Mbaasem’s 3-year strategic plan, for 2010-2013, are designed to meet the needs of women writers in Africa and to enable them to make significant contributions to the cultural sector and to national development through their creative output
Program 1: Development and Support of Women Writers
Develop program plan and framework
Strengthen and secure the operations of the Ghana Women Writers’ Forum
Expand operations of the Ghana Women Writers’ Forum to 2 more regions
Conduct writing residencies and workshops
Build the creative, technical and professional capacity of women writers
Establish writers’ exchange and residency programs
Expand the Emerging Young Writers Program
Strengthen editorial services
Establish traditional publishing and e-publishing initiatives and publish women’s works
Institute the Mbaasem Literary Award and Writers Fund
Institute Annual Women Writers Conference
Fundraise for the Writers’ Retreat building
Program 2: Fundraising
Develop fundraising and resource mobilization plan
Explore non-traditional funders
Update database of funding agencies
Raise more funds from business sector in Ghana
Create services to generate funding internally
Program 3: Organizational Development and Capacity-Building
Recruit a new Executive Director (current Director to step down within 2 years)
Review of Mbaasem’s Bylaws
Reconstitute a new Executive Board
Recruit professional and technical staff
Enhance the capacity and skills of staff
Secure and move into new office premises
Secure logistics for operations
Establish an internship program
Continue updates of Mbaasem’s internal policies and procedures
Improve financial management systems
Strengthen institutional collaboration with women writers’ organizations – FEMRITE (Uganda) and Zimbabwe Women Writers
Program 4: Advocacy
Develop strategies for advocacy and lobbying
Identify targets for advocacy campaign
Identify campaign areas and issues for advocacy
Lobby civil society organizations, government, the Parliament of Ghana, MDAs and Ghanaian public on “The Imperative”
Strengthen the operations of The Literary Page in the Daily Graphic and expand the page to other newspapers
Engage more with policy processes in Ghana
Engage effectively with the media and conduct training workshops on coverage of culture and the arts
Organize a cultural advocacy coalition
Participate actively in all campaigns for women’s rights, education and literary
Program 5: Research, Knowledge Base and Information Sharing
Expand and update the Mbaasem Resource Centre
Design new website with regular updates
Identify issues of research within thematic areas
Conduct research and produce two major reports per year
Develop database of resource persons
Promote knowledge development
Promote dissemination of information using various methods
Establish e-Publishing Unit
Improve documentation of activities and programs
Partner with academic institutions and other RAOs
Program 6: Mbaasem’s Geographical Coverage
Establish two small offices in Kumasi and Tamale
Collaborate with other cultural and women’s organizations outside the Greater Accra Metropolitan area
Develop programs for specific regions
Develop links and programs with other organizations in the sub-region and across Africa
Program 7: Monitoring and Evaluation
Strengthen M&E mechanisms and systems
Gain capacity in monitoring cultural projects and its impact on development
Monitor work processes
Program 8: Collaboration and Networking
Form a coalition of cultural organizations, operators and advocates in Ghana
Participate in relevant networks
Build alliances with relevant state and non-state actors
Collaborate on joint projects with relevant organizations
1. The Ghana Women Writers Forum
The Club continues to function quite well. Members attended quarterly meetings, presented their works and mentored each other. The activities and focus of the Club suffered a bit due to the death of Ms. Star Hammond, an accomplished author who also served as a mentor to the writers in the Club. After much consultation with members, it became clear that a new framework for the Club needed to be developed. Subsequently, it was recommended that the Club should be reconstituted into the Women Writers’ Forum of Ghana. Although, it will remain an MBAASEM project, the Forum will become independent of MBAASEM by the end of 2011. A grant application for support of the Forum and its activities was submitted to the Cultural Initiative Support Program (CISP) of the National Commission on Culture. When awarded, CISP will provide $49,484 for the Forum’s activities over the next two years. In 2008, Mbaasem provided creative and capacity-building workshop for the writers.
2. The Literary Arts Page in the Daily Graphic newspaper
• To provide a printed forum for writers in Ghana to share their work with the general reading public
• To support readership and audience development for the arts.
