Friday, March 10, 2017

Let's see just how far we have come...

We are nearly at the end of our placement here in Bolgatanga and the time continues to fly by. The TradeAid office has stepped up the pace and the to-do list is steadily reducing. This past week has not been without its struggles, but the team has become stronger as a result.
Team TradeAID at Zaare product diversification training. 
On Thursday, the team headed to Sirigu for the mid-term review. We caught up with the other teams and showed the progress we had made. Looking back at our achievements, we were proud; we’ve gotten a surprising amount of work done in these short weeks and felt rather smug when portraying our triumphs to the other teams. One such success is the launch of our sparkling new website (visit it here: http://incometradeaid.wixsite.com/tradeaid-integrated). It still needs a few tweaks here and there, but the media team have worked tirelessly to revamp and reimagine the TradeAid image. We’re rather proud of it.

The team conducting a Needs Assessment. 
Valentine’s Day was amazing! We had written down everyone’s names in the group, and picked one in secret to get a present for. By the morning, everyone was eager to know those who picked their names and the presents they were going to receive. We then visited Bolgatanga Polytechnic, and decided to open the presents in the afternoon.

Our visit to the tertiary institution turned out to be a huge success when they agreed to be part of the Bolgatanga International Craft and Arts Fair (BICAF), offering us 12 marketing students to help re-brand the fair as a family event. The fair celebrates Bolgtatanga’s fair trade town status, giving craft workers a chance to showcase their products on a much wider stage. We were very happy to be developing a long sustainable relationship with Bolgatanga Polytechnic, so our Val’s day just got better.

left to right- Josie TL, Paster (driver) and Doreen (Volunteer)
The secret of who selected my name was revealed and presents were exchanged. I was so happy to receive vitamins and malt from our amazing team leader Josie. I got a cold that week, so it was the perfect gift for me. Alisa gave Rob sweets and chewing gum, thoughtfully wrapped paper. The rest of the team received chocolate amongst airtime, amongst others.

Moving away from the excitement of Valentine’s Day, we completed a report on straw and fabric dye and an apprenticeship scheme in Zaare. We have been researching how to access local dye, so as to cut down the cost of dye for basket weaver and fabric makers. On top of this we have assessed the pilot scheme for the youth and disabled people of Zaare our apprenticeship scheme, so they could learn how to weave baskets as a means of income since they are currently unemployed.

Doreen and Asibi (basket weaver) 
Another accomplishment this week was the completion of our first training session. The Bolgatanga Physically Challenged Women’s Group were trained in product diversification, learning how to make new products such as aprons and cushion covers. After weeks of research, preparation and hard work, it felt great to see the impact of our involvement in the community in front of our eyes. Today marked the first steering committee meeting for BICAF 2017. We assessed the progress of last year’s fair and began to look at continuing its success.

Doreen translating at peer training event. Kwame (TL) right. 
Our trip to Sirigu for the midterm review made our placement better. We uncovered some issues within the team, but continued to work together to find solutions, creating resources such as a respect handbook, which we will be able to pass on to future cohorts. We ran sessions on team-bonding and recognising how much we all have in common. We’ve been planning a movie night on Fridays but never had a perfect choice of movies, so we borrowed Harry Potter from Matthew from the Life team in Sandema. Watching Harry Potter was fun with all my team members around and a “Sobolo” made by Naziba (Rob and Gideon’s host mum).

We had an afternoon at our team leaders house on Saturday. We discussed funny topics and took some pictures, we have found that it is very important to make time for each other outside of work. Placement has really been fun with my perfect team trying to overcome our challenges and working to achieve our set goals.

Author: Atuk  Abasitewon  Doreen

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