In Ghana, Baha'i development efforts are praised

ACCRA, Ghana — The principles of the Bahá'í Faith "could shed light on what steps our society should take to improve our social and economic life," a senior government official told participants at the Bahá'í jubilee celebrations in this West African nation.

The theme of the 27-29 August 2004 celebrations, which commemorated the establishment of the Faith here 50 years ago, was "Spiritual Solutions for Social and Economic Problems."

"I sincerely believe that the theme chosen for this celebration is to engender our whole society to reflect on the principle that human nature is fundamentally spiritual," said Kwaku Agyeman Manu, the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.

"I urge the rest of us who are non-Bahá'ís to exhibit some of the good principles of religious humility, to examine the noble principles of the Bahá'í teachings," said Mr. Agyeman Manu.

During the past 50 years, the Bahá'ís of Ghana have been active in social and economic development programs. For example, the Olinga Foundation for Human Development has been promoting literacy and moral education classes in rural Ghana, reaching more than 5,000 children in some 150 primary and junior secondary schools.

The Bahá'í teachings were first brought to Ghana (then under British rule and called "the Gold Coast") in 1951 when Ethel Robertson Stephens, an African-American Bahá'í from the USA, came to Accra.

Another feature of the jubilee celebration was the awarding of prizes in a student essay competition organized by the Bahá'í community. Students throughout Ghana were asked to discuss four principles shared by at least four of the world’s main religions.

Bahá'í World News Service