Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Team LIFE Goes Live

Team LIFE with Nab Francis, Chief of Chuchuliga 
This last fortnight has seen Team LIFE continue planning for future events, complete a second community entry, and accomplish the first practical elements of our project work which brought a real buzz to the team.

Previous cohorts have successfully completed several community sensitisation workshops within Sandema and so our cohort will be delivering a community sensitisation in a neighbouring town called Namonsa in Chuchuliga. On Friday 27th January the team travelled to meet the assembly man of the area and Chuchuliga's Chief - a very inspiring and friendly leader who believes humility is key to his role in order to connect with his people. We were once again thoroughly welcomed to Ghana and to the town, and left with a crate of snacks as a gift from the Chief. We hope to deliver our community sensitisation in Namonsa in the next few weeks in order to decrease stigma and create greater awareness of the causes and challenges of disability.

Friday 27th January was a busy day in terms of project work. After community entry in Chuchuliga, we also had a guided learning session presented by two members of Team LIFE, in which we discussed poverty and social justice issues. We then went as a group to support the radio team who delivered our first radio programme on Radio Builsa at prime listening time that evening. The team of four introduced our group and talked about our aims, speaking with confidence and clarity live on air in both English and the Buli translation. We are planing and looking forward to our next radio programme on February 10th.

The progress towards re-establishing Girls' and Boys' Clubs in Sandema has been slow but steady. Rather than rushing to establish the clubs, our team has decided to focus on creating a sustainable foundation for the clubs by re-assessing the leadership structure, delivering training to youth leaders, and marketing the clubs in local schools to create a large attendance of both children with and without disabilities. Although meetings, research, phone calls and planning have not felt like action-packed development work, our team is learning valuable lessons about patience and persistence. Our team are positive that the groundwork we are laying out will help to ensure the long-term continuation of the youth clubs here in Sandema.

Those in our School Sensitisation team have been working hard over the last two weeks preparing for our first sensitisation at Afuko Junior High School on the 10th February. They will be giving an engaging and fun assembly to children to educate them about disability and human rights.

One of our aims for our twelve week placement is to create an action research report on the livelihood opportunities for people with disabilities (PWDs) in Sandema. This journey began on Wednesday 1st February when our team marched through the centre of town with the wonderful members of the Abilyeri Ayigichaab Women Association, singing songs in Buli and dancing along the road. The ladies, who are an integrated group comprising those with and without disabilities, were aided by previous LIFE cohorts and local Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to attain the skills needed to create shea butter products, which they currently sell at the local market as a means of earning money. We will be researching ways to aid the increase of their shea butter sales through improved branding and by expanding their market base. Members of our team gave a presentation at the Women Association weekly meeting on Thursday 2nd February, putting forward initial ideas for our research and the improvement of their organisations' efficiency and business knowledge. These women really would be the life and soul of any party. They believe in the power of unity and the importance of the female voice. Their group hope to demonstrate to the community the value of women in society through their hard work and solidarity. It is a privilege for our team to be working alongside such a joyful and inspiring group of women.

Members of the Albilyeri Ayigichaab Women Association

Team LIFE's hard work seems to be coming together, and our actions so far have set a good precedent for all that is ahead. We look forward to our upcoming events with anticipation.

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