GlobalResolve in Ghana May 2010 Assembled by Kim Pearson & Heather Hazzan
ForwardDavid Metoyer GlobalResolve at Arizona State University traveled to Ghana in May 2010. Each studentbrought their unique focus along for the trip. The trip intended to give GlobalResolve researchers the opportunity to interact, askquestions, and build relationships with Ghanaian villagers in hopes of identifying their needsand desires. It was a unique approach to addressing the most serious challenges facing thedeveloping country, which was far more collaborative than the scope of other aid efforts.
“Global Resolve Returns to Africa”ASU website Nine students and ﬁve faculty from ASU are traveling to Kenya and Ghana between May14 and May 31 to visit ﬁve villages, two K-12 schools, a research NGO, a water ﬁlter factory anda university (KNUST). The goals include the use of rural village appraisal in order to identify villager needs forfuture projects, deliver prototypes of the Twig Lights and Solar Cell Phone Chargers for villageevaluation, continue to develop two village ventures (Gel Fuel and Twig Lights) and explorepartnerships with KNUST. This is GlobalResolves seventh trip to Africa since the program began in 2006, and it hasinvolved more than 20 faculty and 180 students working on products to help solve problems inthe developing world and that can be the basis of village business ventures.
9 studentsBrian McCollow | Sustainability & Global Studies ’12Michael Pugliese | Mechanical Engineering Technology ’08Kim Pearson | Sustainability & Spanish Literature ’12David Metoyer | Finance, Sustainable International Development & Entrepreneurship ’11Heather Hazzan | Sustainability ’11Veekas Shrivastava | Economics & Political Science ’13Briar Schoon | Sustainability ’10Melissa Silva | Business (Sustainability) & Economics ’11Aaron Smith | Design (New Product Innovation) ’11
GlobalResolveglobalresolve.asu.edu GlobalResolve works together with a rangeof partners to develop sustainable technologiesand programs in the areas of energy, cleanwater, and local economic development for ruralcommunities in the developing world. GlobalResolve was established at ASU in2006 as a social entrepreneurship programdesigned to enhance the educational experiencefor interested and qualified ASU students byinvolving them in semester-long projects thatdirectly improve the lives of underprivilegedpeople, and/or those in under-developed nationsthroughout the world. Through GlobalResolve, ASU students andfaculty collaborate with international universities,residents of rural villages, local governments,ﬁnancial institutions, and non-governmentalorganizations (NGOs) to develop and disseminateno-tech, low-tech, and high-tech solutions thataddress pressing public health or environmentalneeds of a developing-world population. Because solutions developed byGlobalResolve are designed to be replicablelocally, regionally, and internationally, thesolutions also create the potential for proﬁtablenew business ventures that generate sustainableincome streams for impacted populations.
Global Impact EntrepreneurshipHeather Hazzan ASU students across various disciplinesapplied to be a part of this hands-on, threesequence class -- Global ImpactEntrepreneurship. During the Spring 2010 semester, studentsstudied the needs assessments fromGlobalResolve’s last Ghana trip the past summer.Students were then assigned to small groupsconsisting of different majors. Each group was towork together to create new products and ideasfor a business plan, attempting to solve some ofthe problems that remained in the villages. At first, some groups struggled, becauseeach student was only looking at the problemfrom their unique major’s point of view. TheBusiness major was baffled by that fact that theSustainability major did not know where to starton writing a business plan. The Architect majordid not understand how the Business studentforgot to take into account the structure of thedesign. However, this struggle turned out to be agreat asset. Problems were not solved linearly,like they would have been if only students fromone major tackled it. It was a way for eachstudent to gain another perspective. And as aresult, the business plans were stronger and tookinto account many factors.
Social BusinessesHeather Hazzan Muhammad Yunus’s book Creating aWorld Without Poverty played a large role inthe foundation of the business plans. Thebook’s main concept goes back to the oldadage: “If you give a man a fish, you feed himfor a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feedhim for life.” It all starts with the idea of a socialbusiness. According to Yunus’s website: “In asocial business, the investors/owners cangradually recoup the money invested, butcannot take any dividend beyond that point.Purpose of the investment is purely toachieve one or more social objectivesthrough the operation of the company, nopersonal gain is desired by the investors. Thecompany must cover all costs and makeproﬁt, at the same time achieve the socialobjective, such as, healthcare for the poor,housing for the poor, ﬁnancial services for thepoor, nutrition for malnourished children,providing safe drinking water, introducingrenewable energy, etc. in a business way.”
