Why didn’t you start an NGO in Ghana, instead of a guesthouse with a social mission?

Moon and Star Guesthouse, budget hostel with a social mission

This question has been asked by many people in different variations. The answer as to why I am not the founder of an NGO in Ghana is quite elaborate. In other words an excellent topic for a blog post.

After 6 months of volunteering in Ghana back in 2001 I realised that I would like to settle in ghana. Preferably near to Banko, the mountains, nature, peace and the community felt like home. That’s all nice and well, but I had to find something to make a living. During my first trip to Ghana I missed a travelers hub. A place where one could relax, enjoy great food and be in the surroundings of Kumasi.

Moon&Star is more than a guesthouse, we have a social mission and are passionate about everything we do.

Moon&Star could easily be a NGO in Ghana and the guesthouse would be a part of that Non profit organisation. But Asabere, Moon&Star’s co owner and me decided to opt against that. Many of are guest are asking me why, since we are volunteering ourselves, we support local projects and we honor many sponsor requests.

First of all I wouldn’t be the right person to lead the NGO in Ghana, Asabere would be. But he has different ambitions. I wanted to create a job for me which wouldn’t be interfering with the local community. In other words as a Dutch I don’t have to occupy a job that could be done by a local. Of course Ghanaians are able to start and run nice hotels, but believe me no Ghanaian wanted to build a guesthouse at Banko at that time.

Besides that we work together with and volunteer for the Dutch NGO ‘Crossing borders for Ghana’. Anja van der Valk founded the organisation and local leaders in Ghana are managing the NGO. This NGO has no overhead costs, Anja even pays for the yearly plane tickets herself. Anja wrote a guest blog for Moon&Star if you are interested in reading more about that.

In my opinion an NGO, in Ghana in this case, should have low overhead costs

Thirdly, you can call me naive or idealistic. But I believe that an NGO should be non-profit institutions, but they should also put their causes first. When I see that a foundation funds high salaries, plane tickets, big cars, offices and houses, it just doesn’t sit well with me. Especially when a local can run the NGO as well, most of the time a local is even better equipped for the job. Please note that I’m not trying to critisize NGO’s in Ghana, I am merely expressing my feelings/thoughts.

As of yet we don’t have a car and I travel mainly with local transport. Besides that I don’t own a house filled with luxury. But when I take the children to the beautiful Lake Bosumtwi for a week or when we go somewhere nice for a day, I don’t want to have the feeling that I’m paying for it with donations. And in future when we might be able to afford a car, I also don’t want justify the fact that I have a car.

You don’t have to start an NGO to be a socially conscious business.

Moon&Star guesthouse is a guesthouse with a social mission, we believe in sustainable tourism based on equality.

We host guests, local guests as well as tourists, organize trips to Ghana and place volunteers for the NGO ‘Crossing borders for Ghana’.

Our wish for all our guests is that you enjoy everything that Moon&star has to offer: relaxing atmosphere, amazing food, great hospitality, breath taking surroundings and the company of other guests, the staff and Pat.

Furthermore, we want to give you the best possible Ghana experience, so that when you get back home you feel that you got to know more about the beautiful country, the people and their customs. We will help you any way we can, by giving advice, by having a chat, by joining you on a walk to town or into nature or by arranging a car, guide or day trip.

Are you looking for a holiday address with a focus on sustainable tourism? Send us a mail, visit our website or use the Whats App chat button to make an appointment for a Whats App video call.