Tag Archives: workshops

2. Environmental Regeneration and Conservation

Ghana’s current population is estimated to be about 23 million people. Half of this number (11.5 million) consumes at least one sachet of pure water per day. The average weight of one empty sachet is 3.5 grams. That equals 38,500 kilos of plastic waste a day, or 38.5 tonnes.

90% of Ghana’s forest cover has been lost to logging since 1957.

Goal:

  • Ensure environmental conservation
  • Ensure environmental regeneration
  • Increase knowledge of the benefits of raising trees
  • Increase knowledge of the detrimental effects of polluting the environment including the impact of rubbish and also “galamsey” (illegal gold mining—which happens in this area) on health of humans and ecosystems.
  • Educate on the basics of climate change awareness and its impact on rural, agricultural communities
  • Implement the “One basket – one tree” programme
Carrying seedlings

Carrying mango seedlings for planting

How:

  • Using plastic bags that are littered everywhere in communities in the production of craft and art. This helps reduce the harmful effects of plastic waste and pollution on local eco-systems.
  • Using scrap cloth to create craft and art together with the plastic rubbish
  • Planting trees as a multi-pronged approach to environmental regeneration and community engagement.
  • Workshops to explain the effects of pollution and potential effects of climate change in future
  • Community will plant one tree for every craft item they produce
Basketmaker and dry-season environment

Basketmaker and dry-season environment

This will have environmental, social and economic benefits to the community:

  • Improve the vegetative cover of the savannah zone and stem desertification
  • Reduce the threat of climate change by reducing green house gases
  • Create sources of food, nutrition, shade and shelter (community rest and meeting places) for years to come

Statistics for recycled basket production: One basket consumes a minimum of 230 sachet bags and half a kilo of scrap cloth. One basket leads to the reduction of plastic waste in Ghana by 595 grams, or just over half a kilo and half a kilo of cloth.

In addition, to make the tree planting a success we involve local community groups as well as the crafts people in the planting and upkeep of the trees. To date, the groups have been extremely helpful and supportive.

350 "pure water" plastic bags cut and ready to twist

350 "pure water" plastic bags cut and ready to twist

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3. Basic Health Awareness and Info Access

Goal:

  • Raise awareness of common health-related problems that afflict rural, poor communities in Ghana and give the communities the means to find solutions to the problems.

Major challenges:

  • Lack of knowledge about basic diseases and prevention
  • Lack of access to medical help
  • Lack of ability to pay for health care.
Basket makers with their children

Basket makers with their children

Areas requiring awareness raising include

  • Organizing immunization against preventable diseases
  • Classes on preventative health practices such as sleeping under mosquito nets and preventing bites, washing hands with soap, keeping children and babies as clean as possible.
  • Gynecological health, common diseases, and healthy practices
  • Sexually transmitted diseases and prevention
  • Common digestive ailments and solutions
  • Common urinary ailments and solutions
  • Common muscular ailments and solutions
  • Common skeletal ailments and solutions
  • Common viruses and solutions
  • Common infections and solutions

“The Tree Bank”

Not all members of the community are involved in craft production but they still require access to funds for health care. To cater to everyone in the community, we are designing a programme that may be able to accommodate everyone where we operate.

The concept is that individuals have the option to access financing for basic medical assistance up to a capped amount (yet to be finalized). If the amount exceeds this we will consult with all involved to find a solution.

The underlying philosophy is to support traditional community networks and encourage community involvement by empowering the community in the aid of its members across the spectrum of problems they encounter in their daily lives.

The person in need will be able to access the funds needed for their health care, but only in exchange for an undertaking to plant a number of trees to the value of the amount of money requested—an undertaking which must be guaranteed by one other person in their family or the community.

This is the basic concept of a “tree bank”: in exchange for money for health needs you plant trees or have someone in your family or community agree to plant them for you.

We aim to raise funds through grants and donations to fund this aspect of our program. The “bank of trees” will be available for community members to access when they need health care assistance.

For example, someone needing to cover costs of up to 20 Cedis may plant and maintain 10 trees. We are justifying the figures and details as we write. Obviously if the person is gravely ill they will not be able to plant themselves but will need the support of their family and community, which is why community participation is necessary to make this successful—and also the reason why it will be successful.

The individual receives the amount needed as well as the number of trees allocated for that amount. We sign a simple contract and monitor both the patient and the trees’ progress.

We will pilot this with five families to test whether it will work in practice. However, even with no financial incentives, to date all trees that we have planted with the youth groups have been well looked after by the community, even without our asking, so we believe there is a high likelihood of success with this program particularly when everyone can see that they may benefit from the assurance of being able to access funds for their own health when needed in future.

We envisage possibly implementing a similar program for other needs such as school fees in future: “Trees for School Fees”

5. Youth and Community Development

Young people constitute over 30% of Ghana’s population. The Upper East Region is the second poorest region in Ghana with about 70% of the population living on less than a dollar a day, but many living on less than $10 a month.

The region has one rainy season from May/June to September/October. The mean annual rainfall during this period is between 800 mm and 1100m. There is a long spell of dry season from October to mid May, characterized by cold, dry and dusty Harmattan winds until February, and then evolving into extreme heat between February and May.

About 90% of the population are peasant farmers and the crops mainly cultivated include peanuts, yam, millet and some vegetables. The most common economic trees are the sheanut, dawadawa, baobab and acacia. Farmers use primitive tools such as the hoe and cutlass to farm.

There are few prospects for youth so young people migrate a to the southern portion of the country to search for menial jobs such as bar tendering and waitressing (which are not lucrative as they can be in western nations), “kayayoos” (girls who carry heavy loads on their heads in markets) or as farm labourers on cocoa farms. Many girls and women also enter prostitution in the major cities.

Goal:

  • Create an environment that will provide constructive, affirmative, and supporting relationships that are sustained over time with successful adults and peers.
  • Create opportunities that will enable youth to develop their skills and talents and get engage as partners in their own development and the development of their communities.

How:

  • Engage young people as partners, and not mere recipients of project handouts, to identify their needs and respond with solutions that meet their needs.
  • Find opportunities for youth to participate in community building activities and workshops on a Ghana-wide level.

We have already begun to involve the youth groups in tree planting activities with great success. As tree planting expands, we intend to recruit workers from among the youth group to assist us as field workers to maintain the planted trees.

We also intend to involve the youth closely in new income generation programmes we have in development such as opening a shop in Bolgatanga and Cape Coast and also possibly opening a restaurant in future which will train unskilled youth in hospitality and help them find jobs in this field—a field which is growing in this region.