I want to write my first blog of February looking back at the first quarter of my time here in Kpando. As of the 12th of February I will have been in Kpando for three months (the fourth month is right around the corner!).
I can honestly say that I feel wonderful about the progress of onevillage’s projects. Since my arrival, I have done my best to adapt quickly, learn the systems in place and utilize this knowledge to plan and implement onevillage’s best practice approach to our projects in the field. With the help of community members, and of course, my trusty sidekick Edward, this challenging process has been exciting and enjoyable.
The last time I wrote about the Farming Project was in regard to the grant application and agreement. Both documents have been completed. After revisions by both parties, the final document has been reviewed and is ready for signing!
The Farming Project will begin as soon as possible as the rainy season will begin at the end of March (typical time to plant for the first summer harvest). The first stage of this process will be to stump the land-strenuous and lengthy work for those involved. Following stumping, plowing, harrowing and spraying will take place to complete the clearing of the land. The clearing process should be completed by mid-March and planting will take place the last week in March in time for the first rains.
Mama Esi is as excited as we are to get the project going and has arranged for the first stages to begin. onevillage will be involved with the entire process of the Farming Project, however, will continue to respect and recognize Ryvanz-Mia’s ownership of and responsibility for its success.
To date, the initial 40 individuals have been registered and their health insurance information has been sent on to Accra for processing by the National Health Insurance Scheme. Their cards will be available in approximately three months (there is a three month maturation period).
I have met with all head doctors/nurses at the three major facilities in Kpando to discuss our health insurance program. Health Insurance Aid information and applications are now available at all local health institutions with instructions for completion and submission.
The first round of submitted applications will be picked up on Friday, February 28th for review. Those individuals who have applied and qualify will be contacted and a date set to complete registration and have their picture taken.
New applications will be available on the first of every month until June (60 applications remain, accepting 10 per month).
Our education programs had a slow start; however, they have gained great momentum in the last few weeks. As mentioned previously, Edward and I were able to introduce ourselves and onevillage’s programs to all staff members at Ghana Education Services (GES) in Kpando-they are helping to educate the community about our work.
Currently, both University and Secondary scholarship applications are available at GES. University scholarships have been provided to each of the four Senior High Schools-we have personally met each of the Headmasters and have provided them information and applications. In the next couple of weeks, Edward and I will be completing similar visits to each Junior High School (there are 27 and this is proving to be a lengthy process). As noted previously, each school will have access to the application by the 1st of March.
Recently, we have had three inquiries regarding tutor positions. Each of these individuals has been informed to provide a resume and any letter of recommendation to the GES office. I will be retrieving this information early this week and after review, have plans to contact these individuals for an interview.
I am hopeful these individuals are good matches and that we will be able to move forward in our Tutoring Program in time for sessions aiding Kpando students in preparation for end of year tests and exams.
The last three months have ‘flown by’. I am a naturally active individual and I would be lying if I said my time here in Kpando hasn’t been keeping me on my toes-it has and then some. I am loving the energy onevillage has created surrounding our projects and feel as if our presence in the community is becoming more apparent and understood. We have been welcomed.
Now that our projects are up and running, the monitoring and evaluation processes will be the next step in identifying both the successes and needs of each program. I am looking forward to utilizing this information to adjust our programs as necessary, best suited and specifically tailored to the needs and wishes of the Kpando community.