General Assembly’s Minutes

22nd March 2014 at 2:00 pm Luxembourg (L)

1. Roll call

Present : Luise Volane (accountant who will help us with the accounts in Ghana), Victoria El Khoury (VEK, organised an action a few years ago for AE), Xavier Klein (Access NGO member), Pedro Antunes (former child sponsor member), Charlotte Heldenstein (CH), Debora Ferrari (DF)

Excused : Gabriel Bobillier, Silvana Ferrari, Johana Eidam-Vautherot, Julie Adams, Claudia Waldenberger, Aline Sermet, Eveline Burkard, Cécile Zbinden, Tanja Mori, Guillaume Mairy, Florence Moulins, Commune de Vaumarcus, Serena Ferrari, Ronja Kradolfer, Philippe Haller, Mary-Jo Jean-Mairet

Everybody starts by introducing themselves.

2 : Report of the president

In 2013, the number of members has been stable with 53 private or institutional members.

The vocational school (Chrisfotec College) opened its doors in 2013; with too few students in January, it had to close for a few months until more students signed in, in September.

The orange harvests have made the project very profitable.

CH and DF outlined the different projects, highlighting the ECO Water project to the participants

3 : Report of the accountant

See the 2013 Luxembourg and Swiss accounts reports as well as the “Actions in Switzerland and Projects in Ghana” report.

4 : Report of the auditors

On January 31st, Carole and Bénédicte checked the Akwaaba Esaase association’s accounts. They found an error in the dates which has been immediately corrected. Other than this mistake, the accounts seemed to be correct and well looked after.

The Assembly approved the accounts unanimously.

5 : Admissions / resignations

Admissions: Jennifer Goldschmidt (already member of AE)’s class who is sponsoring a child.

6 : Election of the new committe

The present committee is re-elected unanimously:

President : Mary-Jo Jean-Mairet

Vice-President : Charlotte Heldenstein

Secretary : Florence Moulins

Treasurer : Debora Ferrari

7 : Election of new auditors

Bénédicte is re-elected and Pedro Antunes is named the second auditor

8 : 2013 Projects

  1. Cocoa farm
  • Harvests : everything’s all right ; we expect to harvest one ton and a half in the year 2015-2016 (complete harvest).
  • Sales : according to Mr Boateng, selling to another company than to the Cocobod (Ghana Cocoa Board, official government institution that sells the cocoa to foreign companies) is going to be complicated. He’s not very keen to sell to Kuapa Kokoo because, according to what he knows, the fair trade label has no direct impact on the producers. DF will try to contact Kuapa Kokoo again and talk to Cocopod and UTZ (fair trade cocoa trader company based in The Netherlands)
  • Sponsoring : the Swiss confectioners’ association (SVRPPC) is expecting from AE solid and positive results with regards to the financial support they have given to AE. We must find a way to assure “our” cocoa follow-up. With this, we will be able to sell it to Felchlin, or any other fair trade company, interested in our project and in our partnership with the SVRPPC. The general assembly of the SVRPPC will be held next week.
  • Second land plot : this plot cost Mr Boateng 5000 cedis. 3000 cedis have been paid by American volunteers. 2000 cedis are still outstanding (missing). As we were not aware of this second purchase, Akwaaba Esaase will not cover this cost. The cocoa production, thanks to the second plot of land, will be much higher than the fixed minimum quota imposed by Felchlin to buy our cocoa. It is therefore conceivable that we will be able to work with this company in the long run.
  1. Orange farm

Two harvests took place in 2013. The project goes on well, even very well!

  1. ECO water truck

This project is the one which will keep us busy this year. Indeed, the Franco Giaccari jewels’ sale didn’t achieve the expected success, so the necessary amount needed to buy the truck has not yet been raised. In Switzerland, we have collected the amount of 3000 CHF for this project (through the sale of the jewels and donations). In Luxembourg, the amount collected is of 3627 Euros

  1. Vocational school / Chrisfotec College

As there were not enough students who applied in January 2013, the school shut down until September, as it had been agreed at the last general assembly and in agreement with Mr Boateng. In September, 15 students started high school classes (general arts), while the apprentices (vocational training) followed practical courses. At the beginning of the second trimester (January 2014), 22 students registered. Our aim is to reach a total of at least 30 students by next term. This would also balance the accounts.

Last autumn, the school was finally connected to the main power grid.

CH raised the following question: as there are only a few students, should the school keep pursuing vocational training? An important consideration is the amount of money which has been spent on equipment. Let’s see what happens this coming autumn, how many students will sign in? Is it viable? Should we change the workshops and propose more innovative professions?

5. Clinic / Fire extinguishers

  1. Sintetica Bioren SA keeps sponsoring the clinic, but has not yet transferred the money on the AE account for the purchase of the 2013 medicine. DF must contact them again.There is still no fridge in the clinic.
    We have to find someone to take charge of the clinic and who knows exactly how to administer the medicine to the children. The headmaster isn’t aware of how to carry out medical procedures (i.e. correct drug dosages); as a result he gives whatever he finds to ill students, despite there being a list with symptoms/medicines posted on the wall of the clinic!
  1. The annual maintenance of the fire extinguishers (total amount of CHF 110.-) has been sponsored again by Anouck, a former volunteer.
  1. ECSO financial balance

Luise (professional accountant) has agreed to help us as far as the accounting is concerned: she will be checking all the ECSO accounts by comparing the accounts and the receipts sent by Mr Boateng. A great many thanks to her!

