New Life Orphanage Needs Assessment and Building Project Nungua, Ghana

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New Life Orphanage Needs Assessment and Building Project Nungua, Ghana
Quashigah, Angela
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, FL
University of Florida
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Project in lieu of thesis


Subjects / Keywords:
Child psychology ( jstor )
Classrooms ( jstor )
Communities ( jstor )
Community associations ( jstor )
Educational research ( jstor )
Funding ( jstor )
Needs assessment ( jstor )
Orphanages ( jstor )
Orphans ( jstor )
Schools ( jstor )
City of Jasper ( local )


This paper is a detailed report on a two-part project meeting part of the requirements for a Master of Sustainable Development Practice degree from the University of Florida. The project is a needs assessment for New Life Orphanage in Nungua, Ghana along with a building project which addresses several of the needs identified in the assessment. Background research was conducted on orphans in Ghana, education in Ghana, and the needs assessment process. The needs assessment and building project was conducted in a participatory fashion with the orphanage staff and several members of the local community. The orphanage had many needs, but through the assessment, the team was also able to identify many existing resources. The team used the needs assessment process to determine how these existing resources could be put to better use in meeting the needs of the orphanage with the assistance of the building project inputs. The main input called for by the needs assessment was a simple piece of infrastructure to be used for a variety of purposes, with the main purpose being a preschool classroom for the Jasper School. The Jasper School program is designed to then feed back into the orphanage as a major self-sustained funding source. The project described in this report contributed to the community not only by initiating a sustainable participatory process, but also by leaving behind a tangible piece of infrastructure which benefits the orphanage and provides for the expansion of the Jasper School program to sustain the organization into the future.
General Note:
Sustainable Development Practice (MDP) Program final field practicum report
General Note:
The MDP Program is administered jointly by the Center for Latin American Studies and the Center for African Studies.

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New Life Orphanage Needs Assessment and Building Project Nungua, Ghana ( New Life Orphanage, July 2011 ) Angela Quashigah A Field Practicum Report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requi rements for a Master of Sustainable Development Practice degree at the University of Florida, in Gainesville, FL USA May 2013 Supervisory Committee: Renata Serra, Chair Sharon Abramowitz Member


Dedication/Acknowledgements: This report is dedicated to Renata Serra and Sharon Abramowitz for their undying patience, encouragement, and teaching both ins ide and outside of the classroom. I would also like to acknowledge the ir dedication and suppor t for this project in particular especially with regards to their willingness to work through a challenge Thank you!!!


Table of Contents: Abstract ... 1 Introduction ... 2 Background Information .. 4 Methodology ... ...8 Results ... 10 Discussion .................................................................................................. .............. ................ 16 Re flection .. 1 7 Budget ... 20 Bibliography 21


1 Abstract This paper is a detailed report on a two part project meeting part of the requirements for a Master of Sustainable Development Practice degree from the University of Florida. The project is a needs assessment for New Life Orphanage in Nungua, Ghana along with a building pro ject which addresses several of the needs identified in the assessment Background research was conducted on orphans in Ghana, education in Ghana, and the needs assessment process. The needs assessment and building project was conducted in a participa tory fashion with the orphanage staff and several members of the local community. The orphanage had many needs, but through the assessment, the team was also able to identify many existing r esources The team used the needs assessment process to determine how these existing resources could be put to better use in meeting the needs of the orphanage with the assistance of the building project inputs. T he main input called for by the needs assessment was a simple piece of infrastructure to be used for a variety of purposes, with the main purpose being a preschool classroom for the Jasper School. T he Jasper School program is designed to then feed back into the orphanage as a major self susta ined funding source. The project described in this report contributed to the community not only by initiating a sustainable participatory process, but also by leaving behind a tangibl e pie ce of infrastructure w hich benefits the orphanage and p rovides for the expansion of the Jasper School program to sustain the organization into the future


