned so little she could barely get by. "We found if we came together we could make more and sell more," explains Safiya Hassan, a recent university graduate who is helping the women.

The association now includes 13 groups of shea producers, all women, in Ghana's Northern Region. Together they are able to produce more than 20 tonnes of shea butter per month. Much of this, in the form of high-quality shea soap and creams, is supplied to a Japanese company. As a group, the women are earning an additional profit of 10 Ghana cedis (US$11) for every 100 kilogrammes, compared to what they made as individual producers. That modest extra income has already changed the lives of many of the women. The shea project is still only a few years old, but that has not stopped its members from seeking to help other shea producers in the Northern Region. They have learned improved production techniques from women elsewhere, and are in turn planning to teach selected "master trainers" from all three of Ghana's northern regions. Making such wider connections "has been one of our greatest achievements," says Ms. Yakubu.
For more visit: www.modernghana.com

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Help TBF Win $10,000

As The Building Fund embarks on an exciting project to build a community center at The Young Apostles International School we need your help to make it happen. This month we have a chance to win $10,000 to make this project happen.

Visit Ideablob and vote for The Building Fund's "idea" to Help Build a Community Center in Ghana. We will need over 500 votes to make this happen, so every vote will count!!

About the Community Center: The center will serve 11 thousand people housing a health clinic, library, computer lab, and space for community events. It will be the first and only community center in the area and provide much needed health and education services. $10,000 will ensure the success of this project by paying for the materials needed to construct the library and health center. The funds will go directly to the school so that they can use local resources to build the community center, and further help their community. For more visit: http://www.thebuildingfund.org/

Friday, October 17, 2008

Global Leaders Pledge $4.5B to Send Kids to School

A coalition of governments, charities and U.N. agencies pledged $4.5 billion on Thursday in an effort to get all the world's children in school by 2015. The goal of universal primary education was first promised as a fundamental right in 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, one of the U.N.'s core documents.

Since 2000, the campaign has brought 40 million more children into schools, Brown said. Zoellick cited Cambodia, which raised its rate of enrollment in primary schools from 50 percent to over 80 percent in just five years, as a success story. The pledging conference was one of many international meetings taking place on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

For the full story please click here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Meet Our Fall Interns

The Building Fund is excited to introduce our fall interns Shaunna MacLeod and Christine Buckley. This fall our interns will be working to build our network and find funding opportunities for the community center being built at The Young Apostles International School. We look forward to having them join our team!

Shaunna MacLeod
Shaunna MacLeod is excited to join the Building Fund as a Development Intern. Shaunna graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in psychology in 2002. She moved to Chicago to take a research position with the University of Illinois at Chicago where she earned her MEd., and worked on projects focused on strengthening the literacy skills of urban children. From these experiences she understands that knowledge and access to education give children a powerful voice, and wishes to help more children find their voice by volunteering with the Building Fund.

Christine Buckley
Christine Buckley has long been interested in international development issues. After graduating Vassar College, she worked at Doctors of the World in New York City before joining the Peace Corps and serving in Morocco from 2001-2003. She is currently studying for a Master's Degree in Public Policy at Northwestern University.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Killing the Worm

This month's issue of Good Magazine featured an article called Killing the Worm, by Austin Merrill, exposing the difficulty of eradicating Guinea worm disease in Ghana. Cases of Guinea worm disease have dropped dramatically in the last 20 years, but the painful disease that often affects children, is still persistent in northern Ghana.

Most often children contract Guinea work from swimming in or drinking water infested with water fleas that feed on Guinea larvae. One ingested the larvae penetrate the wall of the lower intestine and develop into worms. As they grow they tunnel through the body and eventually break through the skin of the victim. The article features first hand accounts of this painful process and notes the historical presence of this disease, tracing it back to Egyptian mummies.

In recent years international and multi-organizational efforts have been tasked with eradicating Guinea worm, but have faced the obstacles of local customs, community needs, and dissent among public health practices. If eradicated, Guinea worm disease will be only the second disease to be eradicated, small pox was the first.
For more on this article visit: http://www.goodmagazine.com/

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Website Features

Have you visited our website lately? We've added new features to bring you the latest news about The Building Fund. Check out our new pages featuring information on visiting our schools, video of our students, pictures from our schools and events, and audio clips from interviews with our founder and students. We hope that you enjoy the new features!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Join ONE, support the Education for All Act!!

ONE is an innovative campaign bringing together over 2.4 million people to raise awareness about the issues of global poverty, hunger, disease and other issues facing the world’s poorest countries. With the support of America's most well-known and respected non-profit, advocacy and humanitarian organizations the ONE campaign is asking that the U.S. allocate a greater percentage of its budget to providing basic needs like health, education, clean water and food.

ONE is dedicated to improving education opportunities for the disadvantaged and recognizes that education is a critical piece of the development puzzle and is actively supporting the Education for All Act.
About the Bill:
1. The Education for All (EFA) Act of 2007 would support countries with rigorous and accountable education plans endorsed by the Fast Track Initiative, and would also channel resources to post conflict/fragile countries through non-governmental channels.
2. Authorizes $1.5 billion in FY2009, scaling up by $500 million each year to a total of $3 billion in FY2012.
3. The legislation would create an Education Coordinator to report to the Secretary of State, with the authority to direct resources to various US government agencies for implementation.

You can join ONE and learn more about the Education for All Act by visiting their website http://www.one.org/about/.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Partnership with Architecture for Humanity

TBF is excited to announce a new partnership with Architecture for Humanity! The partnership will provide TBF with the opportunity to collaborate with Chicago area architects to draw plans for a community center housing a library, health center and public meeting space at The Young Apostles International School.

In early November members of the Architecture for Humanity Chicago Chapter will come together to discuss and draw plans for the community center, after which TBF will be provided with a series of options to present to The Young Apostles International School for consideration. Needless to say the students and administrators at The Young Apostles International School are excited about this venture as is TBF. We look forward to updating you on the progress this project!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Building Fund Seeks Fall Interns

Interested in working with The Building Fund? An internship with The Building Fund gives you an opportunity to learn first hand about our work while gaining valuable skills and experience. Click here to see our internship listings or visit idealist.org.

Communications Intern:
The Building Fund seeks a Communications Intern to aide the organization in increasing its media presence. An ideal candidate will have previous experience working with non-profits and an interest in international education. Interns will have the option to work from home and must be willing to committee 10 hours per week. Working closely with the Founder, the Communications Intern will be responsible for:
Researching new media opportunities
Increasing the organizations web presence
Creating newsletters
Other special projects

Development Intern:
The Building Fund seeks a Development Intern to aide the organization in its grant research and writing. An ideal candidate will have previous experience working with non-profits and an interest in international education. Interns will have the option to work from home and must be willing to committee 10 hours per week. Working closely with the Founder, the Development Intern will be responsible for:
• Drafting and writing reports, letters, and grants • Prospect and new donor research
• Assist in planning and organizing fund-raising events
The internship is unpaid, however, after completion of the internship the intern will have gained valuable skills and contacts, as well as a familiarity with the inter workings of a non-profit. We are also willing to write recommendations for our interns for future internships and jobs.

Please email your cover letter, resume, and one writing sample (can be creative, or school paper) to:
Please use subject line: Internship

Welcome to Our Blog

Welcome to The Building Fund blog!
We are excited to bring you the latest news from our projects and schools as well as current information on education in Ghana. We hope that you will visit us often and add your comments and questions.
The Building Fund