Business plan topics ranged from water sanitation, to lighting devices, to pineapple drying processes
Mike Pugliese (pictured top right) developed the Twig Light, which consists of twigs, water, a thermoelectricgenerator, and an LED array. The temperature difference between the two sides produces energy for light.
The Twig LightBrad Rogers - blog post The Twig Light is just two pieces ofthree inch aluminum box beam, each aboutfour inches long, separated by athermoelectric generator. The upper pieceserves as a small combustion chamber, whilethe lower piece sits in a few inches of waterfor cooling. The temperature difference drivesthe generator, which produces enough powerto light a bank of 25 LEDs brightly enough tolight for a small room. The combustionoccurs safely outside of the house, with wiresrunning through a window to the LEDs inside.Any source of heat is ﬁne – in the village, wewent out to a cooking ﬁre and gathered a fewhot coals, which kept the lights illuminatedfor more than an hour until we put out theheat. The women told us it was perfect forthem because as they ﬁnished dinner, theywould throw a few coals in and have light fora few hours into the evening.
“Multidisciplinary capstone brings light - and more - to developingcountries”Kari Stallcop Students in the new GlobalResolve social entrepreneurship capstone course are completing initial businessplans in preparation for a two-week trip to Ghana in May to study local resources and needs. The entrepreneurs – students in the ﬁelds of engineering, business, design and more – are making plans for theproduction and sale of inventions, including an award-winning generator and clean-burning stoves. “We’re shooting for affordability – we want to keep the price for our product under $20,” said Raphael Hyde[pictured right], the leader of a project team that is making plans to manufacture and market the generator known asAura (Twig) Light. “The challenge will be ﬁnding ways to produce enough units to meet local demand.” “In the next year, through this team, we hope to bring some light into developing areas of Ghana.” Hyde and his team – Nisha Patel, Lisa Regets and Michael Pugliese – recently won ASU’s top ChallengesInnovator award for $5,000 in venture funding and have applied for the Edson Venture Creator grant, which offers anopportunity for student entrepreneurs to win up to $20,000. “I’ve never done anything like this before,” Hyde said enthusiastically.
“It’s a great learning opportunity. Amongeverything I’ve seen and everywhere I’vetraveled, this program offers the greatestopportunity for growth.” Hyde said that he has a passion forinnovative energy solutions, with experienceworking for one of Asia’s biggest lightingcompanies. He hopes to use this experience tostart another company and continue developingenergy solutions after his graduation. “There’s so much happening in the world,”said Hyde, now in his third year in ASU’sindustrial design and business program. “If youbring together students who are the best in theirﬁeld, who care, and give us a chance, we canmake a huge impact.” To follow the group’s trip to Ghana, Africa,visit http://globalresolve.asu.edu and click on theblog, starting May 17. You may also follow themon Linked In.
Before the trip to Ghana, the faculty and students had several meetings to prepare for the trip. They discussedeverything from how to talk to the villagers to even what kind of socks to bring!
Pre-trip Meetings The team met for a 4-hour Pre-Ghana Bootcamp atASU SkySong to create and break into investigative teams.Each traveler was asked to create a list of interests to exploreand goals to achieve while in Ghana. Then, each item waswritten up on a sticky note and posted on the large windowsin the classroom. Everyone converged at the windows andbegan to group similar goals until around ten distinct groupshad been created. These groups would later work together inGhana to explore their interests in each village during theinterviews.
Kumasi Ashanti Region Greater Accra Region Central Region Gulf Of Guinea
Kumasi Ashanti RegionGreater Accra Region Gulf Of Guinea Central Region
The Journey to Ghana It took traveling through many states and manyhours of flight to finally arrive in Accra. “Ghana is located on the west coast of Africa,bordering the Gulf of Guinea and surrounded by CoteD’voire, Burkina Faso, and Togo. The landscape rangesfrom sandy beaches to jungle to desert. Lake Volta, thelargest artiﬁcial lake in the world, resides here.Environmental issues include deforestation, drought,overgrazing, poaching and habitat destruction, andmore.” - Wikipedia
Arriving in GhanaDavid Metoyer - journal post Stepping off the airplane onto the tarmac was an instantreminder of just how far I was from home. The sweltering airwas thick with moisture, and the smell was unique. UrbanGhana presented scenes completely unfamiliar to my Westerneyes. Though contrary to what might be assumed, the strongpresence of technology was also unavoidable. Cellularproviders plastered advertisements everywhere. Companieslike Vodafone, MTN, and Zain covered billboards, filledmagazine pages, stitched into shirts, and painted over dirtwalls disguised as houses. I was shocked by the influences oftelecom providers -- it was unlike anything I had ever seen inAmerica.
