For the first time, Reading Spots brought together 63 delegates from across our 16 projects in Ghana which stretch across 7 regions of the country. Each project brought 2 or more volunteers to collaborate on the key themes of community engagement, ensuring sustainability of the projects, and advancing education initiatives.
We were delighted that Nana Awere Damoah, a celebrated Ghanaian author, was able to join us on this occasion, speaking on the topic of ‘Building Ghana Readers’. He urged us to inspire reading in every child by first understanding their area of interest and building a relationship with the child. Writing after the conference, he said:
I came back from the Reading Spots Conference at Techiman really inspired! This charity which is dedicated to building and running libraries across Ghana, with 18 live projects running, spread from Tema through Tamale to Bolga, brought down 63 young and old volunteers for the conference.
I was touched by stories from Tease where two brothers, artisans, donated their services as carpenter and mason, to build a community library with so little money you would be ashamed to hear. The co-founder, Francis Yeboah, is a driver and he mentioned his salary to me in confidence. Some use that amount for a trip to Accra Mall. He told me, ‘Nana, as little as it is, I take GHS 100 every month to buy books and to support the Reading Spots.’ The charity is supported by funds raised by children in the UK who sell eggs and put their allowances aside to help children they would never see read. I want to support them with my widow’s mite.
Here is a link to his whole speech.
The majority of the day’s sessions were led by volunteers from various communities, embracing our philosophy of genuine community-led development. Adu Carlos Boahen from Akumadan led an inspiring session and workshop on strategies for community engagement, talking through the numerous ways in which his huge volunteer body are engaging Akumadan citizens.
Following a discussion on creating a sustainable model led by Chair Cat Davison, Isaac Abeiku Arthur-Pawa gave an explanation of solar power and addressed many questions from the floor. Talks were also given on ‘Establishing Readers’ Clubs’, ‘The Reading Spots Sanitation Project’, and ‘Inspiring Young Readers’.
At the end of the conference we held a dinner to celebrate our achievements in our first few years as an NGO. We also celebrated the award the project was given by the Times Educational Supplement – ‘The International Award’, sponsored by the British Council, for the best UK international-focused education project, linked to our work at Brighton College. The UK trustees picked up the award in a ceremony in London, but our first thought was to bring the award back to Ghana where so many volunteers are committing themselves to the project on a daily basis.
This conference has undoubtedly brought the Reading Spots volunteer community together, and the response on our volunteer WhatsApp feed in particular suggests that this event has been truly motivating for all those who attended. We are sure that this is just the beginning of this community-led project providing books and advancing educational opportunities in Ghana’s rural areas.
After the dinner we distributed 12 awards in various categories. The winners were:
Reading Spot of the Year: Akumadan
Reading Spots Volunteer of the Year: Francis Yeboah
Reading Spot Librarian of the Year: Adu Carlos (Akumadan)
Reading Spot Newcomer of the Year: Tease
Most Supportive Business: Stumble Inn, Elmina
Reading Spot Youth Volunteer: Stephen Tettegah (Kalpohin, Tamale)
Reading Spot Club of the Year: Abofour
Reading Spot UK Youth Volunteer of the Year: Maddie Pink (Brighton College)
Reading Spot UK Volunteer of the Year: Monika Wolf
Most Supportive Ghanaian School: African Science Academy
Most Supportive UK Senior School: Brighton College
Most Supportive UK Primary School: Brighton College Pre-Prep