Global Brigades Ghana is underway! Just one month into the creation of our newest Global Brigades home and there are already exciting and inspiring developments all over. Ghana is simply an unbelievably incredible place to run Brigades. The people are energetic, outgoing, passionate and dedicated to progress. Even in remote communities where resources are limited, the leaders are ready to brainstorm about how to improve quality of life. The government, local NGOs, youth leaders and community members are all extremely impressed and excited about the Global Brigades model and ready to support us in any way. Our goal now is to figure out how best to situate ourselves to support the government and empower communities to improve their quality of health and level of development.
In the past month, we have focused on identifying the region and communities in which we will work in Ghana. As you know, we spent the first half of 2010 traveling throughout Africa to conduct research and select the best country in Africa for Global Brigades. After two months of working here, we can confidently say that Ghana was absolutely the right choice. Still, after selecting Ghana we were not done. This country is far too large to work everywhere, so we had to narrow our area of focus. We began by seeking the advice of the Ministry of Health, the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, local and international NGOs, volunteer organizations, friends and acquaintances. Where is the need the greatest? we would ask. Where would our work be most effective? Following their direction, we then took off traveling across several regions of Ghana to do our own assessment. What we found was that the advice of everyone that we met matched our own findings: the Central Region of Ghana was the right choice for us. This region has more needs in the fields of medicine, water and business development than any other region in southern Ghana. The Central Region is accessible and safe, the government is extremely cooperative and the people are welcoming and excited. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it is also a stunningly beautiful region, situated along the southern coastline.
So we have settled just outside of Cape Coast, in the Central Region about three hours outside of Accra, the capital city. We have a small apartment and a new housecat named Nala! We work closely with local partners, including Service for Peace, the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, the Abusua Foundation and the University of Cape Coast Hospital. We have also been hard at work looking for the right communities. Over the past month, we have met with district government assemblies around the region, learning from them and visiting communities. It has been a process, and we have photos and videos to show for it, but in short we have had the most powerful and positive experiences with the leaders of the Mfansteman District of the Central Region and have committed ourselves to the communities of this district for 2011. This will be where Global Brigades makes its impact this year and for years to come.
The next step is to work closely with the Municipal Health Management Team, the Community Water and Sanitation Agency and local Microfinance institutions to develop our programs. Here we have already made great progress, but there are still many questions remaining. You can also find additional program specific updates for: Microfinance, Water, and Medical Brigades. Please read through these and feel free to share any ideas that you have. We want you to work with us as we create the future of Global Brigades Ghana!
Orion and Allen