Full stomachs for thirty villages

Sorry for the silence. We’ve been busy doing housekeeping stuff including taking on a new  recruit to help with next year’s farming. This is going to be fantastic. Our farm support project will cover thirty villages for four years and during that time farmers in the thirty communities will get farm training and loans to buy quality farm inputs.

And because they pay back the loan with interest each year after harvest, and each spring we lend them what they’ve just paid back (ie loan plus interest), the loan fund keeps its value in real terms and is ready for us to lend out in the new villages.

Farmers who go through our farm support scheme say their harvest doubles or trebles in size in just one year, and after four it is much much bigger. We’re hoping this project will have a big impact on hunger across the whole area. The picture shows farmers receiving their loans before planting

Christmas Presents Sorted

We’ve been sending our dressmaking school in Ashanti items to copy which we think might make good Christmas presents. The school is run by Kofi, who trains 14 or 15 single mothers and they’re all excited by this new project.
We’re not really up to on-line selling yet, but some of our volunteers are running stalls in different parts of the country in the run-up to Christmas. We also sell most Saturdays in Camden Market, London but best ring us first and check if you’re thinking of going.
Kofi’s making cushion/duvet covers, hats, hairbands, bags and the items in the photos below.

New Project Planning

Nothing much going on in Ghana, but there’s a lot of rain coming down.
Here in London we went to visit the brilliant Orchid Project to ask for some advice on tackling female genital mutilation, which is practised by some of the tribes who are coming south and settling in Ashanti. These include the Fra-Fra, Dagati, Komkomba and probably a whole lot more we haven’t yet identified.
Orchid gave us a video and for starters, we’re going to run this in our clinics for waiting patients, and ask the nurses occasionally to interpret and maybe even to start a discussion. We also decided to try to educate communities about the terrible consequences of FGM at the same time as we’re training them in health and hygiene. It may depend on finding a senior person in the tribe to support us. We’ll have more thoughts later but would welcome any suggestions.

A Great Day

We had a great walk on Saturday, all nine miles of it. Father James of St Pancras Old Church gave us tea, chocolate cake and his blessing before we set off and a record number of people attended – 28. Donations are pushing £2,000 and still going up.
Our thanks to everyone who came and everyone who sponsored a walker. You all helped make it a wonderful day.

Better Sight from Switzerland

We are lucky to include BasAid among our donors. The organisation is based in Basle and funded by chemical and other major companies.
Not only have they funded many of our projects, but they are now collecting secondhand spectacles and shipping them to Ashanti for our eye clinic. Apparently on days when the clinic is operational queues start to form at 3am. At 8am the queue is closed and people trying to join after that, many of whom have walked for miles to get there, have to go home till next time.
Here is BasAid’s Kwaku Marfo presenting the latest batch of secondhand spectacles to Ashanti Development’s Nicholas Aboagye.

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