2 Introduction I chose to work with New Life Orphanage in Nungua, Ghana for my MDP (Master of Sustainable Development Practice) field practicum in June 2011. I chose New Life Orphanage because the organization had great potential for development and the director had visionary ideas for improving the orphanage and contributing to the community. The director already had several projects underway and I envisioned how my project would fit in with the larger picture, supporting and contributing to the development process of the organization which was already in progress. When I met the director, Cephas Mensah Afotey, I learned that he was extremely hard working and com mitted tocreating a better future for the kids at the orphanage and for the community as a whole He was a natural leader in the community and interested in development, so I knew that even after I le ave the ar ea, the larger development process there would continue. I began this project with a needs assessment to identify the greatest strengths and most important needs of the orphanage My goal was to determine how my project could contribute to the orphanage and the local community while leaving an impact that would lead to self sustainability of the orphanage in the future. Cephas was already an established leader within the community and had several ideas for incorporating community development strategies with orphanage improvements to enhance the lives of orphans, non orphaned children, and residents of the local community. One of these ideas was a new school called the Jasper School whi ch h e had begun building across the street from the orphanage He wanted to establish a program which would incorporate both orphans and non orphaned students, provide an opportunity for learning vocational studies/job skills, and provide a funding source to support the orphanage into th e future. We determined that the future needs of the orphanage could be met locally if the organization had its own sustainable source of funding which would come from the new school program. Non orphaned students would be charged school fees which would provide a self sustained funding source for the school and orphanage, and orphaned students would be able to attend free of charge T he most immediate needs of the orphanage and new school program could be met through the co nstruction of a small multipurpose structure within the orphanage walls which would serve as a preschoo l classroom for the new school among other


3 uses Through the needs assessment, we were able to engag e in a participatory process to identify this partic ular building project and the organizational changes that would accompany it as an important way in which my project could contribute to the development of this organization and community. I chose to carry out this particular project for my field practicum because the nature of this project and the way it fits in with the larger developments already going on at the orphanage allowed me to leave the biggest impact within the relatively short time constraints o f the summer field practicum and limited resources available. I visited other orphanages in the surrounding areas to get ideas for how they operated. SOS is a large, international organization with orphanages located in over 300 countries around the world. They have several orphanages in Ghana alone, and I visited one in the Tema area. They have successfully employed a strategy for self which require school fees, and this income is used to support the orphanage. It is a bit areas. However, the orphans at New Life are already an integral part of the Nungua community and interact often with their non orphan peers. They have non orphan fr iends who come to play at the orphanage and attend programs there. In the Nungua community, an integrated schooling system including both orphans and non orphans is showing much promise.


4 Comparison/Contrast with other orphanages in the area: Background Information Country Context: Education Ghana is consider ed a lower middle income country at the time of the write up of this field practicum (2012) About 39% of the population is under the age of 15, and 16% of primary school age children are not in school (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2011). Two of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are related to education: MDG 2 aims to ac hieve universal primary education, while MDG 3, the goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women, involves ensuring gender parity particularly at the primary and junior high school levels. With a net primary enrolment ratio (NER) of 83.7%, gross enrolment ratio (GER) of 95.2%, and 96%/92% female male ratio in primary and junior secondary schools respectively, Ghana is on track for achieving both education related MDGs by the target year of 2015 (Government of Ghana, 2010).


5 e progress on the global educational goals, however, the country is facing its own specific set of obstacles and challenges to improving the educational system. The MDG goals focus more on quantity, such as enrolment numbers and universal access, but educa tion in Ghana is suffering from a lack of quality within the educational system. The hasty approach to increasing pupil enrolment is a contributing factor to the decline in quality of education. The supply of educational resources simply cannot keep up wit h ever expanding student numbers. In addition, pupil retention rates decrease continuously with progressive levels of schooling (Shabani, 2008) While increasing enrolment is a first step in educating retention and completion rates, as well as quality, to really make a positive difference in the educational opportunity for the population. One major reason cited for children not attending school is the lack of relevance of schooling to future work oppo rtunities and the economic realities faced by developing countries like Ghana. The introduction of vocational, technical, and entrepreneurship studies in senior secondary schools in Ghana is an effort at addressing this matter. Vocationalisation of the sec ondary school curriculum has received support from organizations like UNESCO and other African governments (Akyeampong, 2005) They indicate that it will increase the relevance of further education, encourag ing positive changes in attitude It is also desig ned to increase motivation and relevant skills for self employment and further the capabilities for innovation A focus on vocational studies in the school curriculum will help facilitate the transition from schooling to meaningful and productive work ende avors A comprehensive plan for including vocational subjects in the secondary school reconstruction after the crisis of the late 1970s and 80s emphasized private sector development a nd embraced the idea that targeting the youth would create positive and lasting change for the future of the nation. Youth unemployment is a common crisis across the African continent as well as in many other parts of the world The formal sector is unabl e to absorb the sheer numbers of the unemployed population, even for those who meet minimal educational requirements (Fredua Kwarteng, 2005). For this reason, it is important that the education of youth include a fostering of entrepreneurial attitudes, ide as, and skills so that they are better equipped to create their own jobs and


