Saturday, October 25, 2014

Recovery Africa supports Hopeful Way Foundation

Recovery Africa (RA)

Summary Report to Board of Directors and Advisory Council

October 11, 2014

By Dan O’Laughlin

This report provides a brief summary of RA and related activities during 2014.  In preparation for activities in 2015, a more detailed correspondence will be sent in the coming weeks. 


1.       RA planning session and board of directors meeting of March 20, 2014 – Matt’s report dated April 11 on this meeting was distributed in April and is attached. The RA board members are as follows:


a)      Daniel O’Laughlin, Chair                                g.   Jerry Gillen

b)      Al Mooney, V. Chair                                       h.   Adolf Kofi Afful

c)       Kristen Harper, Secretary                              i.   Matthew Brown

d)      Deborah Dungee, Treasure                            j.   David Whiters

e)      Chris Budnick                                                     k.  Mark Spence

f)       Larry Gaines                                                      


RA advisory council members include the following personalities and others interested in moving forward recovery in Africa: Paul Molloy, Thomas Kimball, Emily Eisenhart, Lonnetta Albright, Mark Webb, Jerry Moe, Gerald Marti and Janis Omide. Others who would be welcome to serve on the advisory council include Mike Houle, Nancy Alexander, Edward Green and others.

2.       RA dinner of March 20 – The dinner was a great success in expanding the networking of RA. The fundraising part covered expenses, plus about $1,000 net.

3.       Willingway Foundation – Dr. Al Mooney and his Willingway Foundation continue to serve as the 501(c)(3) “incubator” for RA until we obtain recognition from the IRS. Tax deductable donations are received by WWF where RA has a separate account.

4.       Financial situation – The largest financial commitment of RA in 2014/15 is to Oxford House, Inc. to keep Byron Merriweather in Ghana for one year ending June 15, 2015. Uncommitted funds in the WWF/RA account as of October 1, 2014 were approximately $10,000.  A RA checking account has been opened at SunTrust Bank in Bethesda.

5.       501(c)(3) application – In April, receipt of the RA application was acknowledged by the IRS. Nothing has been received since that time. 

6.       Byron Merriweather in Ghana – Byron continues to be the main contribution that RA provides to the budding recovery movement in Ghana. With Byron playing a reduced role, the House of St. Francis continues to do very well with an average of 20 residential clients. The “Grand Opening” of the HSF was held on Oct. 9; it was a great success. A new HSF chairman and board of directors is full of life.

7.       Ghana programs – Perhaps the largest contribution of RA in Ghana is fostering cooperation among recovery players. Professionals and people in recovery from the U.S. and Ghana are used for training purposes. A consortium meeting held on September 25 holds much potential. Twelve-step groups continue to expand, with about ten in Accra. Two Oxford Houses for men are doing well. An Oxford House with program for women is in its formation stages.  About $12,000 is needed to pay advanced rent and start up and running expenses. A grant application is being sent to an NGO in Sweden. Byron and Dan are spending less time at the HSF but we are available as needed. RA provided no funding to the HSF in 2014 to cover expenses. The HSF is largely breaking even but staff is still not on full salary. As described below, recovery experts from the U.S. provide excellent training, motivation and sharing of expertise.

8.       Website and Facebook – Thanks to Mike Houle and Shelia Stigall, the RA website and Facebook sites are up and providing good information on RA and its work. We are in need of managers for the sites.

9.       Dan and Agnes in Ghana – Dan and Agnes arrived in Ghana on April 22 and plan on returning to Maryland on October 22, 2014.

10.   Ethiopia women’s facility – In response to a request by David Whiters, in June, 2014 RA provided $1,000 to assist in the establishment of a transitional housing facility in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

11.   Kristen Harper in DC – As the executive director of the Association of Recovery Schools, Kristen was in Maryland/Wshington, DC from August 5 to September 6. She provided information about RA at places such as ONDCP and as a panelist at the 4th SAMSHA & NAADAC recovery lunch which she attended with Mike Houle of RA.

12.   Georgia Southern Univ. to Ghana – A group of over ten students and staff from Georgia Southern University spent the month of July in Ghana. Six of the students helped to carry the recovery message with RA in Accra, and others were with recovery facilities and 12-step groups in Cape Coast. This third visit from GSU did a lot to create synergy between recovery in Ghana and the U.S.

13.   Texas Tech University to Ghana – Ladd Hight was in Ghana with RA/HWF from June 4 – July 23. He spent most of his time at the HSF and Oxford Houses but also assisted at Pantang Rehab and  other facilities in Ghana. He did a lot by helping clients work the steps and sharing his experiences regarding recovery in the U.S.

14.   Recovery personalities visit Ghana – The recovery professionals and others listed below contributed much to the RA and other prevention, treatment and recovery programs in Ghana in 2014. As of now no visitors are scheduled for 2015 but we are in discussions with “The Midnight Mission” in Los Angeles which may send two 12-step people in long term recovery to assist in Ghana next year. 

15.   David Whiters to Ghana – David spent two weeks in Ghana in March and moved with Byron to do a lot to further efforts of RA and others. He facilitated several workshops and worked with public and private efforts regarding ROSC, 12-step and related efforts.

16.   Gerald Marti to Ghana – Gerald was in Ghana from June 10 – 23 and provided excellent training in Back to Basics, 12-step and medical aspects. He was particularly helpful at the HSF and to the senior staff of the Narcotics Control Board where drug courts and related matters were discussed. Health care workers at Pantang Hospital learned a lot from Gerald.

17.   Jerry Moe to Ghana – Jerry was in Ghana from May 30 to June 8 and did outstanding work to further the RA presence in Ghana as related families and children. His teaching techniques are being widely used. For a full article on Jerry’s visit, see RA Facebook page.

18.   Sheila Stigall to Ghana – Shelia spent two months at the HSF in 2013 and another two months beginning July 16, 2014. Shelia taught 12-step recovery and added to the HSF in so many ways. She did much to enhance the RA Facebook page where details of her visit can be found.

19.   Nancy Alexander to Ghana – Nancy was in Ghana for about a week beginning June 26 attending an international conference. She visited the HSF and Oxford House and introduced RA to the Accra East Rotary Club.  On returning to the U.S., she assisted RA prepare several documents including the RA fact sheet.

20.   Consortium meeting – On September 25, RA/Hopeful Way Foundation sponsored a consortium meeting with 40 persons present. “Recovery Ghana” may be the name of the consortium which holds great potential for furthering a recovery movement in Ghana. A separate report will be sent. Next meeting to be held on October 30.

21.   National Commission for Civic Education – GHC1,000 ($350) was provided to the National Commission for Civic Education to enable their field staff to develop addiction related programs at schools in Accra. NCCE arranged for Jerry Moe to visit children from families suffering from addiction in Accra.

22.   Prayer camps – RA is developing a relationship with prayer camps, where many Ghanaians who suffer from addiction are taken for treatment. A resident of the Oyarifa Oxford House goes on a weekly basis to such a camp where he carry’s the 12-step message as part of a University of Ghana research team.

23.   Kintampo request – RA has received a request from a person in recovery at the Kintampo Rural Health Training School to assist in developing a program to deal with an apparently growing problem with alcohol and drugs in the town. The school prepares mid-level health professionals to serve in Ghana’s rural areas.

24.   Theme for 2015 event in DC – We are looking for ideas to guide the theme “Youth” for the RA 2015 event and board meeting. Please submit ideas.

25.   RA office – In the coming months steps will be taken to establish a RA office, probably in the Bethesda/Washington, DC area.

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