One of the first things the group did was visit a local market
Partners and Translators GlobalResolve could not have done itwithout you, Edward, Julius, Frimpong,Emmanuel, Mary Kay Jackson, Nana Afia D,and George. Students hope to keep in contact overemail, phone, and facebook.
Swame MagazineBrian McCollow - blog post Talk about entrepreneurship; the men inthis picture are working in one of the mostentrepreneurial districts in Africa: SuameMagazine. There are over 5,000 businesses inthis quarter-mile by half-mile section ofAccra! There are so many people doing somany things here like welding, ﬁxingmechanical parts, forging metal, etc. Therewas so much grease and oil on the ground,that I couldnt even see the dirt when I duginto the ground with my shoes. The smellseemed like it came straight out of a factoryduring the USs industrialization phase. Onone hand, there was severe pollution whichIm sure leeches into the ground water; buton the other hand, they are recycling almostall of the metal they currently have, which isan interesting lesson for already developedcountries.
Swame Magazine Anything and everything can be made in SwameMagazine. The raw skills, intelligence, and teamwork arefully alive in Ghana.
Swame Magazine, cont.Nalini Chhetri - blog post The team went to a unique workshopmarketplace called Swame Magazine where acacophony of metal work, carpentry, welding,and machinery work is carried in what canonly be termed as a complete organizedchaos by scores of local artisans,apprentices, entrepreneurs, and mechanics.It has to be seen to be believed. This quarterof a mile long avenue of chaotic shops thatputs together and recycles machinery is ahub of constant activity.
Gel Fuel Production in DomeabraGlobalResolve.org GlobalResolve is undertaking an innovative project to produce and sell ethanol gel fuel in the village ofDomeabra and the surrounding area of Kumasi, Ghana. Gel fuel has many benefits when compared to othercommon fuel sources in Ghana: wood, charcoal or dung. These a reduction in indoor air pollution and theaccompanied health effects, the stimulation of local economic activity through the production of feedstock toproduce the fuel, and the creation of an alternative energy product that can be marketed throughout theregion. GlobalResolve is partnering with the paramount chief of Domeabra, Nana Frimpong Afoakwa, toestablish a production facility in the village, provide loans to local farmers, and to market and sell the fuel inthe surrounding regions. This pilot project will also produce information and training opportunities that willallow for the establishment of similar village-scale production centers throughout central Ghana.Progress In September 2008 engineering students and faculty at Arizona State University (ASU) installed anethanol production system in Domeabra. The equipment was designed and manufactured at ASU withsupport from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Association (NCIIA). The system incorporatesall the necessary equipment to produce ethanol from corn, sugar cane, or rice and to gel the ethanol to makeit an effective cooking fuel.
DomeabraDavid Metoyer - journal post On the second day in Ghana, GlobalResolve visited Domeabra, a rural village of roughly 5,000 people. Domeabra wasGlobalResolve’s partner for the gelled-ethanol project, a cleaner burning cooking fuel alternative to charcoal and ﬁrewood. It wasalso the preferred manufacturing location for GlobalResolve’s Twig Light project. The Twig Light was envisioned to provide light forvillagers when access to electricity was unreliable and lighting alternatives were terribly expensive. The time spent in Domeabra was the ﬁrst chance to speak with locals and discuss village needs. The team split into groupsof ﬁve and spread out; some met with schoolchildren, some spoke with farmers, and my group visited homes. Our visits wereaccompanied by a fellow Ghanaian named, Edward, who recently launched an organization to promote the country’s need forsustainable development. Edward was able to clearly articulate our questions in the native language, Twi. Villagers responded withone insightful response after another; I needed to record them all. It was a terriﬁc task for the iPad, since it could simultaneouslyrecord audio. Elders in the village were eager to share their stories and suggestions for future improvement. The presence of the iPadseemed to be no more of a distraction than the digital cameras, which only resulted in a few curious smiles. I ﬁrst noticed one childtrailing us… moments later, the size of our group had grown by twenty children as we trekked from home to home. Our group wasbeing followed by a sense of amazement and wonder; was I a crazy foreigner, or actually doing something meaningful as myﬁngers danced over the glass screen I held in my hands? A few children stared and just giggled with one another. I was certain tobe the crazy foreigner until I provided support to justify any claims otherwise. I paused my conversations with elders and sat down outside the next home, iPad in hand. Even the youngest childrenhurried to circle around me for a closer peek [opposite page: bottom left]. I used my ﬁnger to swipe across a few menu screens,ﬂick through saved photos, and play a few songs in iTunes. Like a magician’s audience, they stared in disbelief. Some of themstarted poking at the screen for themselves, asking how it worked. I struggled to articulate an answer. I was stumped.
