After World Cup What Is There for Ghana?

I got this very poignant comment on my last post from fellow blogger AntiRhythm:

And that, Kajsa, is all there really is about it. The only prize in participation is not to win. When the best in the world turned up, Africa was there. And for a long time, we competed well. We were in the final 8. We were 1 kick from the final 4. Being number 1 in the football world would have had only limited (emotional) benefits. Now, let us compete favourably with the rest of the world in:

Ending poverty;
Growing our economies;
Deepening democratic values;
Restructuring education to ensure real social development;
Fighting health scourges, especially Malaria, HIV/AIDS and TB;
Eradicating neo-geopolitics (ethnocentricism)
Harnessing the powers Information Technology to accelerate development, etc.

I could not have said it better myself. All in all, there is a lot to do also after the World Cup in South Africa is over.

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Minor Field Study (MFS) in Ghana

Yesterday, I met up with two students coming to do their minor field study (MFS)  in Ghana.

MFS  is almost an institution in Swedish academic circles. Since 1968, MFS is a stipend financed from Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), administered by the International Programme Office for Education and Training (in Swedish: Internationalla Programkontoret) in collaboration with higher educational institutions in Sweden. The goal with the program is to expose young university students to life in developing countries and give them an experience of doing research there. The student has to propose a research plan and spend at least 8 weeks in the chosen field destination. The stipend covers travel expenses and a little more. Over the years more than 10 000 students have gone through the program. Recent theses coming out of the program since can be found in this MFS Thesis Database. Usually, the program is very popular and highly competitive.

Back to yesterday afternoon. I first took Emma and Ebba to eat some fufu and drink some bissap at Buka. We talked about everything from clinics to corruption, from surveys to soup, from PhD to perfect beaches. After washing our hands, we went around to do some errands, see some Ghanaian art and crafts and finished the day with a drink by the beach. I could see myself  in them – the personal involvement in student activities, the interest in the foreign and exotic, the wonderful curiosity. I was impressed with their confidence and their future goals.

Emma and Ebba are not the first MFS students I take around Accra.  They follow Emilie, Asa, Jessica and Ulrik  – all MFS students who I have met in Ghana. To some I have been a contact person, an address to put on the VISA application, to others “Field Supervisor” and a discussion partner.  I must say I enjoy spending time with them and gladly share what ever small knowledge on research I possess as well as my own experiences in this green country.

Ironically, my own MFS application was not approved when I was studying for my Bachelor’s Degree. But that is another story.

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World Water Day in Ghana

This post is part of an GhanaBlogging event for World Water Day.

Drip, drip, drip.

Water in Ghana. There is so much to say. About the abundance of water that makes this country so green, the lack of potable water which makes Ghana’s roads fill up with slow water tankers and trucks carrying “water sachets” – plasticbags with purified(?) water for drinking. There are waterfalls and beaches, pools and bucket showers. There is water in Ghana! But all of this you know already.

So let me briefly touch upon a water related issue that not everybody knows of: sea erosion.

As a possible effect of climate change, water is every day, month and year taking a piece of Ghanaian land. I saw it first with my own eyes last year. It was weekend, and I felt like swimming in the salty sea. Together with my husband, I went to  Anomabo Beach Resort,  a favorite beach close to Cape Coast. This beach with its long stretch of sandy beach had in the past been a good place to swim.

Now, half of the beach was gone. The heavy logs that had been dug deep into the sand to guard the restaurant building from erosion and provide  a shady place to rest a meter or two above sea level were floating around, like matches in the zink!

I was shocked.

Since then, I have heard so many other stories of erosion. Plots and vacation homes disappearing to the sea at Prampram, the city of Keta slowly disappearing  and economic development being hindered in Ada.

Stories, but no information. Dramatic changes, but no reaction.

Even with the news of the seat of government – the Osu castle being at risk to sea erosion, Ghana is strangely quiet.

That is of course except for the waves coming in…

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