It is said that doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting change is the height of insanity.
On Saturday August 25, 2018, the New York City-based National Council of Ghanaian Associations (NCOGA), led by its Executive Secretary General, Mr. Fred Dwamena, hosted a high-level retreat to look at itself in the mirror, and answer the question: How do we make NCOGA relevant and revitalized?
The retreat was held at the Ghana Presbyterian Church in Harlem, NYC and facilitated by seasoned business consulting expert, Mr. Robert Miss. The participants gleefully recalled the years when NCOGA, founded in 1981, was great and known for hosting the famous annual Ghana Picnic. In addition, NCOGA provided scholarships and materials to Ghana, led causes of concern to Africans (AIDS assistance), hosted the annual Ghana Independence Day celebrations, organized community workshops and provided SAT preparations for youth. Hosting Ghana’s presidents, NCOGA was the go-to organization that served as the umbrella for the many ethnic Ghanaian associations in the New York metropolitan area. Mr. Miss led the group to painfully admit the depths into which NCOGA has fallen lately becoming almost irrelevant as the demographics of Ghanaians in the area have shifted, needs changed, and centers of assembly altered from associations into churches.
The group believes that there is still a need for NCOGA to remain an umbrella organization, but it must speedily look to provide services that member organizations are not capable of doing for themselves. These include a permanent place of operation, full time staff, and better definition of the NCOGA product that “it is selling.” Along the way NCOGA looks to review and change its organizational structure and empowering an executive board of directors to guide it. The members of the current board of advisors who were in attendance were: Dr. Victor Essien (Chair), Dr. Kofi Boateng (Vice), Mr. Japhet Aryiku, Mr. Mawuli Agbenu, Mrs. Florence Nyarkoa, Ms. Ivy Rose Quarshie, and Dr. Anukware Ketosugbo.
The following organizations were represented: Akan Association, Akyem Association, Kwahuman Association, PUSIGA, United Volta Association, Ghana Veterans Association, and Ghana Heritage & Culture Committee.
The next step is for the board and all interested members to develop specific activities to achieve the new directions that NCOGA has decided to steer itself to become more relevant and impactful after nearly 40 years of community service. According to Mr. Dwamena, he said the council plans are far advanced to embark on a community drive within the tri-state, to organize series of forums to engage the community.