Saturday, 23 July 2016

Tamale: A Mix of Modernity and Pastoral Life

By Barbara Gardner, 2nd year MDP student

My field placement this summer is in Tamale, a predominately Muslim city in northern Ghana, working with the organization Regional Advisory Information and Network Systems (RAINS).  The sights, sounds and smells of history and pastoral living is vibrant and ever present all around me. Witnessing the mix of modernity and traditional pastoral life coexisting side-by-side has been eye-opening for me.

Bob N-Nya Yaa (Unity is strength) Women’s Group, Nanton-Kurugu

The primary focus of RAINS is empowering and educating girls and women. I have had the privilege of meeting and interacting with women who, with the assistance of RAINS, have been formed themselves into a small entrepreneurship group.  They have developed a sense of pride in what they have been able to accomplish, assisting each other to both mentor and nurture their children, while embracing this new collective “voice” to advocate for themselves.

Community Coordinator & Animator of the children after school programme, Nanton-Kurugu
I also visited and worked with the children and community organizers who are a part of the Childhood Regained Project (CRP), which seeks to assist school age children, both in school and out of school, by providing additional teaching support after the regular school day has ended.  This includes homework, explaining things taught in school and extracurricular activities; for those not a part of the formal school system, help to improve literacy in their native language and support them to enter the formal system.    

So far, it has been an eye opening experience in human rights (country and/vs customary) and seeing first-hand what goes into empowering the poor! I look forward to attending advocacy meetings and learning more from the community personnel about how they envisage the future through improved partnerships with NGOs and the community leaders.  

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