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Friday, February 6, 2015

What does sustainability mean to you?


By Beth White

Team RAINS enjoying a meal of plantain and aleefu sauce
Sustainability is probably one of the most fashionable current buzzwords. Many of us will immediately conjure up images of everyday environmental issues – the most common of these being climate change, recycling, low energy use and general ‘greenness’. Indeed, these are very real issues which our generation faces. However does sustainability just relate to the environment? Whilst working at RAINS it has become clear that sustainability is not purely about everything 'green'...

Whilst the term can certainly be identified as somewhat 'wishy-washy' - quite simply sustainability means keeping things going. This is through using methods which avoid negative implications on people, the environment and economics.

And why do we have this term? Many ways in which we live our lives are damaging future generations' chance to have the same opportunities as we have had. Sustainability and its meaning is therefore not – as many think – purely restricted to encouraging eco-friendly behaviour.
 
So how does RAINS plan to influence positive change across each of the key sustainable areas?!

Just briefly I will fill you in on some of the the a-maize-ing plans team RAINS cohort 9 has for promoting sustainable development across each of its projects. 

Safe choices

Our successful evaluation session of the Ticheli community last week has provided the RAINS team with a fantastic baseline on which to conduct further evaluations in the Kanvili and Gukpuhu-Tua areas in the near future. Following this, we plan to identify three new communities wishing to have sexual education sensitisation sessions around the Tamale area. Safe choices is a fantastic example of social sustainability and how educating young individuals about sexual health can influence their continuation of schooling.

The team after their first evaluation session at Ticheli

Students for Schooling

We have been in the planning stages of organising a splendiferous Sports Day between Abe Halperin and Dohi schools. Currently we wish to run three events – soccer, the sack race and, last but not least, the lime and spoon race. This event aims to promote a collaborative, efficient and sustainable relationship between both donor and beneficiary school.

Farming for Futures

Over the next  few weeks RAINS will be visiting the Nayorku community to present the farmers with their official co-operative certificate. We are also planning a training day where the focus will be upon composting and income diversification. Each activity will provide farmers with additional knowledge which can be used to increase their crop production. Farming for futures is  innovative in that it covers social, environmental and economic factors relating to sustainability.

The realisation that sustainability is so interrelated with environmental, social and economic factors can at times be difficult to grasp. However I hope this blog has – very briefly – cleared up a few misconceptions surrounding the term.

So as you can see – we certainly have our work cut out over the coming weeks. Yet with the help of our hard-working and creative team I have no doubt that RAINS are Ghana be a real success !