6 contribute to the capacity for innovative problem solving and creative de velopment of their societies. With training in entrepreneurship and vocational studies, a greater proporti on of young people should be able to develop their own small businesses and find other employment opportunities beyond the formal sector, equipping them for jobs that would otherwise be unavailable. Development programs that focus on improving education sh improve its own schools. Development organizations could help local schools establish programs that meet these goals by helping meet the need for physic al, technical, and financial r esources to get programs started and plan how they will continue. Microloans could be offered in conjunction with educational programs in order to provide the infusion of capital necessary for promising young adult students to start their own businesses. Policy is in place for including vocational, technical, and entrepreneurship studies in Ghanaian schools. However, these efforts have not yet resulted in real relevance at the secondary school level for the youth of the country. There are several challenge s presented by these subjects in particular for meaningful inclusion at the secondary school level. Vocational, technical, and entrepreneurship studies are applied disciplines which cannot be successfully mastered using the rote classroom learning methods which have comprised the bulk of teaching methods in African schools for decades (Fredua Kwarteng, 2005). The introduction of these subjects requires a major shift in attitudes from traditional ways of educating children to educational techniques that are more conducive to learning, such as hands on and participatory methods. New teaching/learning techniques must be accepted by teachers, administrators, students, parents, and communities before students can successfully learn in these new ways, and this pos es a cultural challenge Another obstacle is the materials and facilities required for teaching hands on subjects. These subjects not only require their own specific textbooks, but also necessitate specialized equipment and facilities which introduce cos ts beyond those required by primarily book based curricula. Assessment of student learning must be conducted not only by written examination, but also through practical evaluation of hands on work so this poses another difficulty and further expenses involv ed in teaching these subjects The most major challenge for vocational studies is the need for a cadre of competent personnel to teac h and administer these subjects T hese teachers must not only know their specialty field well but also have knowledge of e ducation and teaching methods. This challenge in particular reflects the biggest


7 challenge in general faced by the educational system in Ghana, which is a lack of enough qualified teachers and staff to cater to the sheer numbers of students who are or shou ld be enrolled in school (Hardman 2012 ) Vocational/technical/entrepreneurship studies represent more than just a subject which has been neglected in secondary school or a missed opportunity for students inclined to pursue those paths. They may be the ke y to increasing the overall relevance or perceived relevance of education in Ghana which has been the major roadblock in Ghana as the country strives to develop. Whil e providing the opportunity for these subjects in school requires a greater investment in resources, it is also more likely to produce a greater return on investment for the economy and the country as a whole into the future. My background research on voca tional curricula in Ghana supports and development in the country. Country Context: Orphans as identified in participatory poverty assessments (Masset& White, 2004). D ouble orphans are more likely to be below appropriate grade level for their age .While orphans are progressing faster than non orphans on MDG indicators for education and nutriti on, they still remain more deprived overa ll (Bicego, Rutstein, & Johnson, 2003) In Ghana, institutional care for urban children began in the 1940s when the Ghana Hostels Association was established with the intent to find foster parents for children ( Akpalu, 2007). In 1962 the National Trust Fund built the first orphanage It was originally desi gned to be a temporary home for children while they waited to be placed in foster homes. The government of Ghana was fully responsible for the facility (and lat er additional facilities) through the Department of Social Welfare. Increased numbers of orphans and lack of foster homes or flaws in the system for placing children resulted in the orphanages becoming overcrowded with children residing there for extended periods of time. The government was officially responsible for the orphaned children, but it did not provide adequate resources f o r the facilities to ensure the being. Unfortunately, the institutional structure remains this way today. Many children live out their entire childhoods in overcrowded orphanages. While the


