Montag, 23. Oktober 2017

Sustainable farming in Guabuliga

Overuse, monocultures and a high input of chemically-synthesized pesticides start showing its drawbacks globally. The project-team of Braveaurora takes action to fight these difficulties and their negative outcomes, considering the fact that farming is the essential base of cash- and food-income in Guabuliga.

Consequences of erosion and infertile land can not be solved with a higher input of chemicals on a long term base, neither ecologically nor financially. For this cause Braveaurora initiated a close cooperation with Asiribisi Self-help Initiative, a community based organisation focused on ecological farming. They train people in Guabuliga on sustainable and organic gardening. Besides proper crop planting to avoid nutrient-poor soil through monocultures, they produce self-made pesticides based on organic substances. Another focus is on the cross-breeding for more successful harvesting.
Enthusiastic about the trainings, I joined the group and took them through the Austrian method of compost construction. The group collected the material in no time and with the help of a skilled carpenter, previously trained by Braveaurora, the compost was done within two days. 

Standing with the trainees in front of their creation, I asked about the purpose of the exercise. And their answers made me outrageously happy: 
„Organic waste will turn within some months into an organic fertilizer. We put it on the soil of the vegetables and fruits so they grow better. Like this we can give more nutritious foods to our families and we will stay healthy. We will have a good harvest without buying expensive chemicals.“ 

Thanks to the great cooperation with a motivated gardening team and the translations and expert-knowledge of Asiribisi Self-help Initiative, the organic garden will provide self-produced organic and nutritious fertilizer.

This transferred knowledge aims to help making use of compost in larger scale for their own farms, to be independent of expensive chemically-synthesized products. Since I unfortunately need to leave Guabuliga soon, for a longer or hopefully shorter period, the supervision will be conducted by the trainees.  

Mittwoch, 11. Oktober 2017

Bugum - Celebrating ancient traditions in the north of Ghana

As I arrived in Guabuliga four weeks ago to do research for my master-thesis in nutritional sciences for the University of Vienna, I had no idea about the intriguing and compelling society awaiting me. If I would have known, I would have come years earlier!
It is easily witnessed, that proselytization also reached remote areas in all Northern Ghana as everyday-life is embossed by regular religious ceremonies. However, the ancient flame never lost its fire, as I was able to experience on my own in the previous week.  

The Fire festival, or Bugum Chugu as it is called locally, takes place annually for over 800 years in some communities and cities of Northern Ghana like Guabuliga. After dusk, the Elders are summoned through drumming at the Chiefs Palace where traditional dances are initiated, torches of dried wood are lighted up and a procession through the village starts. After some time, the Chief circles his head seven times with an illuminated torch, gives signs to open the gunfire and after the first gun is shot, the whole Guabuliga is brightened up by children, women and men carrying their fires and running joyfully through streets  celebrating until late night.

As children told me and online research proved them right, the roots of the Bugum Chugu lies in a King, whose son went out to play and did not return back home. The King desperately sent the whole village to search after his dear son. After nightfall he ordered to continue the search with torches, with which they found the child sleeping under a tree. This tree was accused from the king to have hidden his son from him and therefore they threw torches on it to cast away the evil, which still can be seen nowadays in some communities. 

If you should ever be around Northern Ghana in the beginning of October, be sure to be part of this unique night. It engages you in the pulse of a traditional relict and will surely leave you stunned. 

Samstag, 7. Oktober 2017

Review Meeting

On Friday the 6th of October, Braveaurora organised a review meeting in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare on the Unicef powered Social History and Post-reunification Stories project. The onus of the meeting was to present findings from the assessments so far and to discuss key findings with the various stakeholders. It was a platform to get participants' understanding of the project and to get them to unearth their experiences during the exercise.

As part of the objectives of the meeting, participants were tasked to dilate, in groups, on the provision of  a structured support package to reunited children and the benefits thereof. They also came up with vital components of a support package.

Interestingly, most outcomes of the meeting, went further to solidify the knowledge we already have concerning the reunification of children. Family based care is the best for all children and placement into institutions should be seen as the last resort. Exciting new learnings were also recorded from the assessments.

Putting this behind us, the team is now poised to start assessments in the West Mamprusi District. Both DSW and BA teams are prepared to hit the ground running. Pictures of the Review Meeting are shared below:

Donnerstag, 21. September 2017


Putting smiles on the faces of vulnerable children has always been BRAVEAURORA’S priority. BRAVEAURORA has supported these kids for so many years now-- this year is not an exception. It’s yet again the beginning of the academic year and the vulnerable children require education materials. In view of this, BA’s beneficiaries in the Primary and Junior High schools of Guabuliga received exercise books, school uniforms, foot wears and pens as a support package to help in their education. This was presented to them by our social workers. The children beamed with smiles after taking the items. They express their heartfelt appreciation to the BA team and everyone making education possible for them.

Freitag, 8. September 2017

Sensitisation Meeting in West Mamprusi District

In line with BA's objective to support institutionalized children enjoy appropriate parental and family care, together with the Department of Social Welfare, a sensitisation meeting was organised for former owners of orphanages in the West Mamprusi district.  The meeting aimed at building consensus and obtaining buy-in from stakeholders. Having worked with the vulnerable children, the former owners play a great role in supporting the BA and DSW teams to locate, assess and document post-reunification stories of the children. 

After successful assessments in five other districts in Northern Ghana, the team will commit two months to assessing over four hundred reintegrating children and families in the West Mamprusi district. Both BA and DSW staff are poised to kickoff the assessment after acquiring the backing of the former orphanage proprietors.

Pictures of the meeting are shared below:

Mittwoch, 16. August 2017

Meeting with UNICEF

Child Protection Specialists from UNICEF paid a monitoring visit to BA's onsite team to discuss findings so far from the post-reunificafion assessment. They engaged the team on the findings from the field and the challenges encountered during the exercise. They also provided technical support to the team in order to strengthen the project. They had a two-day discussion with the team leader on sustainability and the wayforward. It was an illuminating experience for everyone involved. 

The team will begin assessing and documenting the lives of reunified children in the West Mamprusi District-- this will be succeeded by a review meeting with partners. Shots of the Unicef team and the BA team leader are below:

Montag, 31. Juli 2017

Preliminary Visit to Bunkpurugu

This weekend, the BA team paid a preliminary visit to Bunkpurugu in the Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo district of Northern Ghana to meet key stakeholders and set the stage for the assessment of reunited children in the District. The highly successful trip saw the team engage the District Community Development Officer and the CEO of Community Based Care for Orphans and Vulnerable Children.

The team had an understanding of the work of the various stakeholders in the reintegration of the children. The team also had the opportunity to visit the institution that previously housed the over 150 children and to talk to the proprietress. In the following weeks, the team will be visiting each of these children with their families to interact with them and assess their lives back in society. Watch this space for more updates...