CEANA marked its 13th Anniversary with fanfare

The Council of Ewe Associations of North America (CEANA) marked its 13th Anniversary with fanfare and a medley of cultural activities at the Sheraton Meadowlands hotel and conference center in New Jersey from Sept. 1st to Sept. 3rd, 2006. The theme for this year’s convention was “Educational Development in Eweland: Focusing on Infrastructural Development.”

Togbui Setranah, President of the United Volta Association of New York, and the host warmly welcomed delegates to the convention, which started on Friday, September 1st 2006. He urged the delegates to find solutions to the problems of growth and development in Eweland. Togbui Setranah also called on all Ewes in the Diaspora to contribute towards renovating and refurbishing dilapidated schools in Eweland

Mr. William Adzimahe, the outgoing President of CEANA, started deliberations by thanking United Volta Association for hosting the convention and expressed gratitude to our special guests of honor, the keynote speaker, Dr. George Afeti, Principal of Ho Polytechnic, Mr. Blaise Akpakli, the equipment manager in charge of the CEANA equipment project and the four honorable members of parliament, Joe Gidisu, Albert Zigah, James Avedzi and Ernest Yaka.

In his report to the delegates on the 2005 – 2006 financial year, Mr. Adzimahe enumerated the following accomplishments:

A $1000.00 dollar donation to the Department of Linguistics, University of Ghana, towards the Ewe Dictionary project. CEANA awarded five scholarships to deserving JSS students to enable them proceed to Senior Secondary Schools in the Volta Region. CEANA wrote a concern letter to President J.A. Kufour of Ghana (copy to the Volta Regional Minister) about the Afram Plains disaster. CEANA’s website has been redesigned with a new URL www.ceanaonline.org. The internal audit committee audited the CEANA accounts as mandated by COR at the previous convention.

Dr. Anukware Ketosugbo in his brief remarks touched on some of the key indicators to a successful educational program in Eweland. He stated that primary school education is critical to the success of our children and their ability to compete in today’s fast world. He challenged CEANA executives to look critically at investing in primary education and also make their presence felt in Eweland by creating model schools with emphasis on academic excellence. Dr. Ketosugbo also recommended to CEANA to form a volunteer group to assist teachers in Eweland. He further suggested that CEANA form a separate not for profit foundation devoted to raising funds for its projects. Also, that the Saturday afternoon sessions should include seminars such as “timely tax preparations”, “preparing your child for college” to help Ewes in America survive and attain some measure of success. Dr. Ketosugbo concluded by urging that the convention be held every two years to allow time to execute more effective and far-reaching programs.

Speaking to the theme of the convention, Dr George Afeti thanked the organizers for the invitation to share his thoughts and experiences on the development of education in Eweland with emphasis on the Volta Region. He highlighted the impact made by the various commissions and review committees set up by successive governments on the educational system in Ghana. According to him, these educational reforms have failed to meet the expectations of access, equity, quality and economic utility required of the education system. In January 2002 an education reform review committee was tasked again to review the entire educational system including the challenges of information and communication technology. The committee completed its work in October 2002 and the Government issued a white paper on the report in October 2004 agreeing to implement the new structure. The implementation of the new structure takes effect in 2007-2008 academic year when the duration of the Senior Secondary School would now be 4 years instead of the current 3-year period.

Dr. Afeti commended CEANA on its current scholarship program and urged CEANA to endeavor to assist in improving the current infrastructure of the schools especially at the pre-tertiary level in order to leave a lasting impact in line with this year’s theme. He suggested the following criteria:

Selection of one school at the basic level (i.e. JSS/Primary)

Selection of one school at the SSS level (including technical institutes)

Selection of schools should be based not only on need but also on the potential for social impact, investment in the community or the possible dividend for cross-border (Ghana/Togo) cooperation and understanding, or in support of national policies that target the education of the female or girl-child.

Selection of beneficiary schools should also take into account the availability of local complementary resources or in-kind contributions and the commitment of the school authorities for an early and satisfactory completion of the infrastructure project.

The selected projects should increase the visibility of CEANA in the Volta Region and Eweland as a whole.