8 government develops policies regarding orphan care, it does not provide resources to support the implementation of appropriate care policies. Physical, mental, and social factors all contribute to the development of a child. For the orphans residing at New Life Orphanage, the orphanage building, the orga nization, and its programs make up the developmental e nvironment of the children. My project contributes to building impro vements at the orphanage, financial sustainability of the organization, and program ming for the school. Through its contributions to the orphanage and organization, this project will impact the immediate developmental environment of the children at the orp development through the school Methodo logy Needs Assessment A needs assessment should be conducted upon entering a community before beginning a develo pment project or intervention. It should be done as a preliminary step to any project/program because it provides a basis for making decisions about development (McKillip 1987). A needs assessment identifies the gaps between the current and desirable state of an organization or community (Royse et al 2009). It can also help identify the relationships among factors affecting the current or potential future state. must be add ressed in different ways. To determine how to conduct the needs assessment, one must first consider motivation, the time and resources available, scale, level of complexity, potential impact, who is going to use the needs assessment and for what purpose. D ifferent methods can be used in the needs assessment design for gathering, analyzing, and presenting data. One may use focus group discussions, questionnaire surveys, interviews, and observations to get qualitative information (Sofaer, 2002) During analys is, patterns and themes can be identified. Since there are usually many needs, especially in a developing country context, they must be prioritized during the analysis process so that choices can be made among them


9 (McKillip 1987). C harts, tables, and grap hs help visualiz e and present this inform ation. Potential paths between the current situation and desired future state should be highlighted and intermediate steps identified. o wn biases, so ideally, needs assessment should be conducted by a team made up of reviewers with varying backgrounds, including members of the local community. For example, a World Vision team conducted a needs assessment of livelihoods in northern Ethiopia to develop a risk management strategy for livelihood change. Their team was comprised of two US based academics, two Ethiopian academics, one local office staff member, four program staff members, and two government employees based in the local area. Proj ect review documents highlight the importance of the Ethiopian team depth knowledge of the local context (Coates et al 2010). I developed the needs assessment for my project with reference to a model for a project conducted at an orphanage in Bolivia. They called their needs assessment an determine how their building project would meet the needs of the orpha ns (Chatterley et al 2007). They identified problems (effects and causes), solutions (objectives), and potential actions (outputs). (See chart below for model). The needs assessment for my project (see results section) is based on this model because it add resses similar problems (the many issues facing orphans living at an orphanage in a developing country) with a similar intervention (building project at the orphanage in a developing country context of limited resources), while integrating sustainability c onsiderations throughout the process. Action Identification Matrix Problems (Effects and causes to tackle) Solutions (objectives) Potential actions (outputs) Lack of family stability Provide healthy family environment for orphans Provide education for parents on proper care Introduce orphanage with focus on family stability Build facility to hold educational programs


10 for children Malnutrition Provide nutritional education Provide stable environment with sufficient source of nutrition Introduce orphanag e with focus on family stability Provide enough resource for food Lack of Education Provide tutoring Research alternative education programs Create a home environment that will allow children to enroll in school Introduce orphanage with focus on family stability Provide enough resource for the child to get an education Build facility to hold tutoring sessions High cost to provide care for children Provide a cheaper energy source Minimize energy use Improve income Education to improve individual income i n the future Briquettes made from biomass waste Biogas Solar cookers Solar panels Passive solar Family planning Education/job training ( modified from Chatterley et al 2007) Results The needs ass essment team consisted of me Cephas (the orphanage director), several older children, and several community members. Teachers at the Jasper School gave input through focus group discussions. During the needs assessment portion of the project, the team identified several major immediate and longer term issues concerning the orphanage. Since the orphanage conducts its own fundraising activities outdoors on the property (dances and shows put on by the children and church activities) and it is located so close to the coast, many times the threat of inclement weather has caused the act ivities to be canceled. There was ample open space within the orphanage walls for these activities, but overhead shelter was needed. Another concern with the opening of the new Jasper School was the fact that it is a cross the street from the orphanage, not walled in, and very close to traffic (see map below) This is ok ay for


11 older children but not safe for younger ones. There is enough space inside the orphanage walls to conduct preschool activities for the younger c hildren, but there was a need for shelter and classroom space to allow this. Severe weather had caused damage concern for a parking structure to protect this vehicle. The vehicle is very important to the orphanage because it provides transportation for children to the hospital, which is a government requirement of all orphanages. It is also used to pick up needed supplies for the orphanage. (Map of New Life Orphanage and Jasper School)


