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President Gloria Larson Visits Ghana to Say Thank You for Years of Fulfilling Partnership
President Gloria Cordes Larson recently traveled to Ghana on a “thank you tour,” visiting Bentley’s Ghanaian-led partner organizations that host Bentley students for a variety of 8-week internships. During her one-week stay, President Larson gratefully acknowledged organizations such as the Ghana Poultry Network, Biofil, the Asutsuare Women’s Development Society and more, for providing students with practical business and cultural experiences during their stays in Ghana.
Her visit began at the Diaspora Africa Forum, which focuses on the full participation of Africans in the building of the African Union, where she thanked Ambassador Erieka Bennett for creating such a welcoming environment for Bentley in Accra, Ghana’s capital, and for being a long-time advocate of American involvement in the economic future of Africa. Her agenda also included a meeting with Ghanaian President John Atta-Mills.
President Larson was joined on the trip by Bentley Management Professor Diane Kellogg, who launched Bentley’s Ghana Project; Natural and Applied Science Department Chair Rick Oches, who is a sustainability consultant to Bentley’s partner organizations in Ghana; and Special Assistant to the President Earl Avery, who oversees Bentley’s diversity initiatives. President of Wheelock College Jackie Jenkins Scott and director of Wheelock’s Ghana program Joyce Scott, accompanied President Larson to acknowledge thanks for their student programs as well.
A Cultural Business Learning Experience
The goal of Bentley’s involvement in Ghana is to give future business leaders experience working in intercultural settings and applying business principles to complex social problems. Bentley’s NGO interns work only with organizations founded and led by Ghanaians, each committed to addressing a specific societal issue. Students bring general business skills in finance, technology, management, marketing, and accounting and often make contributions to their host organization. However, learning from Ghanaians is their primary purpose.
Partnerships Spanning Disciplines
Bentley’s relationships in Ghana cross many industries and include the following organizations:
Ghana Poultry Network
- Anthony Akunzule, founder of the Ghana Poultry Network (GAPNET) located in Ho, is one of Bentley’s longest standing partners.
- In Ho, four students are associated with GAPNET and working with the Volta Poultry Farmers Association, a microfinance initiative.
- While farmers initiate and build their poultry businesses, Bentley students learn about the challenges of the poultry industry in Ghana and assist farmers in strengthening their business plan to increase profitability.
Asutsuare Women’s Development Society
- In Asutsuare, four additional students are working with another GAPNET affiliate, which is led by Rosemary Gumah. Members of the society receive a microloan of baby chicks or baby goats, and then repay their loan by giving baby chicks and baby goats to new loan recipients, as their own flocks multiply and their businesses become profitable.
- In addition to the 8 students in rural areas, Bentley places accounting students with four accounting firms (Deloitte, KPMG, PWC, and Ernst & Young) for 8-week internships.
- Seven students live in host family homes in Accra and build their skills as accountants, while at the same time meeting the program’s goal of giving students intercultural experiences.
- The seven accounting interns are also complete a “global social responsibility” project for one of Bentley’s partner organizations addressing the issue of sanitation.
- Biofil, founded by Kweku Anno, aims to replace latrines in public schools with Biofil’s international award-winning sanitation solution that has been recognized by the Gates Foundation as a safe, sustainable, sanitary solution to human waste disposal issues in both he developed and developing world.
In 2006, Bentley began working closely with its first partner, the Mmofra Trom Education Center near Somanya, Ghana, to provide services to disadvantaged children in the surrounding villages. Bentley has now developed relationships with more than 15 non-government organizations (NGOs). To learn more visit: The Ghana Project.
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.