Other dignitaries and speakers in attendance were the Honorable Obeng Gyan Busia, Consul General of the Ghana Mission, Honorable Members of Parliament, Joe Gidisu, Tongu Central, Albert Zigah, Ketu South, James Avedzi, Ketu North, and Ernest Yakah, New Edubiase, Togbui Awusu Agbesi II, the Awadada of the Anlo State, and Mr. Blaise Akpakli, the equipment manager in charge of CEANA equipment project. Mr. Donald Brown a world-renowned sculptor also gave an uplifting presentation on human struggle with Ms. Mary Singletary giving a talk on her organization’s efforts to provide water wells in the Volta Region. The sponsors of the event: North American Airlines, Nationwide, Money Gram and many African-owned businesses were also in attendance.

The highlight of the occasion was a colorful fundraising Dinner Dance on Saturday Sept. 2nd, 2006. New members were also inducted into the various levels of the CEANA Star Club. Representatives from GATTA, Mr. Albert Botchway and Mr. Ken Otchere were on hand to introduce the worldwide raffle drawing in commemoration of Ghana’s Golden Jubilee celebration in 2007. The delegates from Germany won the raffle drawn for a round trip ticket to Ghana. The event attracted about 800 guests, dressed in rich African attire, a cultural extravaganza complete with a procession of chiefs. Togbui Setranah assumed office as the new CEANA President with cultural performances by the Cultural troupe of the United Volta Association. The new president urged CEANA to set up model colts’ teams in the districts to feed the regional and national teams, set up a CEANA Youth Corp and provide funding for specific schools to be turned into magnate schools. Togbui Setranah and his executives, on behalf of their organization donated $1,000 as the initial capital to start the projects.

For the CEANA conventioneers, Sunday, Sept. 3rd, 2006 began very early with an Interdenominational Church Service led by Reverends Amedzekor, Odzafi, Amedeka and Juliana Mensah. In her sermon, Rev. Juliana Mensah challenged all Ewes to give back to their towns and villages, contribute towards the improvement of education and the socio economic well being of the community. She then urged all Ewes to love one another and to involve God in their daily activities in order to achieve success. In the afternoon, the delegates converged at the Lyndhurst Park in New Jersey for a picnic, where traditional Ewe dishes were served amidst merriment, cultural drumming and dancing. The festivities ended at 7:00 p. m. with most delegates returning to the hotel for the traditional “alobalo” and storytelling time. On the following day, all the delegates returned to their various destinations across North America and Europe with a renewed sense of unity, friendship, collaboration and better insight into the obstacles to growth and improving the infrastructure of schools in Eweland.

At the end of the deliberations, Council of Representatives (COR) made the following decisions for the 2006-2007 financial year:

1. To award CEANA Scholarships to (5) five new deserving Senior Secondary School students. The Sophia Glymin Foundation also awarded additional 3scholarships to 3 girls going to Senior Secondary Schools.

2. To hold a CEANA Convention in Ghana in 2007. Dr. Afeti has offered CEANA the use of facilities at the Ho Polytechnic.

3. To assist in improving the infrastructure of some schools in the Volta Region (per list provided by Dr. Afeti). Projects to start as soon as possible and be inaugurated in 2007 during the course of the convention.

4. Donate $1,100 to aid the families of the victims of the Afram Plains boat disaster.

5. To expand the revenue base of CEANA by intensifying solicitations from private businesses and philanthropic organizations.

The new President of CEANA, Togbui Setranah, the Council of Representatives (COR) and the CEANA Secretariat are very grateful to the United Volta Association, especially its task force members for hosting a successful convention. Thanks for a job well done.

The next CEANA Convention will be in Ghana, July/August 2007. We’ll meet you there!

Thank you.

Rose Ivy Quarshie,

The CEANA Secretariat.

NOTE: Proceedings of the CEANA Convention are available on DVD at $25 per set of 5 DVDs. To obtain copies, contact United Volta Association, Inc., at Tel. Number 212-695-8622 or write to the President/Secretary at P.O. Box 1189, Bronx, NY 10451

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