We strive to create programs that achieve our four pillars: education, community empowerment, innovation, and effectiveness.
In order to break the cycle of poverty in rural Ghana, it is essential that a high quality education is accessible to every child.
The Reading for All program focuses on improving literacy rates among students in rural Ghanaian schools. By building rural libraries, we seek to address the deficit of reading materials in schools in rural communities by creating community libraries. Likewise, the Reading Project trains teachers, parents, and peer mentors about engaging ways to teach reading to students. This program improves the learning experience with the intent of changing the mindset around reading; students will begin to see reading as something fun rather than a laborious activity.
Similarly, the Yonso Project Scholarship Fund provides the opportunity for students to continue their education even if their family cannot afford it. We believe that every child has the right to an education and we work to make that a reality. Students are also expected to maintain high academic standards during their time on the scholarship, which is usually not difficult for them as scholarship students tend to take their academics very seriously.
Through our microfinance program, we do not simply providing women with microloans, we equip them with business training so they can maximize the potential of the loan they receive. With this training, we have seen women grow their businesses phenomenally.
Community buy-in is critical for any NGO project that wishes to create long-term, sustainable solutions to the problems they seek to solve.
Through our Reading for All program, we have empowered community members to take an active role in the establishment of academic resources in their community. All of the most recent libraries were built only after extensive meetings with community members to evaluate their commitment to the project. The communities had to develop a library board that would be in charge of the library and ensure its upkeep. We then provide the funds and materials necessary for the creation of the libraries, as well as the skills and resources to maintain them after their establishment. Furthermore, with our recent addition of the Reading Project, we hope to involve the whole community in improving the quality of their local education. By training teachers, parents, and students alike in new and engaging teaching methods, we have allowed all interested community members to contribute to the rise in literacy in their communities.
The Scholarship Fund takes a holistic approach to assisting disadvantaged students that empowers the entire community. When deciding which children will receive scholarships, we ensure that they have the support network at home to make the scholarship worthwhile. Parents are encouraged to get involved in their child’s educational pursuits and to assist them in their schoolwork. We also stay in regular contact with students and their families to make certain that they have everything they need to be successful. Additionally, former scholars often choose to give back to their communities in their careers by returning as teachers, church workers, and NGO staff.
Women are the economic foundations of many of the rural communities in Ghana. They use the profits from their market stands to provide for their families. By supplying these women with loan capital through our microfinance program, we help them become more successful and in turn provide their children with a better life. The entire community can prosper if these women are able to grow and effectively manage their small businesses.
The Yonso Project seeks to create new approaches to its work that succeed where traditional methods fail.
The Reading for All program’s two features, the Reading Project and the rural libraries, have created an innovative, two-sided solution to the low rates of literacy in rural Ghana. By instructing teachers on pioneering teaching methods, the Reading Project helps to create demand for reading among school children. Meanwhile, rural libraries are built using a novel system of creating community buy-in through local library boards, which ensures the communities will be able to sustain the libraries long after their completion.
The Scholarship Fund takes an equally innovative approach to providing students access to education. Throughout the three levels of education for which the fund provides scholarships, the Yonso Project’s method of working with the scholars focuses on the holistic development of the child. We not only provides the funds and materials necessary for students to attend school, but also work alongside parents and scholars to ensure the students develop into well-rounded, community-minded individuals.
Unlike many other microfinance programs, we have had a 99.9% repayment rate on our loans. This is because we do not just provide them with loan capital, we take a hands-on approach with ensuring these loans are used well. We hold monthly meetings with the women and maintain consistent contact with them in order to check that their businesses are growing and improving.
The Yonso Project continually assesses its work to ensure that the funds of its donors are being put to use in a manner that will improve the lives and prospects of those in effected communities.
The Reading for All program has evolved from originally just building rural libraries into the effective approach that we use today. Previous experiences with building libraries had demonstrated that the most successful projects were those where community buy-in was maximized. Thus, the Yonso Project created its system of library boards to engage members of the community in sustaining the libraries. Likewise, in order to ensure that the resources of the Library Program were being implemented to their fullest capacity, the Yonso Project implemented the Reading Project to engage students in reading. The success of the Reading for All program can be seen both in the improved academic performance of communities such as Akrofoso, as well as the input from individuals who participated in the Reading Project.
The Scholarship Fund provides an equally effective approach. Throughout the years, it has helped over 200 scholars to achieve their academic goals, some of which have even returned to the Yonso area to give back to their communities. Teachers of current scholars note that, thanks to the holistic approach of the Yonso Project, Yonso Project Scholars come to class more prepared and eager to learn than many of their academic peers.
Finally, our microfinance program has been incredibly successful. We have helped over 400 women grow their businesses and better support their families. We have distributed over $40,000 USD worth of loans, and these loans have been paid back on time an astonishing 99.9% of the time. This program has functioned so well because we went beyond just providing these women with money and ensured they had the support they needed to make the most of the loan.