Biemso We arrived in Biemso hoping to do another villageassessment. However, as we pulled up to the chief’s house,we noticed that everyone was wearing black or red and thatthe atmosphere was solemn and quiet. In fact, Nana’s niecehad passed away and the funeral was to take place in hoursto come. To respect the citizens, most of whom wereattending the funeral, we quickly showed Nana the TwigLight, but did not perform the interviews. Nana recommendedadding a handle and color-coordinated cup, which weresuggestions that had been echoed in Domeabra.
Biemso, cont.Kim Pearson Afterward we were directed to seethe jatropha ﬁelds, which could be potentialbiofuel sources and thus a business venturefor the people of Biemso. After making ourway back to the chief’s house, we were giventhe opportunity to attend the funeral, whichwe were not expecting. The people directedus to shake hands with seemingly hundredsof people underneath three large red tents inthe town square, while upbeat music playedfrom speakers in the center. To our surprise,they sat us down directly behind the centraltent, for everyone to see us (a place ofhonor). Shortly after we did, just abouteveryone whom we had just shook handswith got up to shake our hands -- one byone. Meanwhile, we were given water bags tokeep us cool in the excessive heat while anelderly woman announced who we were overthe loudspeakers.
TIA - This is AfricaBrian McCollow - blog post All of the taxis and vans in Ghana have some sort of saying, and last year we saw one that said, “KEEPON.” We are doing just that, as the internet has been out for the past three days or so, but life – it goes on,and we have been busy! Today we set out for Biemso, but we dropped Dan off at the airport on the way. He had to get back tothe U.S. because, apparently, he has a job, or something like that…? :) Regardless, after a very long drivethrough some rainforest and multiple little villages, and after getting lost again and again (apparently there areTWO Biemsos, now we know), we ﬁnally arrived at the chief’s house. He and his elders greeted us and we satunder the very short tree next to his house. We went through the formal process of introducing ourselves andthen announcing what we were there for. He actually remembered me from last year, which was crazy. Through conversation, we quickly found out that the chief’s nephew had just passed away, andSaturdays are the days for funerals. Deaths are taken very seriously, and the funerals are huge cultural events.We later found out that we were expected to attend the funeral as visitors, but as the conversation continuedwith the chief, we showed him the newest twig light prototype. He and his elders were extremely surprisedwith what happened, and even provided some feedback, like to combine the canisters into one unit instead oftwo separate ones. After showing the chief and his elders the light, we went off to the jatropha ﬁelds, as those are part ofone of our projects and we didn’t want to disturb anyone during the funeral. On our way back we learned thatwe had to go to the ceremony on our way out, and we soon embarked on one of the most amazing culturalexperiences we could ever have imagined.
We walked up to ﬁnd a huge outdoor funeral, where there were six huge tents with people sittingunderneath them and very loud music. We had to go around to every single person sitting down in the frontrow and shake his or her hand. After we were lead around the event, we were sat just behind the speakersand then a woman came out and offered each of us water. In Ghana, it is customary to offer your guestswater, as it is assumed they have traveled a long way and are thirsty. Water is served before anything is said(traditionally). Edward and Julius guided us through the whole process, and we gathered some money to offeras a gift, to follow customs. The gift, roughly $35, was announced along with the fact that we were from ASU,and the announcer said lots of other stuff that we didn’t understand. But, as we left, they dedicated a song tous, and we are pretty sure they were expecting us to dance, but we escaped with lots of laughter. One of the crazy things in Ghana is that everywhere we go, we are a spectacle. Not only are we white,but we are a whole group of white people! It goes both ways; we can get out of staying for multiple hourfunerals, for instance, but we also get swamped by salesmen everywhere we go. But hey, TIA. This Is Africa. Oh, a cockroach or something just crawled up my wall; I’m going to go take care of that. Tomorrow wedrive to Accra, goodnight!
Funeral TraditionsHeather Hazzan Coming from America, we had no ideahow to act respectfully at the funeral. Wewere all used to funerals being sad andsomber. Most people wear black in theUnited States. But in Ghana, we wereshocked to find loud music playing, brightred colors, and people dancing and laughing.For many of us, it was an awkward situationto be put into because of the cultural normswe had been brought up with. However, the next year we found anarticle in the New York Times titled, “Dance,Laugh, Drink. Save the Date: It’s a GhanaianFuneral.” It was about how Ghanaian funeralsare celebrations of life. It is also customaryfor family and friends to greet one another ina line, just as we had.
