Wednesday, May 28, 2008

April Visit to the Field

For 2 weeks in April I escaped from the city to spend time in “the field” with the communities and the community based organizations, KITE (my partner organisation) works to support.

I split my time equally; spending the first week with the SEND Foundation out of the town of Salaga in the Northern Region and the second week with WACSO in the town of Atebubu in the Brong Ahafo region. My trip had a dual purpose:

1) to familiarize myself with the Multi-Functional Platform, KITE’s partner organizations and the challenges of field work

2) to support both KITE and WACSO in preparing their final report to KITE on the completion of Phase 1 of the project and identification of lessons learned

The Multi Functional Platform (MFP) is a project that is deployed across 4 West African countries (Ghana, Burkina-Faso, Mali and Senegal, funded by the PREP a UNDP program, and managed at a country level in Ghana by KITE, my partner organisation. An MFP, consists of an 8 or 10hp diesel engine mounted on chassis that drives a variety of equipment that is used to ease the time burden of rural household in daily activities. The most common configuration in Ghana includes a grain mill, a cassava grater and a battery charger used to power radios or lights.

MFP communities are by definition, at least 10km away from the national grid and therefore considered energy poor. Women spend several hours a day fetching water and processing food for meals. The MFP helps to reduce the time burden and also helps to promote income generating activities. In several of the communities, women’s groups have formed around the platform either processing rice or transforming raw cassava into “gari” for sale in the larger city markets.

I made a short video to give you a glimpse into life in Northern Ghana and an introduction to the MFP. I have chosen to end my post here as the next sheds some light on what I learnt about myself as a development worker on this trip.

1 comment:

Richard Chaput said...

ah, nice - i love field footage - fantastic