12 We considered building an attachment to the new Jasper School to provide space for these considerations but there was some conflict over the potential building site (shown in green on the above diagram) because it is technically owned by the orphanage and should not have a roa d running through it, but people had been using it as a right of way for so long that they refused to acknowledge any private rights to that piece of land. The location across the street from the orphanage also posed safety and security issues for younger children so we decided to focus our efforts on improving the space within the orphanage courtyard walls (see diagram labeled above) This area is protected by cement block walls, secured with a solid locking metal gate, and made safer by the constant pres ence of adults and older children in the immediate vicinity because office work and household duties take place nearby. This secure but unused space was an important existing resource which we identified. With several improvements, we could make better use of that safe space within the orphanage courtyard walls. We decided to build a multipurpose structure which could serve as a (see yellow box in above diagram) One section was to be designed specifically to be used as a preschool classroom, and another area for a computer lab. The orphanage had received computers as a donation in the past, but they were not set up previously due to lack of space. The structure was designed with lar ge, moveable side panels which could be opened on nice days for fresh air and closed during inclement weather. The mobility of the side panels also allows the car to be parked inside for protection during inclement weather. The decisions for this project were made with input from all the partners but under the final direction of Cephas because he is the most knowledgeable about the community. The main reason for choosing th is particular project was an attempt to address multiple needs simultaneously with limited resources. It was vital to identify existing resources which were not being utilized to their fullest potential, such as the open space within the orphanage walls, t he donated computers, and the time and purposes. Volunteers wanted to have more activities at the orphanage for the children and the community, but they needed a safe and w eather protected space to do it.


13 The following needs assessment (see below) was developed through interviews with Cephas, focus group discussions with the teachers of the Jasper School, participant observation and contribution of ideas from the older children who are responsible for many of the daily tasks at New Life Orphanage. The first column identifies the most important needs of the orphanage. The second column lists ways of solving those problems and existing resources that could be utilized in t he development of those solutions. The third column states how this project will specifically address those issues through i ts own outputs as well as inputs that allow for better utilization of existing resources. The needs are prioritized and listed in pr iority order, while solutions overlap. The project was designed to address multiple needs simultaneously The needs are categorized according to the following scheme: financing and space for funding related activities is shown in green, needs related to ch orphanage are in yellow, and safety concerns are in pink. Need #7 is depicted in green and pink stripes because it involves both financing ( a major purpose of the Jasper School for the orphanage) and safety (t he location of the classroom itself). Funding and enabling future self financing of the orphanage was the main concern because having its own funding source would allow the organization to then meet many of its own needs without relying on outside help. Ch priority, followed by safety and sustainability. There have been some past projects in this community which were unsustainable because they were focused on short term aid during a water shortage but did not cons ider long term development concerns. While all the needs are important and the project addresses each of them, the main priority was the construction of the preschool to enable timely opening of the Jasper School which will in turn support the orphanage fi nancially as well as provide an opportunity for education New Life Orphanage/Jasper School Needs Assessment: Problems: Potential Solutions: (overall objectives) How p roject will address these: (project outputs) 1. Lack of regular funding source school open to public who pays school fees to fund orphanage Construct classroom area for pre school section 2. Lack of space for local fundraising activities Utilize space outside of orphanage house within courtyard walls Weather proof roof to cover large multi purpose area; refurbish outdoor tables and


14 protect equipment from weathering 3. Lack of space for extracurricular activities Make use of donated computers and other material s for extracurricular learning and provide space for volunteers who want to do extracurricular activities weather proof structure in which to set up donated computers and extracurricular materials; working space in secure location which can be utilized dur ing evening hours 4. Dark and cramped conditions in the evening when kids must be indoors prevents successful homework completion Do homework outdoors Create safe space for homework and tutoring with access to light and electricity 5. Cancellation of church services due to inclement weather (compromising an existing venue for raising local funds and awareness) Replace tent used to protect from weather during services Replace tent with permanent shelter 6. Lack of sheltered cooking space during inclement weather New cooking facility Incorporate space for cooking in building design 7. Lack of safe spaces and learning environment for pre school children Move preschool classes to safer location Construct pre school and across street from main school (within safety of walled orphanage compound) 8. Damage to moveable property during inclement weather Storage unit for items such as tools, outdoor furniture, cooking supplies, sports equipment Incorporate storage space into building design 9. Lack of protection of orphanage owned transportation vehicle requirement for Weather proof garage Moveable walls so vehicle can be secured inside


