Thursday, January 16, 2014

TradeAID Integrated: Meet and Greet

Greetings from Bolga, Ghana!

We are the most recent cohort of International Service volunteers working on the Trade Aid Project!

Top Row from R to L : Alastair, Lukmaan, Conrad
Bottom Row from R to L: Mathilda, Jake, Zainab, Falah, Therri 
After 3 days of training in the Northern capital of Tamale our team of 8 arrived in Bolgatanga (More commonly known as Bolga) on the 13th of January 2014. Given Bolga’s reputation as a craft town and trading post it is perfectly situated for the TradeAID project which aims to develop economic opportunities and generate wealth for the rural poor. We are all eager to get started and have come up with a wide variety of ideas. In particular we identified four target areas and formed a 10 week action plan consisting of:
      1)  Developing TradeAID’s online presence and social media capability. 
      2)  Continuing with the project’s fundraising and developing a crowd-funding campaign.  
      3)  Contributing towards TradeAID’s record keeping and business skills workshop programme.  
      4)  Working towards achieving Fair Trade Town status for Bolgatanga. In order to achieve this wider goal we are looking to put together a steering committee and promote the local craft sector with a trade fair. 
So without further ado let’s meet the team!

Therri Tait – Team Leader
Hello, I’m Therri Tait and I am from Bolgatanga, well I’ve lived here for 7 months so I think I can say that. I am the team leader and this is the third and final group of volunteers that I will be managing. Sob. My previous groups have worked hard to research activities which will benefit the craft sector and I hope that this team will be able to start mobilising the community to implement them.

Duti Conrad Biilarch – National Volunteer
My Name is Duti Conrad Biilarh and I live in Bolgatanga. I hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Integrated Development Studies from the University for Development Studies. I work with TradeAID Integrated as an advocacy officer and am a volunteer on the International Service INCOME project.  I hope to ensure that we can empower local people so that they can invest in the craft sector.

Mathilda Yensingit – National Volunteer
Hi, I am Mathilda Yensingit and I come from Bolgatanga. I have a higher national diploma in Marketing from Tamale Polytechnic. I have worked as a national volunteer with TradeAID for the past 3 months. This team is working towards Bolgatanga hosting a Trade Fair, which is something which I am really excited about working towards. I hope we achieve our goal.

Alastair Mears – International Volunteer
Hi, I’m Alastair and I reside in the Birmingham suburb of Solihull. I have recently completed a postgraduate degree in International Relations & Terrorism at the University of Birmingham and am looking to pursue a career in the Civil Service. I’m really looking forward to communicating with local businesses and getting Bolgatanga the economic popularity it deserves.      

Jake Stenson – International Volunteer
Hello all! I’m Jake, 19 years old and hail from the delightful town of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. I finished school in July and am currently taking a gap year before I head to UCL in September to study Geography and Economics. After only a few days I’m already starting to feel at home in Bolga, helped by the outstanding friendliness of Ghanaians, my hideous sunburn and myriad of insect bites. Over the next 10 weeks I’m really looking forward to working with the vibrant local crafts community on the TradeAID project and in particular would love to help Bolgatanga to begin its journey to becoming a Fair Trade town.

Zainab Wali – International Volunteer
Hi! My name is actually Zainab (not Jaina as circulated and known by our other volunteers). I'm from the best province in the UK, (East) Yorkshire :p and live in a small town called Beverley. As cliche as it sounds, I want to help make our world a better place, and the current situation of inequality and poor wealth distribution, breaks my heart. I studied a Chemistry Bsc in London and a Green Chemistry and Sustainability Masters in York. I hope to apply my qualifications and passion in making a difference.

Falah Basir – International Volunteer
Heys, I’m Falah and I’m from Hong Kong. Before I became a ‘Bolga babez’ I was teaching English in Beijing for a couple of years then went on to work in the financial sector in London. I’m looking forward to carrying on the work the past volunteers have done. In particular, working with the crafts people to help them with their record keeping and to create economic opportunity for the local community.

Lukmaan Ali – International Volunteer
Hello everyone! I’m Lukmaan, and I’m from Manchester. Prior to arriving in Bolga, I studied Economics BSc at the University of Bradford. I am a Manchester United fan (the greatest team in the world) and generally love to play sports. As well as football, I enjoy playing badminton and cricket. I have worked as a volunteer at The Citizens Advice Bureau and contributed to other volunteer projects in my local area. I am looking forward to continuing my volunteering experience in Ghana, hoping to make a difference; in particular, I am looking forward to helping Bolga gain Fair Trade Town status.

Your blogger today was:
Alastair Mears

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