Archive for December, 2008

For One World Benefit at Mad River in Philadelphia

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

For One World is having a benefit event at the Mad River in Philadelphia on Friday, January 9th, 2009 from 8:00-10:00pm.  Address is 126 Chestnut Street between 2nd and Front.

Here is how it works:

  1. Mention James Mattison at the door
  2. Pay a $10 cover charge (50% is a tax deductible charitable contribution to For One World)
  3. $1 beer, wine and mixed drinks from 8pm to 10pm

Annual Ask 2008

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Dear For One World Supporters!


I hope everyone is enjoying time spent with family/friends as we share the season of gift giving ending 2008 and starting 2009. While we look ahead to a happy new year, we have a long way to go to provide basic education for all children, something we consider a basic human right. I hope you will consider a gift to For One World. We are determined to accomplish our mission to provide basic education for all!


Please donate at:


Your gift will change lives (see additional info below) and I will personally deliver it to the school when I travel to Ghana scheduled for February 2009. Thank you from the school children, board members and volunteers of For One World.




James Mattison



PS please join our mailing list at, Join our facebook page: For One World and please let me know if you would like to join me in person on Jan 9th at a benefit event in Old City, Philadelphia. If you have any trouble getting connected please let me know!


Additional background on your charitable gift:

Your gift will go directly to providing basic education for children who would not otherwise have access to basic education. In 2008 none of our overhead costs were paid for by donations (ie 100% of our tax filing, website, etc costs were provided pro bono). Here is the break down of our 4 programs:

1.       Need based scholarships (~35% of 2008 donations): We fund scholarships to students of need in Techiman, Ghana, West Africa to attend the Ayi Owen International School. In my opinion we are saving these children’s lives! Really, we provide not only school fees but much needed medical attention, shoes, clothing, pens, paper, exercise books and other items required to attend (and be serious about) school. Many of these students graduate from Ayi Owen International School and are accepted into renown high schools where For One World is partnering with The Techiman Learning Resource Center (Local Non- Profit) to continue to fund their education until they are fully independent after secondary school. Need is determined locally by the founder Ayisatu (who’s passion comes from her not having had access to basic education). Ayi follows some basic criteria that works in a cash based society.

a.       Both parents are not present anywhere (ie orphan)

b.      One parent is present and in contact with the child but is without a job. (Example of “no job” could be sweeping and sifting sand after the outdoor market closes to collect rice that was dropped on the ground… then reselling that rice the next day)

c.       Child does not have any flip flops (ie Parents not able to take care of basic needs)

d.      Visibly malnourished

e.       Etc.

It is also worth noting that scholarships are reduced to “half scholarship” as soon as parents are able to pay half of the tuition. While it may seem unnecessary to ask these poor families to pay something so small it is a critical part of responsible giving. If scholarships are seen as a “hand out” local investment by parents will drop. Also we end up sending an inappropriate message about our gift.

2.       Collegiate Travel Grants (~15% of 2008 donations) Some skills are not attainable locally and volunteers are needed to travel to the school and assist. Dozens of applications are submitted to accomplish specific projects at the school and 1 or 2 volunteers are selected. Students have both a faculty sponsor and a For One World sponsor to review their project while volunteering for the summer. Areas in need are often in math and reading which are critical to the health of the school. We would not be able to achieve such high academic rankings without the assistance and energy our collegiate volunteers provided to the school. This program is important to For One World heritage since we were founded ~10 years ago by college students looking to help provide basic education for all. Please note that each year several additional college students fund their own travel to Ayi Owen International School to volunteer their time and skills. These students also have For One World sponsors and specific projects while volunteering at the school.

3.       Capital investments in the school (~10% of 2008 donations): In 2008 many capital expenditures were deferred because construction input costs were too high. Cement for example doubled in price in 2008 as well as nails and other basic supplies. Deferring that expenditure looks to have paid off because prices are falling and we hope to make more progress in 2009 on the physical infrastructure at the new site.

4.       The “Board trip” (0% of donations): This is a yearly program where For One World board members pay their own way to the school donating their time in specific areas for a short 1-2 weeks. Board members are often accompanied by a group of professionals traveling to the school bringing gifts from the schools “wish list” (ie microscopes, soccer balls, etc.) and making a personal commitment to the school of time and a monetary donation.

5.       Family scholarship for Girls (~40% of 2008 donations): In Ghana too often families make decisions to fund male students at the cost of pulling out female students to work at home. Very few schools have a 50% to 50% ratio of girls vs guys especially in the higher elementary school grades. To solve this problem The Techiman Learning Center (a Local NGO) partnered with For One World to set up a family scholarship program. With this program, additional family members attending the school attend for half scholarship which directly impacts female attendance. Furthermore, if parents choose to pull a daughter out of school while leaving a son to attend, the school administration will no longer accept the son. This policy keeps females in attendance at the school. There are many academic studies showing that educating girls brings significant returns compared to educating boys: Girls (not boys) education correlates with increased woman’s rights, lower population growth, improved family health, etc.


For One World has had tremendous success in 2008. Here are some highlights:

·         We opened a new school campus for the Ayi Owen International School with several classrooms being used already in the unfinished building. Someday this is going to allow us to expand from the present 276 students to over 1,000. Much more work is needed at the new campus including electricity, windows and finish the flooring, etc. Work is progressing this holiday season and most holidays when school is not in session.

·         We had a record fund raising year for the third year in a row. The vast majority of our donations come from small individual contributions. The number of small donations speaks to how broad our support base is. While we have received corporate donations we have been more successful to date via “grass roots” fund raising. It is similar to the donations collected 10 years ago from college students when For One World was founded and the first classroom of the Ayi Owen International School was built.

·         We have had great success with teaching and reading in the local language first before bridging over to an international language such as English (Ghana’s national language). The school successfully organized related cultural programs in arts and extra curricular activities (Soccer, Math club, Dance, Drama, etc.)

·         Ayi Owen school academic quality is at an all time high especially for the female students. We have recently ranked #3 out of 70 schools in the district on the national exam. These accomplishments were achieved with junior teachers and very basic physical buildings (one classroom is a “lean too” off an existing classroom without walls… We have deferred investments in physical structures and invested more heavily to buy books, basic science equipment, and to provide weekly teacher training). This year, some of our scholarship students (mostly females) have placed into the top high schools in the country with exceptionally high scores.


Before closing, one comment on sustainability and the educational landscape in Techiman, Ghana:

·          The government schools are defunct; many students are not in the classroom, and test results show broad illiteracy. The government schools have some of the best physical structures in town and some of the most qualified teachers but they are not teaching and often collect fees to supplement their income via extra tutoring sessions only the wealthier students can afford to attend. This has been compounded by rapid population growth which is driving many children (especially females) out of the educational system (ie “School is full, come back next year”). As a result many private schools have been formed. Unfortunately some see this as an opportunity to make a profit vs focusing on learning and performance. The Ayi Owen School is subsidized by the Techiman Learning Resource Center locally as well as the school fees that parents who pay. Local investment from businesses as well as parents is critical to establishing a sustainable school. However, to speed up learning and to reach higher standards, outside funding is important to supplement local efforts.


Looking ahead to 2009:

·         We would like to continue our Family Scholarship for Girls into 2009 and beyond.

·         We would like to double the number of students on need based scholarships at the Ayi Owen International School.

·         We would like to continue to provide at least one travel grant for a college student to volunteer his/her time at the school in an area of need.

·          Provided construction material costs continue to drop we would like to finish the first building on the new campus.

·          We would like to increase our donor base substantially and get the word out about For One Worlds mission.

Slide Show from 2007

Thursday, December 4th, 2008


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