When you see men voluntarily breaking rocks in the hot sun to build their village’s community center, you think they must really want it. I saw this on a visit to a project by The Hunger Project in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The Hunger Project believes in people helping themselves.
Sure the skeptic would naturally seek more systematic and rigorous evaluation, and could think of plenty of things that can go wrong in any aid project. But let’s give skepticism the day off and salute the people who work so hard to help themselves and those who help them do so, against tough odds.
A salute to Dr. Naana Agyemang-Mensah, the hard-driving Director of the Hunger Project-Ghana, who works long hours to mobilize communities to help themselves. To the midwife in the birthing room in the completed community center, who lowers the mortality risk for mother and baby. To the microcredit bank in the community center, who gives loans to the members and makes sure they repay. To the food bank volunteers, who store food for the hungry season until the harvest.
Another salute to Professor George Ayiteey, whose Free Africa Foundation distributes insecticide-treated bed nets to the dusty remote villages I visited today. To G.B.K. Owusu, the local coordinator, who follows up with the chiefs and residents of each village to make sure the nets are reaching them (see net in use below).
And finally, once again to the men at work in the hot sun to build their own community center – a better image for aid than the stereotypical helpless child.