By Betty Baba
It has been two months since I arrived in Ghana. I can’t believe the time has gone so fast! I expected differently, considering my tight three month schedule. But I’m so thrilled to share my experience, 18 years after my last visit to Ghana.
There is lots to tell about my arrival, settlement, what I think about the country, the life style and my experience as a gender consultant. I arrived in Accra (Kotoka International Airport) very late in the evening. I was received by the Chief Executive Officer of SEND WEST AFRICA, Mr. Siapha Kamara and the Human Resources Manager and accompanied to a hotel where I spent the next two days. On the third day my apartment was ready for me. The following week, I attended the Board meeting and as you can see from the photo below, the majority of the Board members are men.
From left: Administrative Assistant, 2 Drivers, and the Security Man
Meeting with Mr. Siapha kamara, CEO of SEND WEST AFRICA
Ghana, what is it like?
I am living close to the Sakumono intersection and the Nungua Barrier Road, a part of the Accra Tema Beach Road. The Sakumono Road is very narrow and always congested. There are no speed ramps, rumble strips – nothing for demarcation. It’s not well protected for commuters, motorists and pedestrians. Safety is NOT assured and one has to be watchful before crossing the street.
Sakumono Road – Nungua Intersection
My new abode is in a residential area and a “stone’s throw” to my office.
I have not experienced either water or electricity shortages in my new place. In my last place, I had to purchase extra buckets and extra water containers in case of water shortages. The only discomfort I experience now is coping with a noisy environment, the mosquitoes and washing my clothes by hand, which is really very hard .
I prefer the local markets in the center of Accra, where I can buy vegetables and fruits, meat, fish, kitchen pots and pans…
Some of the imported commodities such as chocolate, cheese, French bread, wines, yogurt, mustard, ice cream, oysters… are extremely expensive.
A Ghanaian woman exhibits her ornaments in a local Trade Fair.
Along the side roads, in the local restaurants, servers are always happy to help you with the food of your choice = that is extremely palatable. In addition to all these delicious, prepared street foods, you can also buy fresh foodstuffs of your choice; plantains, cassavas, papayas, red beans and rice, bananas. These are abundant and inexpensive – 50 cents for 5.
I participated in several staff meetings scheduled on Mondays. During the sessions a review of the previous week’s activities are presented and up-coming event plans are discussed.
My task as a Gender Advisor is to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the organization since the last three gender audits, assess the management systems and procedures in terms of whether or not they create an enabling and equitable environment for both women and men staff, and to make suggestions for improvement on the policies and strategic plans for the year 2020.
Men dominate staff meetings