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Friday, October 24, 2014

Under the weather: #TeamRAINS moves to the field

By Hannah Wilson

This week has been a busy week for cohort 8 as we have moved out of the office and into the field in order to evaluate the last cohort’s work and move the projects forward. 

On Monday we met with the Northern Sector Action on Awareness Centre (NORSAAC), a gender-based advocacy organisation. We spoke to them about the progress of their Innovative Sexual Education Project (ISEP) campaign and how we could get involved. The ISEP campaign started in 2008 with the aim of introducing a new sex education module into the Ghanaian curriculum. Currently children under the age of 16 cannot be taught about contraception, but this campaign is hoping to reduce this age in order to promote safe sex. We found the campaign has made huge progress in recent months and is now moving into the final stages. The module is being printed ready to be presented to the Ghanaian Education Service (GES) for approval. The team are excited to get involved in these final stages. 
We have also begun the evaluation of the previous cohort’s sex education sensitisation sessions. We 
visited Ticheli school on Tuesday (we arrived very early, believing it to be an hour drive from the RAINS office but itwas closer to 15 minutes!). 

Evaluation session at Ticheli school
Ticheli is a small primary school on the outskirts of Tamale, where some of the students received sex education sessions during the International Service Summer School. We were very warmly greeted by the headmaster, teachers and students alike and we conducted the evaluation with a group of students from P5 and P6. The results were very interesting and they have given us many ideas as to what the main focus of our sensitisation sessions need to be in the future. We were also very pleased to be able to sign Ticheli up as a beneficiary school on the Students for Schooling project and we look forward to taking donations to the school at the end of our time in Ghana.



We also visited Nayourku in West Mamprusi where our Farming for Futures project is based. We met with a group of farmers who are members of the farming cooperative, and we discussed their experiences with the demonstration farm, the running of their cooperative and the training they have already received. Moving on to meet with the chief, who was incredibly welcoming, it was great to hear the community was thankful for the work that RAINS and the Farming for Futures project have conducted in the area.

Maize harvested from the
demonstration farm
From here we visited the cooperative’s demonstration farm. The one-acre plot had been split into two sections with soya beans planted in one half and maize in the other. It was disappointing to see the yield had not been as large as was hoped for due to the lack of rains. One of the farmers mentioned that an accurate weather forecast would be beneficial for the cooperative in order for seed planting to occur at the optimal time. We hope that there can be an easy solution for this problem so that the next harvest will be more successful. 

Despite this it was encouraging to know the formation of the cooperative has reinforced the project conducted by RAINS in the area and it has kept boys in school. The farmers in the cooperative are now assisting each other in the harvest of their private crops instead of asking their sons. Nayourku had such a great community spirit and this has inspired us to make sure the project is a success. 

It has been a busy week for cohort 8, but unfortunately one member of our team has not been with us all week due to illness (despite his attempts to continue to work!). We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to having all of us back together for another busy week next week.