As the world works to address the spread of coronavirus, the impacts on our partner communities in rural Northern Ghana are becoming increasingly severe. Our longterm relationships with these communities have given us an opportunity to quickly offer support to address the following challenges:
Food shortages - an unpredictable rainy season led to poor harvests this year. The national closures in response to the virus have worsened this situation by slowing trade, significantly raising food prices, and preventing students from getting a daily meal at our schools. Unfortunately, we anticipate this situation worsening significantly over the next three months of the dry season.
Inability to wash hands - our partner villages lack access to clean water and all of the residents get their water from standing ponds filled by rain. Community members also have limited access to soap, which is expensive to purchase.
Meeting with parents and community leaders, our partners developed a plan for food and soap distribution along with public health education. They have distributed food to 320 mothers, soap to over 1200 people, and held community public health trainings. They are also installing hand washing stations in the communities.
With your help, we would like to distribute rice, peas, beans, and peanuts (foods recommended to address childhood malnutrition) and soap once per month from our early childhood learning centers. Partners will use school classrooms and desks for a physical distancing distribution method.
We are also planting two school gardens and installing an additional rain water catchment system to create two hand washing stations at one of our early childhood education centers. The gardens will include vegetables that will be available for our school food program in August.
We are closely collaborating with our partners to support this project and to ensure that limited resources are distributed effectively and to those who need it most. Our community-based model means that our partners are able to communicate regularly with students, parents, and traditional leaders. We are receiving extensive documentation of this response effort including receipts, photographs, interviews of participants, and daily progress updates.