Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Junior Fellow Overseas Placement Description – Jessica

Context of EWB in Ghana

Having embarked on our 5th year of activities in the country, EWB's Ghana Country Program is the eldest of our current country programs. Our story in Ghana is best told through the story of our partnerships.

KITE, an Accra-based NGO focused in the energy sector, was EWB's second partner in Ghana and our longest lasting. EWB helped KITE launch the Multi-Functional Platform (MFP) program when EWB volunteers represented over half of the MFP project staff! Now, after 4 long term OVS and 7 JFs, our partnership with the MFP project has matured and we are now embarking on the final stretch of MFP implementations. This rainy season, we will be sending 2 JFs to the MFP project's implementing agencies.

Our experience with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) is more recent but just as substantial! Three long term OVS and 14(!) JFs later, we have created and replicated an Agriculture Extension Agent capacity building project as well as influenced the Northern Region's monitoring system to a level that the national office (based in Accra) is interested in replicating across the country! This rainy season, we will be sending 5 (+1 in the harvest season) JFs to work on this partnership.

Following our successful experience at the district level with MoFA we decided to approach the Water and Sanitation division and the Planning and Coordination division of the district assemblies (local government bodies). Two of our current long-term OVS and 1 JF have spent some introductory time there and we are now ready for an important and exciting scale-up of our activities, which includes 7 JFs working in 7 different districts this rainy season.

Finally, but certainly not the least, is our partnership with Rural Enterprise Projects (REP). This is a very progressive project on which 2 long-term OVS have been working within the last year. The goals of the project are to facilitate the start of micro-enterprises for underprivileged groups, particularly women. They also work through the district administration, which is great for building local capacity! We will send 2 JFs this rainy season to work at the district level with REP.

I hope this short history has helped you appreciate the growth of our partnerships in the last few years and the incredibly important learning contribution that you will all bring to our programming! Thank you for joining our team!

Your Host Organization

During the overseas component of your Junior Fellowship you will be working with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in the Central Gonja District. The MoFA Northern Regional Office is based in Tamale.

MoFA is the public sector (government) body responsible for food and agriculture support in Ghana. At the district level, MoFA has extension agents that work directly with farmers in communities to educate on best practice farming techniques and technologies. MoFA also collects information from farmers to better understand and analyze the situation of agriculture in Ghana. The work at the district level is supported and coordinated through the regional office in Tamale, which is in turn supported by the national office in Accra.

Your Placement

You will be based in the town of Buipe, the capital of the Central Gonja District in the Northern Region of Ghana, where you will be working within the agriculture sector. Buipe is approximately 1.5 hours south of Tamale by tro-tro (minibus), and we have asked the MoFA staff to arrange for a home stay for you with a family in Buipe. The MoFA District Director is excited for you to live with a farmer family in the community to better understand the realities of farming in this area. Although English is the official language, people in this region generally come from the Gonja tribe and speak Gonja. Twi (the most widely spoken language in Ghana) is also common in this area.

Why have we chosen this placement for YOU?

As I mentioned to you already, I know you already have some background on MoFA through hearing about Navid and Jamaal’s experience, which will allow you to hit the ground running when you arrive in Ghana. EWB has not worked with the Central Gonja District before, but they understand EWB quite well (they have heard a lot about the work that EWB did with MoFA last summer) and are very excited to be having a volunteer. I visited the staff in Buipe a couple weeks ago and they seem to be very hard workers and well organized. I believe you have the leadership ability to establish your own work plan to help bring the perspective from the field to the office activities. Christian, the EWB long term volunteer currently working in the MoFA regional office in Tamale, will be going back to Canada in May, and the hope is that the work at the district level can support the work that he has done at the regional level with monitoring and evaluation. Even though Christian won’t be around for very long, I of course will be available to provide support.

1 comment:

saakad said...

I am very impressed at your blog, especially the piece about Buipe. I live in Ohio, USA, but am a native of Buipe. In fact, you made my day. I have to share this with my friends here. They are American and they want to know more about where am from. Thanks for sharing this with the world.
Dan Saaka