The Chief Executive officer of the Zongo Development Fund (ZoDF), Dr. Arafat Sulemana Abdulai, has received the prestigious Ghana Order of Merit award for 2021, in recognition of his selfless and relentless pursuit of development in Zongo communities.
The award is the highest echelon (overall winner) among the impressive array of awards presented to distinguished Ghanaians who have excelled in various fields of endeavour.
Dr. Abdulai garnered the overall winner’s award in addition to the Community Leadership Award presented by the Ghana Leadership Awards as a result of his “extraordinary and outstanding” achievements and merit in the advancement of education, health and economic empowerment in Zongo communities.
The Awards ceremony which took place last Saturday in Accra, witnessed the presentation of various categories to prominent Ghanaians in the public and private sectors.
In his acceptance speech, an elated Dr. Abdulai expressed gratitude to the organizers and extolled the collective hard work of management and staff of the ZoDF, in the successes chalked by the Fund, within a short time.
Dr. Abdulai conveyed his deep appreciation to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the unalloyed support of Vice President Dr. Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia in the establishment of the ZoDF. He said the establishment of ZoDF was designed to foster the inclusion of deprived Zongo communities in the development agenda of the country. He noted that when the ZoDF was established many did not believe in the actualization of its mandate.
However, events such as the Awards programme had clearly vindicated the vision that led to the establishment of the ZoDF.
Dr. Abdulai also stated that the negative perception about Zongo communities is gradually phasing out due partly to the positive intervention of government and the ZoDF in the implementation of development-oriented policies. He said the ZoDF has brought wide-ranging programmes and projects in Zongo communities. Over 200 projects have been completed, while 512 other projects are at various stages of completion.
The projects, Dr. Abdulai continued, include fully furnished six-unit classroom blocks; mechanized water systems; ICT Labs; community health and recreation centres (astro turfs); community and institutional places of convenience. Others are Zongopreneur for 1,200 Zongo youth, and scholarship grants for brilliant but needy Zongo youth pursuing tertiary education.
In the year 2022, the ZoDF is poised to accelerate its programmes and projects, Dr. Abdulai declared. The construction of 16 model senior high schools would commence with the first phase of the project involving the first three to be located at Kasoa (Central Region), Edubiase (Ashanti Region) and Sagnarigu in the Northern Region.
Dr. Abdulai thanked the organizers for the two awards and assured the impressive gathering that the award would provide further impetus for the attainment of even greater development in Zongo communities.
The Ghana Leadership Awards is an annual event which acknowledges and celebrates outstanding and exemplary leadership that has impacted positively on deprived and marginalized communities.
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