Point 9: Balance sheet actions 2013

  1. Switzerland (see 2013 balance sheet actions-projects)
  1. Belgium

In December 2013, Sylvie organised a second-hand book sale in her school in Belgium.

Point 10 : 2013 Sponsors

  1. Waeber HMS SA

We re-contacted the firm Waeber HMS SA, which has agreed to support us once more by sponsoring the cocoa farm with 1500 CHF.

  1. Felco SA

The company from the canton of Neuchâtel (CH) has donated the cocoa farmers 6 saws.

  1. Caran d’Ache

The Swiss company that produces stationary has offered pencils, pens, and colour pencils.

This material (the saws as well as the stationary from Caran d’Ache) was taken to Esaase by Lilas, who went back to Ghana from January to February this year.

  1. TOTAL foundation

We are still expecting news from Janna, a former volunteer who made a sponsoring request to TOTAL in Belgium.

  1. The SVRPPC (Société Vaudoise et Romande des Patrons Pâtissiers Confiseurs), the Association de Champ-Petit, Sintetica-Bioren SA, l’EPM (Ecole Professionnelle de Montreux) have continued to sponsor us through donations and other various actions.

Point 11 : Children sponsoring

  1. ECSO sponsoring: nothing new; the school reports have been sent to the children sponsors and letters have been written by the children for Christmas.
  1. High school sponsoring
  • Andrews Opoku : student sponsored by Kim, former volunteer and member from the USA. There has been a problem with the follow up of the money that was meant to be managed by Emelia, Mr Boateng’s daughter. It turns out Andrews hasn’t attended the Kumasi Technical Institute (KTI) since September 2013, but gets practical courses with one of the teachers of the KTI. Neither Kim, Akwaaba Esaase, Mr Boateng nor the KTI principal were made aware of this change. It is important to stress that the money was sent directly to Emelia through Western Union and didn’t go through AE’s bank accounts. In this case, Akwaaba Esaase cannot be held responsible for the management of Andrews’ sponsoring. Things have been clarified in the meantime.
  • Erica Oteng and Angelina Serwaah: these two former ECSO students have, for many years (until high school), been sponsored by Corinne (France) and by Debora (Switzerland). This last school year, they were attending the Seibel and Barker College near Owhim to improve their marks. This foundation year was meant so that they can go to university in October. Their sponsoring includes school fees as well as the rent of a room in Owhim. The procedure has not been easy and the girls have not been able to rent the room until January of this year. It seemed to us that no one was really checking on the girls when they eventually moved to Owhim.

Both situations have made it clear that it is not all that easy to manage the external sponsoring of high school students; CH and DF suggest that we should focus on sponsoring children in ECSO or in the Chrisfotec College. We can keep the current high school students’ sponsorship funding, although we would prefer not to take on any further charges external to the school

Point 13 : 2014 actions/projects

- Actions in Luxembourg and in Switzerland

  1. Luxembourg, May: donations during CH niece’s communion.
  2. Luxembourg and Switzerland: knitting of winter hats with the AE logo
  3. Luxembourg (VEK’s project) : organisation of an Indian buffet
  4. Luxembourg (VEK’s project) : organisation of a Lebanese dinner
  5. Switzerland, all year long : sale of the Franco Giaccari bracelets
  6. Travers, Switzerland, Saturday 3rd May : handicraft market’ stand,
  7. Neuchâtel, Switzerland, Saturday 16th August: Buskers Festival, handicraft market’s stand with the Marchés de l’Univers.
  8. Buttes, Switzerland, Saturday 30th August: Les 2 heures solidaires running race, organised by Silvana with the help of Lilas and other volunteers and in collaboration with the Nantibatingou association.

- Ongoing projects in Ghana

  1. Cocoa farm
  1. ECO water
  1. Improving kitchen ventilation
  1. Solving humidity on/in the walls
  1. Small reparations: classrooms’ doors and floors.

Point 14. Miscellaneous

  1. Improving the website

An email will be sent to all members to ask their opinion regarding a possible improvement of the website. The French version is currently progressing and a German version will soon be online.

  1. Volunteers:
  • Two Swiss volunteers (Tobias and Varinia) will go to Ghana from June to August. One of their tasks will be to make new contacts for the cocoa sale and follow up.
  • Xavier, a member of the Access NGO, is also interested in going to Ghana as a volunteer.
  • Volunteers’ house: the volunteers’ house issue is still there. We will then require that volunteers stay in the volunteers’ house and that their financing be split between Mr Boateng and Lucy (Mr Boateng’s ex-wife).
  1. Members: we notice that it is always the same group of people who get involved in the organisation’s actions: many thanks to them and especially to Silvana and Lilas who took charge of last year’s stands in Switzerland. They also kindly organised the « Les deux heures solidaires » race in Buttes (Switzerland). Many thanks also to Sylvie for her personal initiative of a book sale in Belgium.

CH asks VEK if she would agree to organise actions in Luxembourg; VEK accepts: congratulations!!!! She immediately suggests starting collaborating with an Indian restaurant to organise buffets or special events (with part of the profit going to Akwaaba Esaase). She also thinks of giving belly dance classes to support our projects. What a great idea!!!

End of the meeting at 21h05

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