15 transportation in the event of emergency) 10. Unsustainability of past projects Sustain able methods and materials local materials suitable for coastal weather, local carpenter for structure design; involve older children and director in planning and building to increase knowledge of project development and building design Building Process The first steps of the building project were to design the structure and gather the materials. The structure was designed to be architecturally sound with the help of a connec tions in the local Nungua marketplace, and a connection in Accra for bulk wood. Some materials were scraps from other construction projects in the area, so these were given as donations or for a reduced price. These had to be modified slightly to fit our n nnections saved a great deal of money for the project. Next we dug the foundation.Recycled thick metal poles had to be straightened and cut to form the base of the structure. These poles were then cemented into holes constructed out of wood. Everything was done by hand. We did not have scaffolding so we stacked four picnic tables on top of each other to construct the roof (see flowchart below) Once a few boards were up, we could get around the rooftop on the boards as we nailed them down. Two of the walls were already in place, as we constructed the shelter in a corner of the courtyard where we could make use of t he outer cement walls already in existence. For the remaining two sides, large wooden panels were made which could be put up and secured for safety and shelter or removed for fresh air or to allow the car to park inside. For the roof, we chose a synthetic material which was stronger than the other alternative s but still available locally in case of need of repairs. This material had been used on some other buildings in the area previously, and it was


16 known to outlast the alternative s as well. The synthetic mater ial was more expensive, but upon calculating rate of repair/replacement in comparison with the other material s available we determined that the synthetic material would be more efficient in the long run. Lastly, we ran electricity out to the new stru cture for access to computers and (see below) Discussion The structure built through this project will be utilized extensively by the orphans who currently reside there, but the great est contribution is to the future sustainability of the orphanage, the school, and the operation of its programs for the community. Cephas, the orphanage director, is also a leader in the community and is working on several development issues through his e fforts. Beyond providing a safe haven for children, the orphanage serves as a gathering place for community events. Cephas leads church services on the property, hosts community meetings, and conducts adult educational activities such as HIV/AIDS awareness and education on other health issues like water/sanitation. While the orphanage currently still serves as a home for the needy children of the community, Cephas is gearing his resources and future plans towards education. His plans for expansion include t he establishment of a


17 vocational/technical institute at the school and job placement/apprenticeship programs and activities. These will help address some of the bigger problems in the community, among the most outstanding of which is youth and young adult unemployment. The Jasper School at New Life Orphanage in Nungua, Ghana, is an effort at meeting the demand for quality education in the community while providing education for the orphans and a self sustained funding source for the orphanage. The vocationa l component is a major focus of the Jasper School. Plans include having a student run vocational market where students learn through hands on services provided to the community such as auto mechanic, hair braiding, dress making, etc. This will provide redu ced cost services to the community, additional funding for the orphanage, and entrepreneurial experience for students. For my project I conducted a participatory needs assessment to identify the greatest contribution needed that would further the vision of the organization within the proposed timeframe utilizing the resources available. I then worked with the leading stakeholders to complete the implementation of the project we identified. We began and completed the building of a preschool for the Jasper Sc development for the immediate and longer term future. The stakeholders were involved in a partici patory planning and building process, which they indicated would work well for future projects. The preschool for the Jasper School increases the capacity of that source of income for meeting the financial sustainability goals of the organization. Reflecti on If I could do my project again, I would do more prior planning and research before entering the community, while leaving space in my project plans for input from local leadership and community stakeholders. The biggest challenge I had with this project was meeting both MDP summer practicum requirements and the needs of the local community at the same time considering the limited amount of time and resources available, along with the academic requirements for my degree This was a good challenge relevant to learning about future development work, however, because it represents the common scenario of m eeting funding requirements, timeframes and while considering local needs and culture. Funding requirements and timeframes are usually more r ushed than is common practice in the local culture for this


