Akwaaba from Ghana!

Akwaaba (“Welcome” in Twi) from Accra; Ghana’s capital city. With a metropolitan population of 4.3 million people Accra is a bustling city constantly on the go. Living in Accra is to be constantly surrounded by heat and humidity, as well as the smells of people’s perfume, street food stalls, and diesel fumes that allow vehicles to continue driving even during flood conditions. We arrived during the beginning of the rainy season, so humidity is high, and rain is becoming almost a daily occurrence; sometimes gentle and warm, sometimes torrential and dangerous.

Our home in Kpeshi, Accra, Ghana.

 

We’ve arrived and are all living together like one big family in our Barbie dreamhouse pink house in Kpeshie, a suburb of Accra. We will be spending half of our time here in Accra, with the remainder spent in rural Northern Ghana with one group in Yua and the other in Sirigu. The amenities in Accra are better than any of us were expecting with our own kitchen, plenty of bathrooms, and lots of overhead fans to help keep us cool. Two of our group (Heather Bauman and Madison Russel) have been in Africa previously and so had a better idea of what to expect, while the others (Heather Ellis and Mark Rossi) have not traveled outside North America or Europe.

Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum for the founder of Ghana, in Accra.

We spent our first days getting Ghanaian phone numbers, groceries, trying local food, and going to beaches. We also got to meet our wonderful neighbour, Jennifer Agazere, and seeing some culturally significant landmarks while we tried to acclimatize to the heat. Some of the first places we visited were Independence square, the museum for Ghana’s founder Kwame Nkrumah, and the local artists market. We learned much about Ghana’s independence from Britain, which they gained in 1957, a brief 2 years before Newfoundland became part of Canada. We are also doing our best to support small crafters in the local economy, visiting markets to buy food and purchase gifts for our loved ones back home.

We are here to help small rural subsistence farmers increase their animals’ health and wellbeing by counselling in animal nutrition, importance of vaccination and deworming protocols, and appropriate housing. We can then troubleshoot the issues they face with limited resources, remote locations, and using only locally available materials that are environmentally friendly. This should have the trickle-down affect of increasing the production value of their animals, which will help raise the level of their families’ nutrition and their income. We hope this will increase the local populations and environmental health in the area as well. Since women are more likely to be the owners or poultry, and those that care for most of the small farmers livestock, we assist in empowering women in their communities. We are going to achieve this by running educational workshops, working with farmers one on one to troubleshoot issues, working with local women’s groups, and providing free vaccination and deworming to local animals.

The rest of the small herd of Nigerian Dwarf Goats waiting their turn for deworming and vitamin injections.
Heather Bauman deworming a Nigerian Dwarf Goat owned by a local farmer, being assisted with restraint of the goat by local partner and Veterinary Health Technician Isaac Bentil.

We are working with the Ghanaian Poultry Network (GAPNET) run by Ghana veterinarian Dr. Anthony Nsoh Akunzule, and organization that runs educational workshops and seminars to help farmers learn how to get the most out of their animals. Our local supervisor is Dr. Geoffrey Akabua, a veterinarian that has practiced both in Canada and Ghana and a great go-between for the differences between veterinary practice in Canada and Ghana. Gloria Essel, and employee of GAPNET and a fast friend, has been helping us get settled in our new home for the next three months. She is making sure we know where to get groceries and supplies, helping us plan weekend entertainment, and showing us culturally significant landmarks around southern Ghana. She has taken us to things such as Elmina Castle, a dark reminder of the history of the slave trade in West Africa, Boti waterfalls, and the Kakum National Park and the famous Canopy Walk which is 40 metres above the forest floor.

 

 

Animal Production Updates from Tamale

Well, here I sit again in Tamale, Ghana, one of my most favorite places on earth. The start of many more memories and work in advancing animal agriculture with the wonderful people of the Eastern Corridor. One remarkable thing about returning to a place you love is to return to the same sights, sounds and smells, where it seems nothing has changed but continued on in your absence. And welcoming you warmly, like the touch of the suns strong rays, back into the day to day bustle of life in Tamale.

