I’ve been back in the UK long enough to collect my thoughts and reflect on what I witnessed and learnt during my 10 weeks in Africa. As such I thought you might appreciate an update on one of the sites that was mentioned earlier in my trip, so let me take you back to Shia…
I was incredibly sad to leave Ghana where we are working with some amazing organisations that are really up against it, whether that be due to lack of water, sanitation, electricity, government cooperation, funding or all of the above!
It’s therefore a source of genuine pride that I can tell you about real progress in the village of Shia where COCO had helped fund the construction of an IT Centre as well as a cocoa farmers’ cooperative.
The IT Centre (part of the Shia Secondary School) is now complete and a Ghanaian donor has been found to assist those students at the school who had been struggling to pay school fees; as a result the headmaster is much happier with how the future looks for his students.
As for the farmers’ cooperative, the plan is to provide small loans that will give farmers long sought after access to capital to enable them to put their cocoa farms on a sustainable footing. All the loans will be repaid without interest and only after the cocoa plantations have started to produce – something that traditional sources of funding (i.e. banks) often do not take into account. The money will go back into the cooperative rather than returning to COCO meaning other farmers can benefit.
All in all the trip to Ghana was very successful, eye opening and a great opportunity for me to find out what COCO should be prioritising for these fantastic communities to ensure sustainable futures for the many children and families we are working with.