• To advocate for The Imperative
In response to an application from MBAASEM, the current editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr. Ransford Tetteh, has very generously given Ghanaian writers the enormous gift of a weekly writers’ page under the caption literary arts. In addition, the editor and his features team have gone even further to give MBAASEM the complete freedom and control over what materials to call in, edit, and organize to hand over to them for the page each week. This is absolutely historic, enabling, and inspirational for women writers in Ghana. The page was first printed on May 17, 2008 and with the exception of one week (due to the 2008 elections) every Saturday edition has featured literary works by writers resident in Ghana. We have featured a diverse range of writers from around Ghana and those outside the country. Most importantly, the page has featured works by young girls who have just begun to write.
3. The Imperative – An advocacy program
Mbaasem launched its advocacy program in 2008 with the development and circulation of The Imperative: The Need for a New Developmental Poetics document. This project is a core part of Mbaasem’s advocacy work. The program will be expanded further in 2009.
4. Editorial Services
MBAASEM launched a core component of its technical resources program in 2008. The organization hired an editor who will provide editorial services to women writers and to the organization. Our first and current editor is a lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon.
5. MBAASEM Youth Education Programme: HIV/AIDS-themed dramas
The project aims to effect attitudinal change among the youth to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Ghana thereby decreasing the rate of transmission among the youth. The project involves the publication of books of HIV/AIDS-themed plays written for children and the youth. MBAASEM was funded by the Ghana AIDS Commission in 2004 to develop and write drama that centered on HIV/AIDS issues for children and the youth. With the plays already written, the next step is to translate the plays from English into five Ghanaian languages – Ga, Twi, Ewe, Dagaare and Hausa. The translated plays will be published for use by schools especially those in rural poor and urban deprived areas. In addition, the plays will be produced and staged and aired on the television and radio stations.
This project is funded by Feed the Minds. Work began on the project in 2008 and will be completed in 2009. The dramas were written by members of Writers’ Club.
6. The Ananse Project
MBAASEM continues to work on finding old Ananse stories and developing new stories for publication. The Ananse group met several times in 2008 working on editing recorded stories as told to them by members or rural folk-telling groups. By the end of 2008, sixteen stories were submitted to Smartline Publishing for publication in 2009.
The Ananse Project also collaborated with AfterSchool Ghana on developing stories with rural children. The aim of the collaboration was to improve literacy and academic performance among children and the youth in three rural villages in Ghana. The project will be completed in March 2009.
7. Support of Young Emerging Writers and Poets
This is a new project. The aim of the project is to identify a young woman writer and support her financially to enable her to devote time to developing and honing her craft. In 2008, Mercy Amaning, a 23year old teacher from the Eastern Region of Ghana became the first participant in this project. Ms. Amaning writes Akan poetry that deal with issues of womanhood, community and national development. Ms. Amanaing will continue teaching and with MBAASEM support, will write and develop pieces for performances and publication.
8. Collaboration and networking with Uganda Women Writers Association and Zimbabwe Women Writers
MBAASEM started collaborating and networking with the two other organizations that support African women writers – FEMRITE (Uganda Women Writers Association) and Zimbabwe Women Writers. The three organizations began talks to form the Network of African Women Writers in 2008 and have committed themselves to launching the network in 2009-2010. MBAASEM developed and submitted a grant application to the EU-ACP Cultures program to support the realization of the Network and its maiden activities. Additionally, Yaba Badoe represented MBAASEM and Ghana at a regional writers’ residency hosted by FEMRITE in November 2008.
9. ICT for Resources Mobilisation
MBAASEM hired a new IT consultant to revamp its website in September 2008. All features of the new website will be fully operation by March 2009. The website should prove helpful in mobilization resources and also increasing the visibility of MBAASEM.
10. Support to Rural and Community-based Cultural Organizations
Mbaasem has always helped (informally) other cultural organizations in rural areas. In 2008, the organization developed a framework with stated objectives and formalized its support of other cultural organizations. As devised, the support includes:
• Fund-raising and proposal writing support
• Assistance formalizing and expanding their programs
• An avenue to network and access larger audiences.
The first organization in this program is Akokowa Mpanyinsem, a Kodzifo-group based in the Central Region.