The Ark was legally registered in Ghana in 1995. However it began formally operating from February, 1999. It was founded by its Executive Director, Angela Dwamena-Aboagye, a lawyer and a Women’s empowerment Advocate. It has been governed by a Board of Directors and its Management Team, headed by the Executive Director. The organization has been supported by core staff, volunteers and interns from national and international educational institutions.
In services provision, the organization established the first Shelter in Ghana for battered women and children in 1999. Together with its Crises Centre in Haatso, the Counseling Centre in Tontro, Eastern Region, and the Legal Centre in New Town, Accra, The Ark provided counseling, legal aid, small assistance grants, shelter, rehabilitation and resettlement to over 3000 persons, majority being abused women and children between 1999 and 2016. The cases handled by the Anti-Violence Program of The Ark included domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, neglect, abuse and non-maintenance of children, child trafficking, child marriage and other harmful traditional practices. These were done in collaboration with the Domestic Violence and Victims’ Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, medical, judicial and social services agencies.
Employing the strategies of policy and legislative advocacy, training and education, The Ark played a spearheading role with like-minded organizations in the reform of legislation to deal with issues such as Domestic Violence, Female Genital Mutilation, and other relevant legislation and policies geared towards better protection of women and children from abuse and violations in the country. The Ark has trained several police, medical, judicial and NGO practitioners and personnel in these issues across Ghana. The organization also set up a mobile training institute which targeted young women between ages 18 – 40 for leadership development. Named Women’s Law and Human Rights Institute, about 1000 young women benefitted from this program between 2001 and 2015. In conjunction with other women-focused organizations, The Ark spearheaded the formation of a number of civil society networks and coalitions, including Sisters’ Keepers, Gender Violence Survivors’ Support Network, the Network for Women’s Rights, the National Coalition on Domestic Violence Legislation and the Ghana National Coalition on Rights of Children.
In Public education, the organization reached more than two million persons through schools, markets, streets, churches, hospitals and other public spaces outreaches, across rural and urban populations in particular with its anti-violence against women and children campaigns.
Until recently, The Ark has partnered with several development agencies and donors to fulfil its mission. These include ACTIONAID Int. Ghana, African Women’s Development Fund, CORDAID of The Netherlands, PLAN Ghana, Women’s World Day of Prayer, French Embassy, Royal Netherlands Embassy, Democracy and Human Rights Fund, US Embassy Ghana, CIDA, Ghana Research and Advocacy Program (G-RAP), Norwegian Human Rights Fund, Mamacash, The World Bank, Global Fund for Women, OSIWA, World Education/Ambassador Girls’ Scholarship Programme, USA, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program of the State Department, USA, Rights and Voice Initiative, Star-Ghana, RAVI-Ghana, UNIFEM, UNFPA, UNDP, Vodafone Foundation and Michael Essien Foundation, among others. All the projects and programs under these donor-funded initiatives have been successfully reported on, accounted for, and concluded.
After 17 years of work, the organization transited into a full-fledged Christian Mission organization.