18 type of work. Major change in society naturally happens slowly and over time, but development project schedules do not always allow for this. Communities can also become research fatigued when rep eated short term projects enter the community to to the local people involved. I tried to ameliorate these tendencies by having a two part component to my project, in which I not only collected data to meet the academic requirements of my project, but also left an impact in the form of both organizational improvements as well as a tangible piece of infrastructure. If I had another opportunity for a similar project with additional time and resources, I might decide to incorporate a gender component. Upon reflection I realized that most of the people I worked with were men, and most of the children involved in helping with the construction of the project were older boys. This is a biased sample of the group at the orphanage because there were about equal numbers of older girl and boy residents. There were also several community women interested in the project, but none of them became involved in the actual construction par t of the project. I had an incident the first day upon hiring the carpenter in which he refused to work with me because I was a woman. He demanded extra money so that he could bring some more men to work with him because he thought I would be unable to cli mb up on the roof. He proceeded to explain to me that we had to do everything by hand, which meant climbing and hauling things up onto the roof without machinery. I indicated to him that I was aware of this, I had prior experience building things on height s, and I was willing to do whatever was necessary to get the job done. We were able to work out a deal in which he would let me work with him the first day, and depending upon my performance, I would let him bring more men if necessary. I passed the test, and we later became friends. His mindset was changed by this experience; however, I am not sure if he still fully understands the capabilities of women in general or if he attributed this instance to my being a white woman I n this area, anything western seems to be revered above its local equivalent even when quality differences may actually be the other way around (personal experience) This could be because of novelty or an influence from past colonial times Nungua is situated on the outskirts of the Greater Accra area, so it has some access to western things but supply is limited. Its coastal location also invited heavy influences during colonial times. A combination of limited supply and preconceived notions could serve as contribut ing factors to wards this general attitude With regards to gender perceptions, I may have been able to shift some


19 mindsets through my own presence and work in the area, but this may have also exacerbated the racial preconceptions. I could have potentially addressed both thro ugh the inclusion of a well thought out gender component to my project. This would have possibly helped discount being what allowed me to do so as a female and instead made a more lasting impact on gender perceptions in the community. However, this was not a gendered project from the the priorities of self financing and infrastructure of the orphanage as identified in the needs assessment While a gender component m ay have delivered additional benefits to this community, time and resource constraints did not provide for additional project components beyond the focus on orphanage self financing and infrastructure. One thing that surprised me about the area in which I worked is the language factor. In my project alone, which is located in the small town of Nungua coast, I conversed with people whose primary languages were as follows: Akan (Twi), English, Ewe, French, Ga, and Yoruba. These different language speakers all lived in the same community so it could be an effort at times to find a common language. For me this highlighted a larger issue for Africa in general in terms of unity. With so many different languages commonly used in close proximity to eac h other, it can be a challenge to find unity while retain ing individual cultures in the development process. Among all of the orphanage facilities that I visited, New Life Orphanage is the most progressive in terms of envisioning and working towards a bett er future for the children and community. Some orphanages focus only on food and shelter, and then the children have nowhere to go and no employable skills upon leaving the orphanage. Older children may even keep their age secret in order to stay at the or phanage due to lack of opportunities elsewhere (personal experience) Other orphanages are part of large international organizations with many more resources at their disposal, but they are dependent on outside funding and direction for their programs (SOS Villages) I feel that my project resources were used most efficiently in contributing to New Life Orphanage because this organization has been making outstanding progress with limited resources thus far since its fairly recent founding in the year 2000 It is a community based organization which functions mostly on local resources. My project involved a minor influx of outside resources designated for a set project for a limited er accumulation of


20 locally based resources into the future by enabling the establishment of a self sustained funding source New Life is under the direction of quality local leadership with visionary ideas and improvement plans now in progress so it should continue to make a posit ive impact on the community above and beyond the daily care of the orphaned children who now reside there. BUDGET ESTIMATED GHANA LIVING EXPENSES FUNDED BY MDP GRANT : Weekly: Housing = 50 GHS = 35 USD Food = 50 GHS = 35 USD Transport = 100 GHS = 70 USD Personal items = 50 GHS = 35 USD Internet/Printing/ Academic materials = 20 GHS = 14 USD Phone credits = 10 GHS = 7 USD Misc. = 5 GHS = 3 .50 USD TOTAL WEEKLY EXPENSES = 285 GHS = 2 00 USD TOTAL LIVING EXPENSES OVER TWO MONTHS = 2 280 GHS = 1596 USD WOOD PURCHASED FOR BUILDING PROJECT = 570 GHS = 399 USD ADDITIONAL ROOFING MATERIALS FOR COMPLETION OF BUILDING PROJECT (SELF FUNDRAISED) = 2857 GHS = 2000 USD


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