It’s been a busy month since I arrived in Accra the middle of January. I had my share of troublesome days with missed connections, lost luggage and computer problems but the good memories will far out weigh the bad. In the days since I arrived I have reconnected with friends from across the world who have embraced me back with open arms. The staff at Send- Ghana, as always, have been there for me to help in anyway they can and ensure that I am settling right back in at home. The temperature adjustment was much harder this time, as when I left my home town it was nearly -20°C and a major snow storm had met us just the night my departure. Stepping off the plane in Accra felt like I had been slapped in the face with a wall of intense heat. But as usual our bodies tend to adjust and now the 35-40 °C weather feels somewhat normal again.

Earlier this month, Dr. Joseph Danquah, another VWB volunteer, and I were invited to speak to two women’s groups in Wulensi who raise poultry together as a group effort. We spoke to both groups on aspects of animal rearing, in particular, I spoke about poultry nutrition, proper feeding supplementation. Up until now these women had been apart of a project put on by another organization and had received funding for the construction of their barns, purchasing of animals as well as provided with a commercially formulated feed. We hope that through our discussions regarding bio security measures, proper animal husbandry from Dr. Danquah and feeding requirements on my part; when the funding ends, the women can continue to successfully raise their poultry with feeds that are formulated on farm rather then the expensive commercial feeds that will no longer be provided.

Women in Wulensi learning to formulate poultry feed

We also had the opportunity to return to villages that we had visited last year to see what progress they have made in terms of animal production. This was one of the most rewarding visits I ever had. The community members were so elated to see me return and proud to show the changes that they had made in terms of rearing their animals. This really portrayed how well the knowledge that we have transferred has produced a viable change to these community members lives.  I look forward to getting back into the field next week to complete more sensitization sessions, focusing on proper animal nutrition and health management. Keep following the VWB blog link for more updates from Tamale!

Young Volunteer Updates from Yua

Wυntεεŋa (Good afternoon) from Yua, Ghana! We’ve been in Yua for a month and a half now, and can’t believe how fast the time is passing! As per our last blog post, we had a busy first week here, getting the ball rolling on all the activities we had planned to help the community. Now that we have almost completed all of them, we can delve deeper into the components behind them.

Upon our arrival, we realized that vaccines were of the greatest interest to community members. According to the farmers, their sheep, goats, and fowl were dying in large numbers from preventable diseases, particularly during the months of March and October. Luckily, we arrived right before the next predicted bout of illnesses, thus we spent most of our time
administering vaccinations in order to help as many Yua members as possible. Administered vaccines included: Newcastle disease for fowl, Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) for sheep and goats, and Rabies for dogs.

– Newcastle disease is a contagious viral disease, that is transmissible to humans. Unfortunately, no treatment is available for the disease, but it can be prevented through prophylactic vaccines. The vaccines administered are called I-2, which are manufactured right in Ghana! We have been able to immunize approximately 2000 fowl, which include some chickens and guinea fowl.

– PPR is a highly contagious viral disease that, in Ghana, affects mostly sheep and goats. There are no available treatments for the disease, although supportive care can be given in order to aid the animal in recovery. Unfortunately, lack of funds and resources in Yua prevent farmers from being able to afford supportive care for their affected livestock, resulting in large amounts of deaths. This is why vaccination against PPR is so important for the community. We vaccinated around 1400 sheep and goats, reaching 190 different families throughout the community.

Yuqing vaccinating goats.

Lastly, Rabies is a viral disease that is transmissible to humans, as well as other mammals, and has no treatment available. Dogs, being a large vector for rabies, are free to roam around the community, resulting in increased risks of dog bites. Recently, there has been an international focus on eradicating rabies globally by the year 2030. In order to take part of
the global initiative, we saw no better place to start than with Yua! We vaccinated 60 dogs against the virus in the community.

Nima vaccinating a puppy from Rabies.

While vaccinating, we were able to educate the farmers on the disease and give them some background on the organizations that brought us to them. Community members were very thankful, and came in large numbers to take advantage of the great project put forward through GAPNET and Veterinarians Without Borders.

Our next big project has been creating a fowl-rearing protocol in order to decrease deaths in young keets. Farmers have repeatedly mentioned losing large numbers of chicks at very young ages, and are unsure as to why. In order to come up with a solution, we set up an experiment where we raised half the chicks under optimized conditions within the means of community members, and the other half were raised under traditional methods in Yua.

