Ghana’s leading banana producer and exporter, the Golden Exotics Limited (GEL) has handed over a six-unit classroom block and a 12-unit bungalow to teachers and nurses at Dorfor, Lubuse and Adakorpe communities in the Shai Osudoku District.
The classroom block building for the Roman Catholic (RC) Basic School at Lubuse cost GH¢1.8 million, while a six-bedroom teachers and nurses bungalow building at Dorfor is valued at GH¢1.6 million with the six-unit residential accommodation for teachers and nurses at Adakorpe also worth GH¢1.6 million.
The handing over ceremony was part of activities to mark the 20th anniversary of the GEL which is owned by Compagnie Fruitiere and also to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the GEL’s certification as a Fairtrade company.
Funds for the construction of the facilities were sourced from $1 premium money on the sale of each box of Fairtrade-certified banana by European consumers.
Before the construction of the projects, a crack in an old school block had led to children of various grades sharing congested classrooms which affected teaching and learning, while the lack of residential accommodation for teachers and nurses made it difficult for them to accept posting to the district.
Before joining other dignitaries to cut a tape and hand over the projects,the General Manager of the GEL, Benedict Rich, said fairtrade premium receipts from customers of the company in Europe amounted to about €1 million annually.
He said the GEL was committed to supporting the communities in which it operated to make life comfortable.
The vision of the GEL, he said, was “not only to excel in its field as banana growers and exporters but also make a positive impact on the lives of individuals and communities around it.”
The focus of the company's corporate social responsibility projects, which are decided by the workers of the GEL, is on education, health care, water and sanitation.
In line with these, he said the company had provided classroom blocks including a 14-unit classroom with offices and staff common rooms for the Roman Catholic and district assembly schools, with teachers' bungalows; renovated and constructed healthcare centres such as the maternal health department of the Osudoku Health Centre and the Kasunya CHPS Compound.
The company also built bungalows for health workers and teachers and provided a water treatment plant which supplies water directly to the CHIPS Compound among other facilities.
Some ongoing projects comprise a vocational training centre with workshops, classrooms and officers at Osuwen scheduled to be handed over before the end of the year and, the construction of a science laboratory for the Osu Doku Senior High Technical School.
He said a health screening programme for the communities this year attracted over 3500 persons with most of them renewing their NHIS cards for free.
During the recent spillage of the Akosombo and Kpong dams, the GEL donated medical items to support the Osuduku Health Centre to take care of persons affected by the floods.
The District Chief Executive of Shai Osudoku, Fred Offei, said the three facilities would improve teaching and learning and also reduce the burden and frustration of lack of accommodation for nurses and teachers posted to the area.
After calling for more projects from the GEL, he urged the managers of the school and occupants of the facilities to embrace maintenance culture for the longevity of the facilities.
The Osudoku Mankralo, Nene Tetteh Otibo IV, who spoke on behalf of the Paramount Chief of the Osudoku Traditional Area, Nene Kwesi Animle VI paramount chief, commended the GEL for supporting the communities and improving the lives of the people.
He urged other organisations and businesses to emulate the GEL’s CSR initiative and support communities where their businesses were based.