The Accra MallDavid Metoyer - journal post I visited the Accra Mall, an upscale malllocated in the capital city, Accra. Rather thanthe Apple Store, there was The iShop, whichwas also an Internet cafe. The iPhone wasavailable for sale, so was the iPad. Afteradjusting the prices into dollars, each devicewas marked up almost 300 percentcompared to prices in the States. Forreference, the average annual wage in Ghanais below $500. Using simple math, thecheapest iPad was triple the average annualsalary.
Talking Apple in AccraDavid Metoyer - journal post Ghana’s capital city, Accra, most resembled the United States. There were tall buildings, shopping centers, restaurants, andstreets congested with cars, vendors, and bicyclist. GlobalResolve was staying at the Punta Hotel, an upscale hotel in the heartof the city. We were told Internet access would be available. And it was, but not all the time. When available, the connection wasoften weak and sluggish. Convinced the hotel staff simply needed to reset the wireless router to fix the issue, I walked down tothe hotel lobby one night to share my thoughts. It turned out, my hotel room was just too far from the router. The iPad’sconnection was strong in the lobby. I sat in the lobby for about an hour, emailing status updates and pictures to family and friends. I finished up and startedwalking towards my room when the hotel receptionists asked: “Is that an iPad? Will you show me, please?!” It was late, andGlobalResolve had a full schedule planned for the next day. Still, I figured I had a few moments to spare. I turned away from myroom, shrugged my shoulders and replied, “Sure.” I handed the iPad to the receptionist; his name was Kennedy. His eyes lit up. He said it was the first one he had ever seen inperson. We chatted for a moment about Apple products and what made them so fascinating. Kennedy clearly kept himself wellinformed about the company. He knew all about Apple’s product line and pricing -- at least what was available in Ghana. He wasflabbergasted after hearing prices in the United States. He navigated through the iPad very well; checked my iTunes library forrecently added songs, browsed through photo albums, even logged into Facebook to share pictures of his family and friends. Inoticed he knew special shortcut commands beyond the basic intuition of the device. When I questioned him, he smiled andslipped an iPhone from his shirt pocket. Kennedy explained that Apple products were luxury items in Ghana -- very cool but extremely expensive. The iPhone andiPad were symbols of status more than communication devices. The devices’ abilities were limited by the telecommunicationsnetwork and their small market share in Ghana. To him, it was the wifi Internet connectivity that justified owning one. His onlyiPhone complaint was the small screen. While Kennedy and I spoke, hotel guests passed by and glanced at the iPad. Some recognized it and others had neverheard of it before, or Apple. Some stopped to ask questions and others did not want to be around it. An older man knew exactlywhat it was and described the iPad as, “The toy of demons”. The hotel manager came from his office to see the cause of the commotion. He was clearly irritated. Kennedy passed himthe iPad, he smirked then asked to see more. I pointed to the sketching app. A curious woman poked her head through the smallcrowd that had gathered in the lobby. The manager spoke of his earlier days as an artist and politely asked if she would be hissubject for a portrait. She agreed and stood still for fifteen minutes as he frantically swiped away on the screen. All together, what I intended to be a quick five minute chat with Kennedy, evolved into a three-hour iPad demonstration forover 40 hotel guests. Many of them were captivated by the mythical device and insisted to know where they could get their own. On the last day of the trip, Kennedy offered $800 to buy the iPad from me. After consideration, I declined his offer. Theinconsistent Internet connection prevented me from backing up my saved data via email. My documented experiences withGlobalResolve, alone, were arguably worth well over $800.
Drive to Accra, Akawali VillageBrian McCollow - blog post Yesterday we drove down from Kumasi to Accra in our 25-person bus we hired for the trip. As it waslast year, it was a very beautiful drive. You go through some very cool rainforest and see some smallmountains and vast farmland. It rained again on us about half way to Accra, so that was cool. After a ﬁve and a half hour drive, we ﬁnally got the the guest house in Kumasi. Surprise, since no oneshowed up for the reservation we had for the original group of nine to stay there the ﬁrst night before catchingtheir ﬂight the next day to Kumasi, all the rooms had been canceled. It took about two and a half hours, andvisits to four other hotels to ﬁnally ﬁnd the one we’re at right now. It’s most deﬁnitely the weirdest hotel roomI’ve ever been in! The sink is in the shower… along with the water heater. No, I’m serious. The sink isphysically inside the shower, and this morning, Mike got shocked as he used the hot water!! :/ But, TIA – thisIs Africa! At least it has free breakfast? On par with the rest of the crew’s travel faux pas, all the hallways areat odd angles, and our room, 502, is kinda on the second level, after about four sets up and down stairs. Anyways, today we made it out to Akawali (still not sure on the exact spelling, it’s pronounced Akwali),where we met up with Edward and Julius (the two KNUST grads who now teach at Kumasi Polytechnic andstarted CEESD, which is kind of a spin-off of GlobalResolve but in Ghana; they’re a great partner). This wasthe ﬁrst time we had ever been to that village, and it was one of our favorites (probably because it was new).It’s interesting to see the variety of problems, and how each village has their own set that are more prominentthan the others. Akawali has absolutely no light at night and makes for a great potential place for the TwigLight.