Traditional methods allow the chicks and their mother to roam free throughout the day, to forage for their own food and water. At night, they are given shelter, and small amounts food and water. As they roam immediately after hatching, large amounts of chicks tend to die due to starvation, predation, exhaustion, and heat loss. In contrast, optimized conditions allow the chicks to be in an enclosed and safe area with their mother for the first two weeks of rearing. The chicks are then also provided with food and water, while the mother provides them with heat. All of these provisions allow the chicks to survive through their most vulnerable life stage. We are currently a week and a half into our experiment, and have yet to lose one chick using our optimized protocol.

Our brooding hen with some of her chicks.

On our time off, we were able to explore the area and spend time with the community. One of our most interesting adventures, has been to visit the Paga Crocodile Pond, where we met a 78 year old crocodile, and saw dozens of others. The crocodiles in Paga are not domesticated, but they maintain a positive mutual relationship with the locals of Paga.

Nima with the 78 year-old crocodile!

Our local guide, Issaka, invited us to his sister-in-laws graduation ceremony. The ceremony was quite different than what we see in North America. Rather than robes, diplomas and hand shaking, graduating in the Upper East involves a large dancing event! Family members and friends dance up to the graduates, and give them monetary gifts to start their
businesses. We had a great time listening to Ghanaian music, and seeing the locals dance.

The graduates table with family and friends.
Yuqing and Grace dancing in line to present their gifts to the graduate.

Project update from Tamale, Ghana

This past month, we have travelled to two districts in the Northern region of Ghana to meet farmers in rural communities.  The road was often rough but our driver expertly avoided the potholes that the rain created in the dirt road.  We departed early every morning for the communities so we could meet the farmers before they left for their farms.  

Cows on the road in the village.While we greeted the members of the community in the local language, chairs and benches were brought and placed in a circle under the shade of a tree.  Ghana has a large diversity of ethnic groups and languages and it’s a fun challenge to learn the proper greeting for each community we visited.  In respect of the local custom, we accompanied our guide to greet the chief of the community to explain our presence, and to receive his approval before we spoke to the farmers.  Once the members of the community had assembled, we began our presentation.

We shared information about good animal husbandry and spoke about providing shelter, feed and water to the animals.  We also provided sensitization on disease prevention and control and proper maintenance of a shelter.  By implementing these animal care practices, we hope that farmers will be able to increase their animal production as well as their income.

Following our presentation, we invited farmers to share their experiences with animal husbandry and we found their stories inspirational.  Some of them had already improved their animal care practices and reported increased production, and were able to sell their meat and eggs at the market for additional income.

A shelter used for pigs .

Although the communities showed a great interest in animal production, they also faced significant constraints.  Major challenges preventing the start or expansion of animal production include limited access to water, medicine, veterinary services and start-up capital.  High mortality rates due to disease also prevent the growth of their herd or flock size.  The community members asked many questions and we did our best to address their needs and discuss possible solutions that could be implemented.  We always tried to respect the local culture and way of thinking as we shared ideas.

A picture taken following our presentation in the community of Kpembe.

We hope that sharing knowledge and skills with farmers will enable them to improve their animal production.  By empowering farmers, they can become their own agents of change, and promote sustainable development in their communities to help improve their livelihoods.

Hello from Yua!

Ya Bulika (Good morning) from Yua, Ghana! We’ve currently been in Yua, a village in the Upper East Region for a little over a week, and have adapted to the rural life.

Prior to our arrival in Yua, we spent a few weeks in Accra, Ghana’s capital, where we participated in quite a few interesting activities. Yuqing took part in a rabies workshop aimed to evaluate and improve Ghanaian surveillance systems and action plans to decrease rabies prevalence in both humans and animals. Once Nima arrived, we shadowed a practicing veterinarian, who brought us along for cattle vaccination, poultry farm evaluations, and livestock market monitoring. These visits helped us understand the role of livestock in Ghana, allowing us to prepare an action plan for our project in Yua.

Our project in Yua is tied to GAPNET, an NGO with a new relationship to VWB, and we are the first group of VWB volunteers to work with them. GAPNET aims to promote sustainable development, by providing both resources and knowledge on livestock husbandry and it’s relation to human health to Ghanaians. This is exactly what we will be doing throughout the summer in Yua, with the help our supervisors: Dr. Geoffrey Akabua and Dr. Anthony Akunzule.

