David, our Overseas Programme Coordinator, reports from Ghana.

“My first trip to Ghana since 2005 is full of surprises and also very familiar!

Accra, the capital, is booming. There are construction projects everywhere, and new buildings grace the skyline. The newly opened George W Bush motorway sweeps you across town, three lanes of traffic in each direction. Vehicles travel at wildly different speeds and clearly its best to expect the unexpected as pedestrians dart across the road and tro-tros (privately owned mini-buses which act as taxis) pull over to collect and drop off passengers.

The money has changed since my last visit. It remains the Cedis, but has been reissued minus 4 zeros. What used to cost 10,000 Cedis now costs 1 Cedis. And pesewas (pence-like divisions) have been restored as coins.

There are far more vehicles and motorbikes around as public wages have gone up and more people can afford to buy them. Shops and supermarkets abound, and they are full of goods. Virtually everything is now available to buy. Where previously spare parts and components would have to be specially ordered and take weeks (or months) to come through, they are now available within hours or days.

I take an internal flight from Accra to Tamale on one of the new daily flights. This costs less than driving the distance and takes just under an hour. The flight is full of business people and those travelling home for a long weekend. I am also one of several NGO workers and some foreign tourists.

Tamale is the bustling Northern Capital on the main road to Burkina Faso. I meet with African Initiatives partners Philip Ayamba the Director of the Community Self Reliance Centre (CSRC) and Fati al-Hassan the Director of the Grassroots Sisterhood Foundation (GSF). We take food together in the shade of a Neem tree and watch the traffic, goats and children go by.

I will be spending two weeks in Northern Ghana, visiting their projects and meeting members of the communities in which they work.

African Initiatives is funding CSRC to deliver support to rural women and vulnerable members of rural communities to access health information and services. This us known as the Access to Health Rights project. This is a four year project operating in 7 districts across the Upper Region and Northern Region of Ghana. ”


Read more about David’s visit in Ghana next week.