The Upper West Regional chief Imam – Imam Osman Mahama Kanihe on the 13th of October 2022, launched an Educational Endowment Fund to help liberate the needy but brilliant Muslim Youth from the shackles of financial constraints.
According to the secretary of the board of directors – Mr. Zakaria Abdul Rahman, hinted that the Chief Iman Office over the years have received several applications from students and parents seeking for financial assistant with regard to financing their education or that of their wards.
He added that upon recognizing the endemic poverty level of the Muslim communities and appreciable lag in the educational attainment of the Muslim youth, the Office of the Upper West Chief Imam deem it necessary to put in conscious effort to find a sustainable solution to augment the sources of financing education in the Muslim Communities.
To this end the Chief Imam uncovered the establishment of an educational Endowment Fund as the fertile and sustainable antidote to the canker.
Hence the establishment of the Upper West Regional Chief Imam Educational Endowment Fund which shall be known as
The FUND shall be known and called, UPPER WEST REGIONAL CHIEF IMAM EDUCATIONAL ENDOWMENT FUND, herein referred to as the IMAMFUND.
The secretary further emphasized that embership shall be opened to all Muslims, corporate organizations, Islamic Organizations,
Philanthropist and other Non-Governmental Organizations may also contribute voluntarily to the FUND. Mr. also added that the Fund is non-profit making, non-ethnic however, the FUND is religious in nature, and thus shall be operated within the dictates of Islam.
Again, Mr. Zakaria Abdul Rahman postulates that the ImamFund shall enable the Regional Chief Imam’s Office to generate and provide material and financial resources towards the development of education in the Upper West Region and also Support aspiring and needy Muslim students to further their education.
The vision of the Fund is to see the Muslim society with a solid human capital base of viable professionals with strong Islamic values contributing meaningful towards the socio-economic development of Ghana and beyond.
The mission on the other hand indicates that the Fund exist to generate materials and financial resources towards the development of both circular and Islamic Education of Muslims in the upper West region and Ghana as a whole.
Mr. Zakaria Abdul Rahman stressed that, one key objective of the Fund is to support brilliant but needy students who have gotten admissions to pursue their education at the tertiary level.
Also, the Fund seeks to provide scholarship packages to at least 50 brilliant but needy students across the various levels of education in the region and beyond. Quite apart from this, the Fund shall facilitate in the acquisition of scholarships for at least 20 students to pursue various programs outside the country especially Islamic cooperative countries every year. In fact, he stated these and many other objectives the Fund seeks to achieve.
One important component that outlined the credibility of the Fund is its board of directors.
According to the secretary of the board, the Fund shall operate under the direction and guidance of a three-member Board of Directors. Membership shall mainly comprise of Reputable Individuals that would be appointed by the Chief Imam to serve a renewable three (3)-year term.
Other technocrats may also be co-opted unto the board with preapproval of the Chief Imam, as may be deemed necessary.
He therefore stressed that, the the Board of Directors shall meet biannually to assess progress of work, approve applications and make final funding decisions.
However, it is the intent of a guiding principle that the FUND shall be managed as a true endowment fund. Disbursement of the FUND will be supervised by a recognized committee members.
The Committee shall appraise applicants and conduct due diligence on their back ground to select deserving applicants and recommend them to the Board for approval for support. Disbursement of the Fund shall be done directly to the educational Institution on behalf of the applicant unless otherwise deem necessary.
All disbursement of the Fund shall be by cheque and not cash for proper financial accountability and prudence purposes,said the secretary.
On beneficiaries eligibility, Mr. Zakaria Abdul Rahman strictly indicated that the Fund shall support eligible brilliant-but-needy Muslim students, with demonstrable financial need, to meet part of their schooling expenses.
Eligibility is defined as a person being a Muslim, that hails from Upper West Region or whose parent or guardian resides and identify her or himself with issues of the Islamic community in Upper West Region.
Such a person must have had the requisite pass mark and is enrolled or about to be enrolled to pursue a course in a recognised tertiary institution in Ghana.
Importantly, the Fund is duely registered with the registrar generals department and also opened a bank account with Agricultural Development Bank who were largely represented at the venue. However, monies raised at the forum were handed over to the bank.
Interestingly, a non-muslim student who demonstrate real need and confront the Chief Imam Office with his/her case may be considered.
In conclusion, Mr. Zakaria Abdul Rahman reiterates that it’s the hope of the regional chief Imam that the Fund will help produce lawyers, accountants, medical doctors, architects, engineers, administrators, lecturers, and all the professionals.
The office of the regional chief Imam with that singular honour donated an amount of GHC 10,000 as seed capital for the Fund. However, an appeal for fund was done by a renowned Sheikh Ahmad Ya’kub and raised a cash amount of GHC 62,382.20 and ghc 28,000.
The seed capital was indeed generated within palace of the regional chief Imam and handed over to the bank with the amount raised.
Source: Sungmaale FM