I would like to formally welcome you to what I call My Development Diary. At this blog I will be posting my thoughts, opinions and insights into my everyday life as a development worker. Although I sometimes cringe at the thought of being called a ‘development worker’, as there are both positive and negative connotations that come with the label, I am not sure what else you could call it. Adventure seeker, helper, traveller, diplomat, humanitarian do not seem to fit the context in which I will be working. Perhaps the best way to explain it is that for the next 13 months I will be working as an African Programs Staff for Engineers Without Borders Canada. I will be working and living predominately in northern Ghana, in the public sector to develop a strategy for agriculture development.
Please visit the pages above for more information about me, my work and the organization I have chosen to work for. Also, please subscribe to the blog so you can receive the posts via email for easy reading.
Who: me as an African Programs Staff with Engineers Without Borders Canada, normally referred to as EWB
What: working to develop Ghana’s public agriculture policy & practice, specifically in the northern region under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture
Where: Ghana – located in the western part of the continent of Africa. I will be living in the northern parts of the country
When: July 2011 – August 2012 with possibility of extension
Why: I am interested in learning about what poverty actually is, how it is manifested / reinforced and why the international development community has failed to reduce poverty rates over the past 50 years (or so) in sub-Sahara Africa. Generally, I am passionate about poverty reduction and am appalled by the rate of inequality that plagues our world.
Beginning in less than a week and for the first month of my contract I will be moving to downtown Toronto for my pre-departure training. The training offered was a determining factor in my decision to begin my work overseas with EWB. It includes 200 hours of in class intensive training + field trips where I will be taught about what EWB does from those working in the field. I will also have medical and other professional consultants available to answer important questions about living in sub-Sahara Africa. I will be training with a team of several other volunteers who are just like me! A few of us will be headed to Ghana and others will be going to the other countries EWB works in: Burkina Faso, Malawi and Zambia.
Currently, I am in contact with my team lead in Ghana where she is working hard to determine specifically what I will be working on so I can hit the ground running when I get there – sort of speak. We are in communication so she can match what my interests and passions are with current projects and leads. I have also packed the majority of my things in a stereotypical back packers 60L back pack and fully intend to fit everything I need for a year in there (wish me luck). I have completed 6 medical appointments, received 4 vaccinations and have a bag full of the necessary medications. Did I mention that I donated 10 inches of my hair?
Again, I hope you enjoy the blog and will continue reading. As I post more information you should be better able to understand what it is I am doing and why I am doing it. This is all a learning process so I am hoping through this blog you can learn with me. Feel free to contact me with questions, concerns or comments. Also, please comment on the posts and tell me what you are interested in reading so I can better cater to my audience.