Just a couple days after arriving in Ghana, our team of 12 (8 Berkeley + 4 Ghana Institute of Mgmt & Public Admin) were split into 4 groups to cover 8 regions over a week. Satoru and I along with our GIMPA student Beattie traveled to the nearby Central and Western regions. During our time there we visited 4 districts, 4 farms, and 8 schools, speaking with District Assemblies, School Committees, students, farmers, market women, cooks, and caterers. Our goal: collect cost data and figure out how to directly connect the local small farmers to the caterers who are contracted to buy and cook the food for the Ghana School Feeding Program (GSFP).
Satoru interviewing a caterer at the school
The GSFP faces many challenges in becoming a sustainable, solely Ghanian-funded program. It’s well-loved by the general population, but its expansion is limited by the lack of funds that also limit effective monitoring and evaluation of the program. Communication to the beneficiary communities needs to be improved as some are unaware of the parallel objective to boost local agricultural production in addition to feeding children to improve their nutrition and school attendance. Hopefully, our work in the field will help inform the GSFP of actual feeding costs and ways to effectively link the local farmers to the caterers.
A cassava farmer
Of course, no trip to the Central/Western regions is complete without some beach time.