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Giving back to our roots

BY: Alice Sena Lamptey

With Ghana at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the 17th time, Ghanaians and the international community are raising questions about why several countries that have adopted Western democracy are failing economically and socially.

To break Ghana’s socioeconomic quagmire cycle, the search for alternative and complementary development models continues, even as experts predict and remind us that going to the IMF is like a bandage on a festering sore.

Rethinking new models for our socioeconomic development reminds me of an often ignored culturally acceptable and potentially viable complementary model of “giving back to our roots”.

In our passion to copy from the Western world, this age-old principle and practice has eluded us, particularly with the onset of foreign religions and the introduction of other concepts and forms of giving.

As a potentially viable model for accelerated socioeconomic development, it is important that we define and clarify the concept of giving back to our roots as investing in, not donating to, and the recommended implementation approach as a cycle of engaging and facilitating identifiable targets (individuals, families, groups or entire communities); identifying specific priority needs; mutually agreeing on solutions and implementation; raising and monitoring diversity of resources and collectively evaluating success and impact.

A recent video online on “Ghana's only billionaire living in a forest" triggers and reaffirms my belief in the need to reignite in Ghanaians the spirit of giving back to our roots.

This must-watch video features Dr Kwabena Adjei, Founder and President of Kasapreko, and can be found online (https://youtu.be/vkTyg8WP56E)
In March 2020, soon after COVID-19 struck, Togbe Komla Kunde V, a prominent Chief from the Alavanyo Traditional Area, called to draw my attention to the deplorable state of the only senior high school in the area.

He requested my assistance to mobilise support for the school’s rehabilitation. I decided to take up the challenge. I reached out first to nucleus and extended family home and abroad, then to friends and acquaintances.

To my surprise, many were those who responded positively with ideas and also gave generously beyond expectation.

Record time

In record time, an institution that ranked bottom on the national education league table is slowly and surely inching upwards in infrastructure.

As we mobilised support for education, other needs were identified and brought to the fore for attention using the same concept of giving back to our roots.

My observation and lessons learned? We all have roots, which are mostly deprived and vulnerable. These vulnerable roots require giving back in support.

That should be the primary target of any giving back effort, and that would also take God's immense grace and mercies.

With the search for new models for accelerated socioeconomic development, l am convinced the time to reverse attitudes and behaviours and give back to our roots is now.

Borrow

Let us borrow from the Jewish concept of Tzedakah, a form of social justice in which donors benefit from giving as much or more than the recipients.

So much more than a financial transaction, Tzedakah builds trusting relationships and includes contributions of time, effort and insight (Jacquelyn DeGroot: Jewish Philanthropy: The Concept of Tzedakah, Learning to Give)

From early childhood, Jewish children learn the responsibility of care for other Jews in need. Though the methods are now more complex, the motivation for Tzedakah endures through the centuries to sustain the Jewish people, to enhance the Jewish life and to strengthen the Jewish community for today and the future.

May the Lord grant us wisdom and grace; God bless our homeland Ghana, and make it greater and stronger

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