The Russia Worship Centre assembly, Dansoman Area of the Church of Pentecost in Accra, has launched an empowerment fund, to address issues of unemployment and the lack of proper education among the church’s youth.
The two main objectives of the fund are to support the education of brilliant but needy students as well as the acquisition of employable skills by needy persons in the church.
In an overview of the fund during its launch in Accra April 22, 2012, the youth leader of the church, Elder Attah Arhin, said it is targeted at brilliant but needy students in primary schools, Junior High schools, Senior High schools and tertiary institutions as well as employable skills trainees, youth in viable trades and youth in apprenticeship.
He explained that the decision to set up the fund, was informed by the fact that although over 60% of the church’s 1,000 member congregation are youth below 40 years of age, while young people who are students and in apprenticeship constitute about 40%, most parents within the church situated in a low income community – New Russia, often have many children to cater for, that sometimes their income levels do not allow them to adequately support the education and training of their wards.
Emphasising that higher education and skills acquisition are some of the most effective ways of raising family incomes and reducing poverty towards improving living standards, he said, “The establishment of this fund is biblical as the bible encourages Christians to support the poor, needy and disadvantaged in society by assisting them to meet their most basic needs. The fund represents the church’s corporate social and divine responsibility to contribute to the growth and development of members and the larger society.”
Touching on sources of funding for the initiative, Mr. Arhin listed fundraising from corporate organisations, church fundraising and special events fundraising among others.
He stated that to ensure the effective management and sustainability of the fund, a five-member management board of trustees comprising a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and a Trustee had been established.
A dedicated bank account with the District Pastor as the Principal Signatory, District Youth Leader as Supporting Signatory and Trustee as Supporting Signatory will also be opened and the account made known to members of the church and all others who wish to make periodic contributions into the fund.
The board of trustees made up of Elder Alexander Taah – Chairman, Elder Attah Arhin – Secretary, Mr. Enoch Aidoo – Financial Secretary, Mr. Kwabena Marfo – 1st Trustee and Deaconess Sarah Anyimadu, was later commissioned and charged with overseeing the day-to-day management of the fund.
According to Mr. Attah Arhin “In exercising their mandate, the trustees perform a policy making, implementation, monitoring and evaluation role. The most basic responsibility of the board of trustees is to preserve the Empowerment Fund in perpetuity. This means that the Board must ensure that future beneficiaries will be able to obtain the same or better levels of benefit from the fund as current beneficiaries do.”
Disbursement of the fund, the first of its kind in the Church of Pentecost, will mostly be administered on the demand responsive approach, while support from it will also be based on need but may include other criteria as may be determined by the fund’s board of trustees.
To access it, beneficiaries will be required to first make a formal written request for support to the trustees, although in special cases the trustees may use their discretion to provide general support in areas of education and skills training as and when necessary.
However, a three-month waiting period will be allowed to elapse before the commencement of disbursement, to ensure the sustainability of the fund.
Launching the fund, pastor of the church, Rev. K. O. Appianing prayed that much money will be committed to the fund to help train the youth in many vocations and in their education, so that in future the church can boast of knowledgeable and influential people in the Ghanaian society.
Various amounts of money ranging from GH¢200 to GH¢1,000 were contributed and pledged by congregants towards establishment of the fund.
By Edmund Smith-Asante