Can Soup change Accra?

By | August 1, 2015

Feature Article of Saturday, 1 August 2015

Columnist: Al-Smith, Gary


Accra SOUP hopes to be the change the city needs

So many bad things have happened in Accra over the years; from floods, fires, cholera to buildings collapsing and authorities have only had knee-jerk reactions to attempt to respond to calls for reform.

A new initiative by some residents of Accra wants to help reverse the cycle of Accra’s bad press and reclaim Accra for its citizens.

This cosmopolitan village of ours deserves the best and has to have the best. Accra needs fresh ideas to solve its problems and a group of young residents believe light soup can do the magic.

Accra SOUP is a micro-granting dinner to fund, celebrate and support creative social projects in Accra. It is Accra’s response to the global SOUP movement started in Detroit.

It’s a simple concept: people turn up to the dinner, pay 5 cedis at the door and they get soup and a vote.

What are they voting for?

Attendees listen to four people pitch an idea to improve Accra. Pitchers cannot talk for more than four minutes and cannot use PowerPoint. The presentations are followed by four questions from the audience.

The ideas that are presented range from art, urban agriculture, social justice, social work, education, technology and more. In fact, any brilliant idea that can change Accra.

After the presentations, delicious soup (light soup) is served; Ghana style. The audience is encouraged to come along with their own foods as well to add to it and share with others; i.e. Potluck style. But this is optional.

At SOUP, attendees eat, meet, talk, share resources, enjoy art and most importantly; VOTE for the idea they think benefits Accra the most.

At the end of the night, ballots and the money are counts. The idea with the most votes gets to take home all the 5 cedis taken at the door and use it to fund their plan, with the promise that, they will come back in three months to report on their progress.

No agreements are signed and winners do not need to possess grade (A) financial knowledge.

They just tell the public what they want to do and then it is the public that determines whose project they like the most in a truly democratic process and they back it up with their 5 cedis. If you get to the door and you would like to give more than 5 cedis, that would also be absolutely fantastic.

Accra SOUP’s organizers are independently funded and do not take a percentage of any of the money collected at the door. The pot of cash goes directly to the winning project to carry out their project.
The first SOUP dinner is scheduled for August 1, 2015 at Ghana Institute of Journalism from 5.30 to 7.30pm

If you are unhappy about Accra’s condition and would like to live in a better city, you should stop by on Saturday, have some soup, meet new people, know your neighboursand network with community-minded individuals.

The saying; put your money where your mouth is has never been any clearer.