 

Yuqing, Nima, and Dr. Geoffrey Akabua with the head chief and sub-chiefs of Yua

A few days after our arrival in Yua, we visited the community leaders which included the head Chief. We introduced ourselves, and explained our purpose for visiting their village. This meeting was extremely important to our project, as we needed to receive permission from the leaders to work in the community.

Our first veterinary activity in Yua, involved students from Yua Junior High School. Drilling for Hope, an American NGO, provided 25 single-parent school children with fowls to take care of. We visited these students to check-up on their fowl, and provide them with vaccinations against Newcastle Disease.

High School Student outreach treating New Castle

Our next activity, was vaccinating sheep, goats and dogs belonging to women involved in women’s groups in Yua. In two days, we vaccinated 400 sheep and goats against Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), and a dozen dogs against Rabies. Although 400 seems like a large number, we will also be doing multiple community vaccination clinics throughout Yua, for an estimated 1200 more livestock within the next month.

Administering eye-drop vaccines against Newcastle Disease

One of our most important activities this week involved presenting a seminar on livestock husbandry to women’s groups in Yua. A total of 50 women, from five different groups joined us to discuss proper sheltering, feeding, and disease control for small ruminants; rearing of Guinea Fowl Chicks; importance of veterinary care for livestock; and, drought resistant plants to provide feed to both livestock and humans during the dry season.

Yuqing leading an educational session.
Dr. Geoffrey Akabua, Nima, Dr. Anthony Akunzule, and Yuqing with seminar participants.

Ghanaian Living: Samantha Canning

Sitting here at the SEND Ghana office in Tamale listening to the sounds of passing goats, motorbikes and people, is something surreal. I have been in Ghana for about a month and a half now and each day is different. Tamale has certainly not been predicable and I am loving it! Of course with anything there is a period of adjustment where you think to yourself, ‘what did I get myself into?’ But before long you realize this is exactly what you wanted and needed. The time passes and with each day you become a little more involved, dedicated, and accustomed to the differences

I arrived in Accra on May 2 and the following morning took a flight to Northern Ghana, Tamale. Accra is much too busy for me and when I arrived in Tamale I realized that it was going to be perfect.  Once I arrived I headed to the SEND office here where I met the staff who are so welcoming and friendly. My placement supervisor, Patience, and I immediately clicked, joked, and laughed, and I knew things would be great during my placement. SEND and VWB have been partnered since June 2016 and work together to improve nutrition and livelihoods of local smallholder farmers, all while addressing issues of gender equality. If you haven’t read about SEND-Ghana and their work, in particular in Northern Ghana, you should check out their website.

SEND GHANA office signs in Salaga

Last week I was in the field for presentations first travelling to Salaga and from there to Chamba each day. I was in the Chamba area for three days and I held 8 different community workshops on animal nutrition to community members. I arrived at my first community and I was invited to sit in under a huge, beautiful tree where I was shocked to see the number of people that were beginning to gather around me (and I will admit, I was a little nervous). We were expecting about 10-15 people and I ended up with well over 40. As we worked on finding a translator within the group, I started talking with them and my nerves began to disappear. Before long I felt like I was among old friends and through my presentation they were so attentive and interested in the knowledge that I could offer them. At the end of each meeting I like to ask the participants their challenges. By hearing these stories of local farmer’s experiences I gain knowledge to share with others -this has been the most interesting part for me. I especially encourage the women to share as they are the main caretakers for most of the animals, in particular poultry. I love to hear how they have come up with unique ways to increase the animals feed with things from their home, such as cassava flour. The days were long and hot but the experience is something that I will appreciate, treasure and never forget.

Workshop on Animal Nutrition in the community of Wudomiabra

During one of the workshops it began to get very windy and looked like rain was near. Let me put this into perspective; the farmers have been waiting for the long, overdue, rainy season. They were very nervous about whether the crops will have enough to be successful. As we were in the middle of the session it started pouring so we all packed up and ran into the nearby schoolhouse to continue our sessions, in the dark, as the power had gone out. We could barely be heard over the rain beating against the metal roof all while the local farmers were as interested as ever, so the loud rain did not hinder the presentation in the slightest.