AkawaliDavid Metoyer - journal post Akawali was a sugarcane farming village; and sugarcane was the ideal feed crop for ethanol production. Seeingpotential in the opportunity, the GlobalResolve team made the 2-hour trip to Akawali on their seventh day in Ghana. The village was rural, with dirt roads, rammed earth homes, no electricity and an unﬁnished communal meetingplace made of cinder blocks and tin rooﬁng. The team was given a tour of the village and its small-scale ethanolproduction operation. Afterwards, the team met with villagers in the community center to explain GlobalResolve’smission and conduct a village needs assessment through open discussion and village mapping. Village mapping was atechnique that served to engage the entire community in a discussion. Using local materials, such as leaves, sticks,stones, and seeds, the village was asked to collectively map the entire village on the ﬂoor. The ﬁnished map includedroads, rivers, ﬁelds, water wells, schools, churches, and homes. John Takamura, GlobalResolve team member and assistant professor at the School of Architecture andLandscape Architecture at Arizona State University, pulled an iPad from his bag. He knelt down, peering at the groundand began to swipe his ﬁnger up and down then left to right, repeatedly. The iPad helped John recreate the villagemap in digital form. The team took photographs but the iPad made it easy to quickly draw and label the map,minimizing the ambiguity in things like the small rock that represented the school or the leaf that represented thesugarcane ﬁeld. Villagers were intrigued, slowly stepping around to get a better look over his shoulder without catching hisattention or distracting him from what appeared very serious. I reached into my backpack, pulled out a small blackcase, and handed it to an older child from the village; he was no more than 14-years-old [opposite page: picturedbottom in a yellow shirt]. I explained the basics of the iPad, “Just use your ﬁnger,” and then stood back andobserved. The young teenager took to the iPad instantly and followed John’s lead. Moments later, the teen replicatedthe map on the iPad. He had no prior experience with Apple products. His schooling provided some experience withcomputers, but the technology was near-ancient in comparison. The intuitiveness of the iPad required no learningcurve, only my one-sentence tutorial, “Just use your ﬁnger.”
Akawli Upon arrival, it was obvious that it was extremelyrural. There were no toilets or electricity, and their hutswere made from local materials.
Village Mapping in Akawali Kim Pearson Village mapping consists of allowing villagers todescribe their community and thus allow us to familiarizeourselves with their town and also understand possibleproblems. We drew a map of the village with importantindicators such as churches and roads using local items likesticks, rocks, leaves, and ﬂowers. Once everyone was in thecommunity meeting center, a tin-roofed structure held up withbeams and only one brick wall, with wooden church pews forseating, GlobalResolve introduced itself. As usual, one personis chosen to draw the boundaries of the village, and alsotypically, there is some disagreement from other citizens as towhether they drew correctly.
First, the direction from which the sun rises is depicted. Rivers and physical structures are mapped out. Next,schools and churches are also placed. Lastly, houses are indicated, with the number of females and males represented bysmall items on top of each one.
Education TechnologyAccess in Ghana alti.asu.edu This year we provided theGlobalResolve team with Apple iPadtechnology to enhance their work in Ghana.Presently, the cell phone is the predominantcommunications technology in Ghana as it isin many similar areas throughout the world.There are relatively few desktop computers inuse in Ghana, and Internet access is evenmore scarce. Though even with limitedexperience using traditional computertechnology, village teenagers quickly took tothe the iPad’s touch screen interface andwere easily able to draw illustrative mapsusing graphics programs on the iPad,recreating what the GlobalResolve team hadlaid out on the dirt ﬂoor. In short order thetablet engaged the students and providedthem with an effective means ofcollaboration, communication, and forms ofexpression… all with little or no technicaltraining required.
This simple instance is a powerful statement about the applied use of technology for teaching and learning,and more importantly to the potential and possibilities available when the barriers to access are overcome interms of prior technical knowledge.
