The latest from Ghana
Our Ghana Team Leader, Desmond Mpabe, shares his news
How is the current situation in Ghana?
There have been violent incidents recently in parts of Ghana – specifically in Ejura and Wa – but we are hopeful that the openness shown by the government and other officials in investigating these will lead to a more positive outlook.
There has also been tension across the country for the past three months over the appointments of new District/ Metropolitan/ Municipal Chief Executives (MMDCEs). The people in these roles represent the government at the local level. The ruling party activists want new executives to be appointed while the president is intent on maintaining the old ones.
In addition, the poor rainfall patterns across the country have led to serious crop failure in many parts of the country, including in our own region where the effects have been tough on our communities. As this leads to shortages of food and higher cost of items, it only increases tension and between different groups.
While, thankfully, our own region remains generally peaceful at the moment, these old tensions are never far from the surface and we have to deal with them every day in our work (as our efforts on the cashew planting project unfortunately highlight below). As we reach our ten-year anniversary of peacemaking in Ghana, our work to bring together all sides and break down barriers between tribes and clans remains vitally important for or communities. But we are thankful to God for the successes we have seen and the great progress we have made with his help!
What has been your highlight of the summer for you and why?
Our recent highlight is the recent start of a new mixed-tribe, cashew planting project in one of the communities where we work, which is very exciting for us.
Smallholder farmers are particularly vulnerable to poor rainfall and drought, but cashews are much more resistant and by partnering with them to farm cashews, we can help them to diversify their products and income, and reduce the tensions around land ownership that we often see.
This has been a real answer to prayer. We could not start the project at the location we initially proposed because of continued animosity between families on both sides of the divide, and we almost gave up. But God found us a way, and the work has now begun!
How is the new child malnutrition project going?
I’m pleased to share that the project is gaining a lot of attention locally, especially after the successful graduation of the first cohort of 30 children who joined us with acute malnutrition. It is a great milestone to have reached and we are encouraged to see so many young children be able to look forward to a healthy and brighter future as a result of our partnership over several months.
Many parents have now heard about the project, and continue to come with their children for a checkup. What’s also exciting is that the project is helping breakdown barriers between different groups, because mothers from opposing sides come to meet together regularly – not just to collect the supplementary feed we provide, but also to work together in the preparation, cooking and packaging of the food together.
And what is the news from the animal rearing and savings and loan (susu) projects?
The animals rearing and susu activities remain some of the most vibrant projects we running currently. During the lean season, when food was particularly scarce, many members of our susu groups were able to benefit by borrowing money to buy food, pay fees and household bills from the group savings. This was a great relief for them, since other loan options often involve exorbitant interest! The members who borrowed have since started repaying their loans with interest and the money is building once again in the bank.
On the animals specifically, we are very grateful to everyone who supported our recent campaign to help the women of Nyobido begin rearing for the first time. Thanks to their generosity, we were able to buy their first batch of animals! Most of the animals will be littering soon, which is great news. The women are now eager to receive the second batch of animals and we look forward to this project being a real success!
What would you appreciate prayer for at the moment?
We greatly appreciate the prayers of our supporters, and they are a real encouragement for us even though you may be far away. At the moment we would welcome prayers for four things:
- A peaceful process of nomination, appointment and confirmation of the new local government MMMDCEs, which will happen soon.
- An end to the recent upsurge in ritual killings across the country (there have been more than five unexplained killings in the past three months).
- A change of mind between communities that we work with, who still do not trust each other enough to work together in the future. This is still a real challenge for our work and for peacemaking.
- Finally, please pray for our team as we plan our CHIPS Ghana 10th Anniversary activities, and we loo forward to sharing some news and photos from these!