After we finished a young man that I had met previously during another workshop the day before stood up to thank us for our efforts to better his community and because of our good wishes and messages for them, they were awarded the rain. This made me feel so very honored to have met these farmers, in particular this young man who despite all of his hardships, he is still so dedicated to succeeding and this is a lesson that I will carry with me. I can only hope to be half the person he is.

I have met so many interesting people since my arrival and I am sure that the list will continue to grow. I am looking forward to holding more workshops. Through each meeting I gain something as an individual, not only in terms of animal nutrition practices, but as well as personally. My goal through my work here has been to assist families to become more successful by diversifying into animal production as well as crop production, thereby increasing profits. Farmers are realizing that as the rains are becoming less predictable they cannot depend on just the crops so by adding animal rearing we can help increase available income. Although, rearing animals needs to be considered a business and therefore, some training is needed regarding the feeding of these animals to turn profits. Without proper care, the animals will not bring the benefits that we wish to see and the local farmers that I have discussed this with are very positive regarding the change on how they rear their animals.

I am so thankful for this wonderful experience, for VWB, SEND-Ghana and for all the work they have already completed and what is yet to come. I am so grateful to be a part of it! Stay tuned for my updates from Tamale.

Experiencing Ghana

Written by Lydie-Amy and Stephanie, participants in the Young Volunteer Program in Ghana working with SEND Ghana.

Dasiba! Good morning from Tamale, Ghana!

We find it hard to believe that we have spent almost a month in this beautiful country.  After spending a couple of days in Accra, the nation’s capital, we took a short flight up to Tamale, the capital of the Northern Region.  Upon our arrival, we had a warm welcome from the staff at SEND-Ghana, our partner organization.  Patience Ayamba, the Program Officer of the Eastern Corridor region has been invaluable to us as we started to settle in.

SEND-Ghana is a non-governmental organization whose mission is to promote good governance and gender equality through advocacy, policy awareness, and extension services. After almost 20 years of operation, SEND-Ghana has a variety of projects from promoting free maternal healthcare to helping resolve conflicts between communities though peace mediators.  They have projects in gender equality, maternal health, education, responsible governance and much more.  We were humbled to learn of SEND-Ghana’s success stories and their cooperative and integrated development framework.  We are just beginning to understand the complexity of social development issues, and it is a great privilege to be working with them this summer.

Lydie-Amy preparing for the workshop at the SEND-Ghana office in Tamale

One of their initiatives is the Policy Advocacy Program that helps to raise citizen’s awareness about politics and the impact it has on their daily lives. The goal is to advocate for good governance that promotes transparency and accountability. We were fortunate to be invited to attend the Regional Consultative Forum on the 2019 budget, hosted by SEND-Ghana.  The purpose of the conference was to allow citizens, community and industry representatives the opportunity to review government policies and provide input into the budget for next year’s initiatives.  Following presentations by ministry officials and an open question period, participants were divided into groups based on their sector of expertise: Agriculture, Health, Education and Social Protection. The objective was to identify the main issues in each sector, and suggest possible solutions that could be addressed in the government budget.  It was inspirational to observe the conference participants engage in passionate discussion, and to learn about the current challenges faced by the Agriculture sector.

Attendees of the forum listening to a presentation by a ministry representative

Another of SEND-Ghana’s programs is the Livelihood Security Program that aims to improve food security in the Northern Region of Ghana.  In this region, the success of smallholder crop production is vulnerable to climate change due to the long dry season and dependence on rain fed irrigation.  However, animals are well-adapted to the grasslands and arid climate of the area.  By empowering farmers with technical knowledge, we hope they will be able to diversify their income from crops and increase their profits with animal production.

We are excited to be working alongside our supervisor, Dr. Joseph Ansong Danquah, at the Training of Trainers’ workshops.  The goal of these 3-day sessions is to train community agriculture volunteers and extension officers on the benefits of animal production and good animal husbandry techniques.  After these informative sessions, participants will be able to speak with local communities so they can pass this knowledge to smallholder farmers.  We assisted with Dr. Danquah’s presentation and spoke about the benefits and the different types of housing for poultry and small ruminants.  Our favorite part of the workshop was meeting with farmers in the communities and listening to their success stories and current challenges.

