Ground breaking on new medical clinic in recent HOCAP report
Westminster has enjoyed a decade long partnership with the Home of Care and Protection (HOCAP), a Christian non-governmental organization founded in 2009 in Tema, Ghana. HOCAP’s dynamic Executive Director Barbara Asempa continues to expand their mission to support underprivileged children and families in rural areas in Ghana. HOCAP seeks to provide an enabling environment for development through the provision of education, health care, advocacy, and agricultural enterprise. Barbara is also a Catechist at the Redemption Presbyterian Church in Tema, another Ghana partner and she has participated in Ghana partner visits to Westminster as well as hosted team members who visited Ghana. Barbara also participated remotely in Westminster’s Zoom services during the pandemic, sharing her vision for rural community development.
Focus on rural Ghana communities
Barbara recently reported to Westminster and other partners on a number of exciting initiatives that are focused around the under-resourced rural Ghana community of Nyitawuta. The work in Nyitawuta follows the pattern HOCAP has developed of entering poor rural communities that lack health and education facilities, electricity, or stable water and organizing with the community to provide infrastructure that will lift them from poverty and lead to government support. New and continuing initiatives fall under broad headings of Education, Health, and Agriculture. Westminster has targeted its funding in the past year mainly on HOCAP’s health and agricultural initiatives.
Under the broad heading of education, HOCAP has recently created a recreation park which provides a venue for a variety of community activities including education and training. Youth were involved in the building of the recreational park. Solar lights installed at the park provide evening lighting in a community with no electricity so students can study. HOCAP has engaged two teachers who teach the final year students every evening at the park. Even some children from the neighboring communities come over to use the facility for learning. Textbooks have also been presented to students to assist in exam preparation. Women of the community are also offered vocational training to learn skills to start small enterprises to support their families. For example, a trainer was sent to the community to train the women’s group in soap making and different forms of beading to sell for profit in local markets.
Under their Health focus, HOCAP has continued to address menstrual hygiene education for teenage girls as an outgrowth of partnership with Westminster and the MoonCatcher Project. The program also empowers teens to make informed decisions about personal relationships and addresses teen pregnancy. Nyitawuta does not have a health clinic and women have delivered their babies with assistance from a traditional birth attendant without specific training or tools to help. A professional midwife was enlisted to train the birth attendant and equip them with various medical tools to assist during deliveries. HOCAP outreach has identified instances where surgery and help with arranging hospitalization has been necessary – especially a challenge during times of COVID.
Most importantly, ground has been broken and the first phase of construction has started on a health clinic for the Nyitawuta community. The building contractor worked closely with the community who supported the project with communal labor. Fundraising to complete the clinic is ongoing. Westminster has conducted fundraising specifically for this clinic which is dedicated to Mama Alice, a dedicated nurse and church leader who died this year. The photo depicts the groundbreaking of this clinic in May 2021.
The final focus for HOCAP activity is Agriculture. HOCAP has worked on water provision in the Nyitawuta area and constructed a dam to provide year round irrigation. The Nyitawuta community as well as neighboring communities are making use of the newly constructed dam. The good news is that the dam is one year old and there has been water in the dam all year round! Westminster has provided specific grants for agricultural activities which involve local labor and also training in crop diversification and other agricultural training and improvements. HOCAP provided seeds and other farming inputs to the community
Thanks to Westminster supporters
On behalf of deprived communities served by these diverse and much needed programs, Barbara wants to say a big thank you and sends God’s blessing to HOCAP’s partners including Westminster.
By Carolyn Smith on behalf of the African Mission Committee, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Albany, NY in collaboration with Barbara Asempa, Executive Director of HOCAP
Carolyn Smith is a retired Professor of Social Welfare at the University at Albany. She has been a Member of Westminster since 1982 and during this time has served terms as Elder and Deacon and has most recently been a member of Westminster Choir. She served a long term as the Co-Chair of the African Mission Committee where she is still an active participant.