General News of Saturday, 22 September 2018
The Department of Social Welfare has cautioned the public to be wary of some groups of people who solicit for funds for sick or less-privileged people as most of these groups are not genuine and do not use such funds for the intended purpose.
It has also cautioned the public not to give any money to any group of people parading themselves as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and begging for alms to help the underprivileged in society as that is unacceptable.
“The public is also cautioned to be careful in dealing with some of these organisations, as some are not genuine,” the acting Director of the Department of Social Welfare, Mr Gbeawu Daniel Y. Nonah, told The Mirror.
Mr Nonah said it had not given any organisation the permit to engage in such acts.
The Mirror reported three months ago that three organisations, namely Noble Touching Lives Foundation (NTLF) Ghana, OPBAID Savers Foundation (OSF) and the Bid Care Foundation (BCF), have been soliciting for funds from the public to assist children with certain ailments and chronic diseases.
Checks at the Department of Social Welfare showed that while BCF has no licence to operate, the NTLF Ghana and OSF have been certified as NGOs but are not supposed to be begging for alms from the public as that is against the laws governing the operation of non-profit organisations.
Since October 2017, The Mirror has observed with keen interest that members of these groups carry boxes with gory pictures of children and inscriptions of the names of their organisations as they hop from one vehicle to another to entice passengers to give to their ‘charity’ organisations.
They are usually seen on major streets such as the Kaneshie First Light intersection, Awoshie-Pokuase highway, the Okponglo-Shiashie stretch and the major intersection on the Airport road.
They quote some verses from the Bible and manage to draw sympathy from the public, especially commuters, who part with some money.
While admitting that the activities of the three organisations had not come to its notice, Mr Nonah said it would be going after such groups with the police immediately.
He said the department had received reports of some other organisations operating in similar fashion in different parts of the country, noting that groups such as Elica Elica of Christ Foundation and the Makers Network Foundation had not been given the licence to operate as NGOs.
For Little Angel Trust, Mr Nonah emphasised that even though its licence had expired since 2007, it had refused to renew it but was still engaging in some activities that were captured by the media once a while.
Taking The Mirror through the registration process of NGOs in the country, Mr Nonah indicated that after going through the registration at the Registrar General’s Department, one had to apply to the Department of Social Welfare for a licence before the organisation could operate as an NGO in the country.
In the course of the registration, the organisations are made to provide their source of funding.
On the unlicensed organisations, Mr Nonah said they might have been registered by the Registrar General’s Department as companies but remained illegal since they had not been licensed and recognised by the Department of Social Welfare.
“In the case of NTLF Ghana and OSF, we have not advised them or any organisation to go into the community to be collecting money from the public,” he stressed.
Social Welfare challenged
When asked why Social Welfare was not able to constantly monitor the activities of these and other NGOs, Mr Nonah indicated that it had a lot of challenges, including funding and logistics, which made its work very difficult.
He stated that in some departments at the head office, there were no computers and desks for the staff, and that made monitoring difficult.