The NGO has gained recognition in the past but the latest, and so far the biggest, came from the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC, which conferred a Special Consultative Status on the African Rights Initiative International.
The august body, at its coordination and management meeting on April 8, this year, took the decision to honour ARII with the prestigious status, when it adopted the recommendation of its Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, NGOs, on the honour.
The news was conveyed to ARII via a letter dated April 10, 2015, and signed by Alberto Padova, the Acting Chief, NGO Branch Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations.
Of the honour, the letter says that the “Consultative status for an organization enables it to actively engage with ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, as well as with the United Nations Secretariat, programmes, funds and agencies in a number of ways.”
And to better understand this relationship, it spells out the privileges that consultative status with ECOSOC confers on ARII, as well as the obligations that the non-profit organization will be required to meet. The privileges include the many ways the ARII could participate in the works of the Council, as well as opportunities to consult with Member States and the United Nations system at large.
These are, however, based on the nature and scope of work that the organization undertakes. “Consultative relationship with NGOs,” the letter underscores, “also enables the Council or one of its bodies to seek expert information or advice from organizations with special competence in a subject matter.”
Other privileges and benefits accruable to ARII, include but not limited to “the opportunity to be informed about the provisional agenda of the Economic and Social Council and the privilege to request the Secretary-General, through the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, to place items of special interest in the provisional agenda of the Council.”
With the Special Consultative Status, the ARII is also entitled to attend meetings and gain access to the United Nations.
“Your status now entitles you to designate official representatives to the United Nations Headquarters in New York and the United Nations offices in Geneva and Vienna,” the letter continues.
“Your representatives will be able to register for and participate in events, conferences and activities of the United Nations, and organizations in general and special consultative status may designate authorized representatives to sit as observers at public meetings of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, General Assembly, Human Rights Council and other United Nations intergovernmental decision-making bodies.
Those on the Roster may have representatives present at such meetings concerned with matters within their field of competence. These arrangements may be supplemented to include other means of participation.”
African Rights Initiative, a brain child of Alex Asiedu, an investment banker, international businessman and philanthropist, has for the past six years, been rescuing under-privileged children from the clutches of poverty, hunger, diseases and deprivations.
Worried that the pervasive inequalities and ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor would continue to propel children, young men and women to crime, criminality and sundry violent inclinations, the Asiedu-led ARII has been running programmes and campaigns aimed at reversing this dangerous trend not only in Ghana but also in many countries across Africa.
The ARII, through its several initiatives, has, year after year, been providing assistance for thousands of individuals, especially children in rural and disadvantaged communities across Africa, giving them hope.
These initiatives include the provision of educational opportunities and resources to children living in disadvantaged communities; provision of facilities for primary healthcare delivery; implementation of a programme of treatment for malaria and other tropical diseases.
This is not to forget the ARII’s additional responsibility of providing potable water, sanitation facilities, food and shelter, among others.
There is also the Doctors in the Gap Initiative which has registered over 50 medical doctors and health experts across the globe, including the United States, China, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, and Ghana, to mention just a few.
Their services are voluntary and they undertake medical missions to the most disadvantaged communities in the aforementioned countries, equipping deprived hospitals and bridging the healthcare gap.
The Chairman of ARII, Alex Asiedu, who is also the Executive Chairman of the Atlantic Trust Holding Limited/Atlantic Holdings of Dubai, is upbeat about the phenomenal progress that the non-profit organization has made in six short years of its existence.
He told the Weekend Sun at his office in the corporate headquarters of Atlantic Trust Holdings Limited in Tema, “these are joyful moments for ARII,”. The journey has been very inspirational. The response has been heart-warming; very encouraging" he noted.
Pleasing as the recognition from the United Nations is, Asiedu says the NGO will not rest on its oars.
“We shall challenge ourselves to do more, even more for children.” he continues, emphasizing that this is not time for chest-thumbing. For us at ARII, there is no rest until children stop dying of preventable diseases, until they are fed well and well sheltered, until they are taken out of squalor, their future secured. Until then, we shall keep our sleeves rolled up.”
He however appealed for the support of all sundry for the organization to reach a wider number of destitute individuals and families.
“We see a world where every individual feels part of the larger development; corporations, organizations, professionals, students and entrepreneurs, governments in Ghana, Africa and across the globe who are interested in Africa and Africa’s development to discover hundreds of amazing ways of making a difference in our society; giving time, expertise, money and material resources will make a great difference in our community.”
The UN is leading change for many children, many communities, many nations. But what are we also doing at our local level, at our national level, to complement what the UN is doing?
The UN Economic and Social Council consists of several societies and organizations who are working on the ground to ensure that change is effected, and human dignity promoted. It is great news for us, and it is going to energize us to work harder. If we used to reach out to 1000 children in one year, with our new status, we should be able to reach out to 5, 000 children. That is our pledge now.”
By:tv3network.com/With additional files from the thesunonlinegh