FawomanyeKim Pearson Fawomanye is an agricultural village specializing in pineapple production. Upon arrival, we gatheredaround the village tree across the circle from women, babies, children, men, and elders (sitting in a specialplace in the circle), while goats roamed all around us. Meanwhile, most everyone noticed that several childrenwere playing with toy cars pulled along by sticks. We quickly realized that the cars were made out ofmaterials like shampoo bottles, wooden boxes, and other used items. This ingenuity intrigued us and wouldbecome an important point of inspiration. Edward, Mike, Mark, and Brad demonstrated the Twig Light, muchto everyone’s delight. After shaking everyone’s hands, we took a tour of a small pineapple field with some ofour newfound friends. Some young girls gave us a taste of sugar cane and then showed us the field. A few ofus lent our cameras to the girls who instantly started snapping away. Shortly after, we split into interview groups along with one or two student interpreters. The various topicsof discussion included the education system, agricultural practices (such as use of pesticides and fertilizers,process of selling), and water cleanliness and access. In terms of education, villagers were struggling withrising tuition prices and the external costs of school, such as clothing and shoes. The health care is similarlyexpensive, and many were unsure as to how they could pay. Regarding agriculture, the pesticides in use hurttheir skin and burned their eyes. When asked whether they would consider organic agricultural practices suchas intercropping to naturally prevent bugs, farmers said they would be interested. In addition, when describedthe practice of forming a cooperative, there was interest in joining if there were benefits.
The explained benefits would bepooling resources to buy better tools andundertake practices that would be moreprofitable at economies of scale, in addition tothe possibility of having more bargainingpower with the middlemen, or to eliminate themiddlemen more directly by transporting thecrops to market themselves. Several villagers wanted to discusstheir water source, which had become evenmore dangerously low since the last year andthus too muddy to drink. The monsoon rainswere coming later and later every year. During the trip the year before,GlobalResolve and Mary Kay Jacksondistributed 250 water filters, but by now thefilters were not enough and villagers had tobuy water that was trucked in.
FuFu AnecdoteBriar Schoon I remember watching the women pound the cassava with the mortar and long pestle made from wood. While one girlpounded the cassava, another flipped the doughy substance in a constant motion. They were so efficient, pounding the doughwithout even looking. I recall being terrified that one of them would slip, resulting in a mangled hand. This of course neverhappened, as the women were so accustomed to this procedure it came naturally, as if the pestle were simply an extension oftheir hand. As I stood watching in amazement, the mother called to me and gestured towards the cassava dough. It was obviousthat she wanted me to try. Cautiously I walked up to the mortar and grabbed the long wooden pestle. I became even more nervous when I realizedthat the girl sitting down remained in her seat. I pounded down on the dough, which I instantly discovered to be far more difficultthan I imagined. The cassava was very sticky and coarse. It required a lot of energy to pound down the long pole. It required evenmore energy to pound the cassava at the right speed. Despite finding the task far harder than I thought and being scared to deathabout accidentally mashing the young girl’s hand, I found myself capable of laughing along with the other women. To theGhanaian women, it was quite comical watching my pathetic attempt at pounding the cassava. I was quite relieved when one ofthe girls came to relive me from the chore. At the next house, we found another woman engaged in the next stage of preparing FuFu. She was sitting by the fire stirringa large pot of cassava dough. I didn’t immediately notice, but two metal rods that she was holding in place with her feet proppedup the stove while she stirred the dough. To top it off, she had her daughter wrapped up on her back. Apparently the women in Domeabra got some pleasure out of watching me try to cook, because the women instantlyinvited me to sit and try. I discovered that this process was far more difficult than pounding the cassava dough. The dough wasso tough and sticky, that it required a lot of muscle power to stir. To top it off, I had to keep my feet steady on the rods to keepthe pot from tipping over. After about a minute, the woman took back over to prevent the dough from burning. I left amazed atthe amount of work put in to preparing the family’s meal every single day, and grateful for the convenience of my refrigerator andmicrowave.
Cocoa BeansKim Pearson The cocoa bean, one of Ghanas principal exports, doesnot look nor taste remotely close to the chocolate bar we know.The bean grows in large pods that are cracked open to reveal agelatinous mash of seeds which are then cleaned from thecocoa fruit and dried in the blistering sun. The work ispainstakingly done, yet often does not lend itself to economicwell-being for farmers and their families. Meanwhile, manychildren work with their parents harvesting the cocoa, and therehave even been reported cases of child slavery in West African
Villagers in Fawomanye were interested in creating co-ops for their pineapple fields.
