Lydia Adomako receives Merry Fredrick Leadership Award

The Merry Fredrick Leadership Award was presented to Lydia Adomako on February 21, 2023, by SHI Board President Keith Swanson and SHI Executive Director Nora Tobin for demonstrating outstanding leadership in fulfilling Self-Help’s mission by empowering women and girls.

Lydia Adomako has worked on the Empowering Women and Girls team in the Self-Help Ghana office since July 2019 and was promoted from program officer to Micro-Credit Team Lead.

SHI Country Director Benjamin Kusi describes Lydia as “hardworking, dedicated to women empowerment and a unifier,” adding, “Lydia brings together other program leads working to empower women and girls to build synergies to better serve our clients.

Under Adomako’s leadership, the micro-credit program has grown to an unprecedented level in terms of loans portfolio and number of people served, without sacrificing quality of services provided or allowing the repayment rates to fall. The program maintains a 96% recovery rate in a region with an average loan repayment rate of 60%.  

The women served can boast of better economic conditions which have enabled them acquire farm equipment, build houses, send their children to school and contribute to support their external families. They are better respected in their communities because of the changes in their lives. 

“The roles that women play with spouses, children, community and in the marketplace are diverse and complicated,” said former Self-Help Executive Director Merry Fredrick. “I have always been impressed by the entrepreneurial talent of women in SHI’s micro-credit program.  Lydia’s position and expertise grant further understanding and continuing improved performance of each woman and each group.

Throughout 2021 and 2022, Adomako led her team to transition the software system used to track micro-loans issued to and recovered from rural women entrepreneurs. “It was a huge undertaking to transition data from an Excel spreadsheet filled with more than 20 years worth of data to modern accounting software fitting for a lending program that distributed GHS 1,637,200 (USD $126,000) in 2022,” said Executive Director Nora Tobin. “Lydia worked with her team to ensure that each woman’s accounts were accurately reconciled during the months-long transition process, maintaining data integrity and accountability and making sure each loan recipient was fairly credited for her contributions. 

“Beyond the accounts, Lydia takes the time to get to know clients personally – her phone is constantly ringing – and women of all ages consider her a trusted advisor and advocate,” Tobin continued. This award is a fitting recognition of her dedication and perseverance during a particularly tumultuous time in the Ghanaian economy.”

The Merry Fredrick Leadership Award was established by the Self-Help International Board of Directors in 2013 to recognize, initiate, or promote leadership based on merit and fulfillment of the mission of Self-Help International, and named in honor of retiring executive director Merry Fredrick. Lydia Adomako is the sixth recipient of the award.