Stephanie explaining to workshop participants the benefits of providing housing for animals

 

A presentation on animal husbandry to farmers at the Sabonjida community

After experiencing an initial adjustment period, we are now enjoying the vibrant Ghanaian culture: sampling local dishes, exploring the local markets, and learning a few words of the local language, Dagbani.  We are grateful for this incredible learning opportunity and are looking forward to what the next couple of months will bring!

Communications Work in Ghana

I’m Karissa Gall and I’m not a veterinarian. Rather, I’m working as a communications specialist in the Sakumono office of SEND GHANA, a partner of VWB. SEND GHANA is a policy research and advocacy civil society organization with capacity-building projects that broadly focus on addressing issues of inequality and government accountability. On the ground, the organization’s projects are numerous and wide-reaching in both topic matter and geography, from fostering northern food security through food cooperatives to HIV/AIDS advocacy to national budget analysis. Have you ever heard someone bemoan the slow pace of business in Africa? That’s not a thing at SEND GHANA.

Street view of the SEND GHANA Sakumono office

Like many busy non-governmental organizations operating on limited budgets, producing good quality, consistent communications has been a challenge for SEND GHANA. Big program costs like transportation, booking event spaces, etc. are put before communications costs, which can become a bit of an afterthought. However, staff here realize the importance of comms in spreading key messages on a large scale, and sharing successes to earn funding from government and donors for future projects.

A big part of my job is creating a strategy that will engrain communications in project activities, so that comms can be done efficiently when it comes to cost and time. I’m starting by creating a communications strategy for a cocoa advocacy project. Not because chocolate fixes everything… rather, the project is currently in its preliminary stages and the timing makes sense. Once complete, the cocoa advocacy communications strategy will be used as a model for ongoing and future projects at SEND.

I’m also consulting with SEND GHANA’s brilliant IT guy on the migration of the website from Joomla to WordPress, which will make current comms processes easier and enable new online story-telling forms.

When I’m not working on the communications strategy or website migration, I assist with the day-to-day comms activities of the organization, attending planning meetings and programs, and capturing video, audio, photos and information to produce materials for social media and the website. I’m mentoring the communications assistant here in everything I do so that he will be able to sustain improved communications for SEND GHANA after my placement is complete.

Communications assistant Benedict Mensah and Karissa at NHARCON (National HIV & AIDS Research Conference)

He has already taken over responsibility of a few new processes, such as media monitoring through Google Alerts and Google Sheets, and maintaining a new #FOSTERINGFriday social media campaign that I created an infographic template for in order to share the successes of the food security project. When we’re not creating hashtags for official SEND GHANA communications, we’re creating them for our own inside jokes. #fortuneteller

I’m looking forward to sharing more updates with you soon! In the meantime, check out a couple of my first forays into so-called iPhoneography – producing multimedia with an iPhone in the absence of other audio/visual equipment.

Have A Say, Ghana

Why 2%?

Greetings from Ghana

By Betty Baba

Gender Advisor

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

Accommodation

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.

The Cuisine

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.

 My   work  

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

Poultry Farming in Ghana

Geoffrey Akabua is the Integrated Animal Health Specialist volunteer in Ghana. His work as a VWB/VSF-CANADA volunteer with GAPNET (Ghana Poultry Network) began in Ghana on October 15, 2016 and will end within the next few months.

Geoffrey has been working directly with smallholder farmers in the various communities across Ghana but has also been training veterinary technicians on laboratory poultry disease diagnostics, something GAPNET appreciates particularly because of the limited laboratory support in country. Of late, the number of trained technicians has been dwindling and the remaining ones are located far away from each other.

In all, 48 veterinary technicians and veterinary students, 26 women and 22 men, have been intensively trained in laboratory poultry disease diagnosis, gross pathological diagnosis (necropsy) of common poultry diseases both theoretical and practical.

This activity is of huge relevance since the veterinary technicians are located relatively close to the farmers. As a result of this farmers rely on them for technical assistance.

It has been observed after the training program that the knowledge of the technicians on poultry diseases diagnosis has improved tremendously based on comments from the farmers.