Visiting Fawomanye on Africa Unity DayBrian McCollow - blog post Sorry for the superbly long delay! No, nothing bad happened to us, we just didn’t have internet for threestraight days and then it has been quite intermittent since it came back; apparently is only works wellbetween 5 am and 8 am – the times I am not awake! Today we went back to the village of Fawomanye, where they immediately recognized Mark, Brad, andme, which was really cool. I remember taking pictures of half of them as we all sat around that samecommunity tree and we went through the process of welcoming each other. Last year, we only focused on thewater ﬁlters, but this year we brought the latest prototype of the Twig Light. There were issues communicatingthat we needed hot coals from the stove in the charcoal chamber, so it took a few attempts and almost halfan hour before we were able to turn the light on, but they liked the idea, and were even more interested in thecell phone charging component. A few of the villagers have ﬂashlight-type contraptions that they can take outand walk around with at night, and they told us they would like a mobile version. This was the last village of four on our schedule, and everyone expressed that they liked Fawomanyethe best, and felt the most comfortable there. It seems that it takes about a week in Ghana to become familiarenough with the culture and talking with villagers. Briar and Heather attracted two shy little girls who alsobecame comfortable sitting in their laps; in fact, the girl who decided she liked Briar eventually fell asleep inher arms! Briar was very, very happy with that and smiled the whole way home! After showing the twig light at the tree, everyone broke into small groups and went around to talk withvillagers and ask questions. We didn’t have much of a plan for Fawomanye, so it was only slightly chaotic.
We went and saw the pineapple ﬁelds, which I hadn’t seen last year, and they were building a newmosque, which was also deﬁnitely not there last year. David noted it was fascinating that there could bemultiple religions in Ghana, even within very small villages, and that there wasn’t any conﬂict between them.Studying that lack of conﬂict could easily be someone’s thesis, and the concepts could be applied in variousregions throughout the world… [This is my ofﬁcial challenge to you, reader: ﬁnd someone interested inreligious conﬂict, peace studies, etc., and send them our way. GlobalResolve has quite an integratedapproach in its mission.] By the end of the (short) day, we started to naturally gather outside someone’s home, and then anotherwoman was stirring banku for that night’s meal. Because we are very interested in the cooking habits andwhat it takes to make a meal (speciﬁcally in regards to the stove design), Nalini asked if she could try stirringthe banku. She quickly became the center of attention, and then made me, Heather, and Briar try it, too!Within minutes, there were 20-30 villagers watching us, and it was just a big funny show! There were notranslators with us, but it proved that humans can communicate without words; through laughter andembarrassment, we proved we weren’t above them, and showed our genuine interest in what they weredoing. It was quite hilarious and something either group probably won’t forget! What made today even more special was that it was Africa Unity Day, an international holiday (calledother things in other countries, such as Africa Liberty Day, etc.). Compounding that with the fact that we wereactually in Africa made the day even better.
AdvertisementsHeather HazzanCell Phone Companies Believe it or not, but cell phones can be more prevalent inBottom of the Pyramid (BOP) countries than clean water. Theirimportance cannot be dismissed. Having cell phones allowsvillagers to communicate with other sellers and buyers aboutprices, etc, from far distances. It was hard to miss the cell phone companies’sadvertisements on various homes and buildings. The companypays the owner money in return for ad space.President Obama President Obama has definitely changed the perceptionof America overseas. Ghana had everything from Obama waterpackaging to Obama pencils. They seemed to be very proudof his success in America. “Where are you from?” - a Ghanaian “America” - one of our students “Ohhhh, OBAMA COUNTRY!!??” - a Ghanaian
Debrief in Guest House In a 4-hour-long debriefing session atthe guest house, each of us rehashed on ourexperiences and what we had learned. Briantyped the entire conversation to help usunderstand what GlobalResolve should focuson in the next semesters. It was really neat toput all of our ideas out on the table in hopesof making it into something greater.
Welcome to Kakum National Park We hiked the longest and highest canopy walk inthe world! The view of above the rainforest is somethingthat many of us will never forget.
Ghanaian Kids Brian McCollow - blog post The children in Ghana seemed like any otherchildren in the US. The kids here are literally playing inthe dirt. They poured water in the dirt and are stirring itaround with sticks and then play with the mud; and theyare having the grandest time! I think this creates aninteresting argument on happiness; it enforces theviewpoint that you dont need very much to makeyourself happy. It also reminds me of that golden rule ofmaking do with what you have.
No matter how little or how much they had, the Ghanian children embodied authentic, relentless joy. They lived iteach day.
What an amazing adventure in Ghana! The people we met and the experiences we shared will stay with usforever.
“Each of us has much more hidden inside us than we have had a chance to explore. Unless we create anenvironment that enables us to discover the limits of our potential, we will never know what we have inside of us.”- Muhammad Yunus