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Records of YMCA international work in Ghana

Identifier: Y.USA.9-2-35


Includes correspondence, minutes, reports, financial documents, and other records of the YMCA movement in Ghana. Most of the collection is focused within the 1970s and 1980s and is geared towards the various projects that the United States YMCA and other United States assistance groups were helping to fund within Ghana. The assistance groups, besides the YMCA, most predominantly listed are the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Rural Enterprise Guidance Association (REGA), Goodwill International and Sister Cities International.

Projects documented in this collection include the Family Life Education and Counseling Program (FLEC), the Rural Marketing Cooperative Project, the Rural Vocational Education Project, Tailoring School for Handicapped Persons, the Sekondi-Takoradi Project, the Ecumenical Education and Human Development project, the Oakland-Ghana YMCA project and the Development of Rural Marketing Co-op (DRMC). Most are geared towards community and rural development in Ghana, mainly in the area of Accra.

As indicated in this collection, the United States YMCAs contribution to Ghana was financial in nature and was motivated through the adoption of projects that could assist the Ghanaian people rather than through the installation of US YMCA secretaries to that region. Moses Perry is mentioned throughout the records and is responsible for the implementation of many of the projects mentioned here.


  • Creation: 1959-1991
  • Creation: Majority of material found within ( 1970s-1980s)


Language of Materials


Use of Materials:

This collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright, ownership, and to obtain all the necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials.


The YMCA was one of the earliest voluntary organizations in Ghana. It was started by Wilkins Micaber Abbey in 1890 in Accra and was initially named the Accra United YMCA. During this same time the Bremen Missions in Togoland were also encouraging the growth of the YMCA movement. A number of YMCAs grew up in Ghana, though they were mostly attached to churches and missions and did not come together to form a movement.

During World War II the British YMCA extended work for its armed forces in Ghana and the YMCA began to come into the public eye. After the war, efforts were made to further develop YMCA work in Ghana with financial and staff assistance from Great Britain, Germany and the United States. The National Council of Ghana headquarters was established in Accra and became the location for all YMCA functions. The Ghana YMCA soon operated actively within seven separate regions, Greater Accra, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Western, Central, Eastern and Volta, each of which had a full time secretary. By 1961 the Ghana YMCA was a full member of the World Alliance of YMCAs and by 1981 there were 36 local YMCAs operating within the country, consisting of 12,000 adult members and 6,000 youths. Each association was autonomous, had its own board of managers, and designed its own programs.

Major program areas common to all of the YMCAs in Ghana focused on formal and non-formal education and rural work. Educational programs included adult education and literacy programs; a vocational training center in Accra that provided training in carpentry and masonry; a Rural Enterprise Guidance Association (REGA) project in Ashanti, where craftsmen and women in kente weaving, adinkra printing, clay pot making and wood carving industries were organized in cooperative societies and assisted in basic small business management; and the Family Life Education and Counseling (FLEC) program; which was designed to inform the youth and adults about the significance of married life, parenthood and to relate information about family planning. Rural work programs included health clinics, day care centers, family planning, model farms, leadership training, primary schools, and a program for the development of rural market cooperatives. The latter were focused on the Eastern region of Ghana and designed to upgrade existing methods of distribution and marketing of foodstuffs and agricultural products of farmers on a cooperative basis, create permanent or temporary employment opportunities through cooperative ventures, encourage the spirit of initiatives and self help, and provide leadership training on farm management and cooperatives.

The Ghana YMCA in the 1980s hoped to extend development projects to all regional YMCA centers, consolidate YMCA work, improve the financial base of the movement and develop new programs that could meet the needs of Ghana's young people. It developed a program with Sister Cities International and Goodwill International in the United States in order to get assistance in determining what vocational training services and/or job creation activities were required to meet the needs of the Sekondi-Takoradi area. The program was also used to determine how existing government and private agencies might provide training opportunities to youth, especially youth with disabilities in the communities of Sekondi-Takoradi.

In the early 1990s the Ghana YMCA re-emphasised the need for the further development of Ghanaian society. The YMCA continued to assist Ghana in facilitating development processes through community development, self-help programs and neighborhood collaboration. In the early 2000s the Ghana YMCA expanded their scope to also focus on the educational campaign against HIV/AIDS. The YMCA National Council of Ghana also strove to maintain the forest resources in their country. This was necessitated by the fast approach of the Sahara Desert in Northern Ghana and the country's loss of their natural resources. The Ghana YMCA also adopted a Women Empowerment Program that allowed for self sufficiency and financial independence among Ghanaian women.

(Historical information largely adapted and quoted from "YMCA International- World Alliance of YMCAs: Ghana" (, 2010; retrieved August 8, 2012), and from the collection.)


.7 Cubic Feet (2 boxes)


Correspondence, minutes, reports, financial documents, and other records of the YMCA movement in Ghana, especially in the area around Accra, and mainly describing various projects that the United States YMCA and other United States assistance groups were helping to fund.

Physical Location

See Detailed Description section for box listing.

Processing Information:

Processed as part of Fast Processing Project II, March 2009, as collection FP021. Material has been minimally processed. Folder descriptions may be general and material has not been grouped into series.

Catalog Record ID number: 6412097

An Inventory of Its Records
Finding aid prepared by Lara Friedman-Shedlov and Melanie Doherty.
Language of description
Script of description
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Collecting Area Details

Contact The Kautz Family YMCA Archives Collecting Area