A Project Stuck in Neutral

During an eventful Friday, I went to the field to visit a GEM (Ghana Environmental Management) Project, or GEMP. This followed the Environmental Management subcommittee meeting the night before, where nearly all the government departments were present (Agric, Education, Health, NADMO, Fire Service, Environmental Health, and a man from the NGO PAPADEV).

The project concerns a nursery with various tree saplings that are to be grown inMankuma, and then sold to five pilot communities, creating revenue for one town and food production for the others. Thanks to the donors, these saplings will be subsidized. So, on the economic side, rather than the usual 2 cedi that might be paid by the community, it will be 1 or 1.5 cedi. The other rationale for this project is to encourage reforestation, as cutting down trees for charcoal is a major issue in several districts. The meeting saw an odd point, where they talked about taxing the illegal practise. Seems like some twisted logic.

Unfortunately, this proposed plan hasn’t happened yet. The meeting saw a lot of back and forth, but the main result is that meeting attendants would break up into groups and go to the different communities to get people on board.

Some of the trees have been planted, but due to quarrelling between the two men in charge of running the program, who are from different villages that make up Mankuma (found on either side of the main road), work has been put on hold. After visiting the site, which has plenty of brush lying around (a potential fire problem) and some trees planting within 3 or 4 feet of each other, we went into town to visit the two traditional authorities. It was the DPO, a chief from Bole area (Saala Wura), a representative from the Fire Service, and myself who went to the respective chief compounds to explain our concerns.

Turns out that the two men went for training in Tamale, but now aren’t talking to each other. Thus, the standstill. Thanks to some discussions with the 2 chiefs and their declarations that things will get done, the two men are suppose to get back to work and clean the site. The reason for this ultimatum to get things done by Monday, was that the donors – CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) and EPA – were going to visit on the following Wednesday. They had plenty more saplings to donate, but need to see something optimistic before continuing with the project. It was very odd for me to see the DPO specifically introduce me as a Canadian in relation to the fact that it was a Canadian donor’s project. As if, I had any influence in the decision making.

After these meetings, we all returned back to the District Assembly and made our leave, but not before one more task. The DPO handed everyone their respective allowances for the two days: 10GHC for field visits and 15GHC sitting allowance for meetings.

I’ll need to check with DPO to see what the result from this week was. How well the site was cleaned up and if the donors will continue with the project.


Investing in Education: Textbooks

This INVESTING IN EDUCATION series of blog posts will follow a set of charitable initiatives to help rural Ghanaian children attend and excel at school, removing some of the barriers that may keep them in a cycle of poverty. I want to extent a high level of thanks to everyone who contributed funds and time to make these activities happen.

From IBIS:

“So the name of the school we will visit is Yipala Junior High School. This is the school that went from having 0% passing the BECE to being the best in the district. The BECE is the exam you have to pass in order to be accepted to Senior High School.What really amazes me about this community is the way all of the community came together to fix the problem. It is completely unheard of that parents, teachers and students collaborate into fixing the problems. The normal reaction is a mud fight where blame is shifted around. So Yipala is really a sunshine story which we will be able to use to demonstrate to other communities that change is possible. If you look at the overall numbers of Ghana and BECE only 46% passed the BECE in 2012. This means that less than half of the students are able to qualify to go to Senior High.”

Yipala is located in the Northern Region of Ghana, in Sawla-Tuna-Kalba district. It is a small village, adjacent to the main Wa road. The school includes classes from KG to Primary to Junior High. It is making remarkable advances but still has many hurdles to overcome.

On the day I accompanied IBIS — a Danish-based NGO working towards developing education — we headed to this small town for a meeting. There was headmasters, teachers, parents, community leaders. Basically, everyone you need to come together to actually improve a school.

The meeting was one of the most interactive and informative ones I’ve ever attended. All participants were allowed to speak and more importantly, encouraged to voice their opinion. The thing I was hoping to learn was what the school truly needed to improve.

The JHS, in particular, has made remarkable changes in only one year. 2011 saw zero of 28 applicants pass the BECE exam. This means that those kids will only be able to go into trade work — mechanic, tailor, shop owner — if lucky. Some may repeat JHS Form 3 in hopes of a second chance, but more likely they will never attend school again.

The following year, 2012, saw 14 or 16 students pass the BECE and be given the chance to attend Senior High School. (There is no SHS in Yipala, so they would have to journey to a larger community that has one.) This means the possibility of higher education, higher job prospects, and a higher standard of living. Although you might guess from the numbers — 28 applicants down to 16 — that the school didn’t send everyone it could, only those most likely to pass. In any case, they reached a 50% pass rate, up from absolute zero. Regardless of sending all or just a few, most schools can only reach a success rate of 30%, at most. Yipala JHS is excelling

Other topics brought up in the meeting include:

  • Literacy rate of children in Primary School (P1 to P6) is around 10%, regardless of class. Nearly all kids grow up in non-English speaking families. They are exposed to English in P1 to P3, but have there local language as the primary mode of communication. When they reach P4, English is the sole method of instruction, meaning a steep learning curve for many. Few children do the required readings at home, preferring to watch TV, meaning pressure from parents to be engaged in their children’s school work is needed.
  • Children moving to the gold mining areas of Bole district (5 hours away) during their break from school and not returning. Some go by their own choice, others are sent by parents. Girls have the worst of it, usually falling into prostitution. It was noted that the community was told that these mining town were upset with the influx of children. Not because they are worried for the children’s safety, but because they charge less for sex and therefore are hurting the business of adult prostitutes. The shock value of this revelation was not as high as one would think.
  • Use of phones in the classroom. These are taken from parents and cause major distractions in class.
  • Poorly designed Primary and JHS classroom blocks. Rather than being tall structures with open windows for easy air movement (critical during the scorching Harmattan season), they are low lying with art-deco blocks, allowing for the most minimal of air flow. The possibility of removing these blocks was brought up.
  • Money, to be awarded to teachers for their excellent performance, has not been given yet.
  • 100+ children in Kindergarden. 1 teacher. KG 1 has more than 70 children and KG 2 has more than 30 kids. Parents are dropping off kids at very early ages, treating the school like a daycare. The is no actually GES (Ghana Education Service) classroom for KG, so they are currently using an abandoned church adjacent to the other classroom blocks.

All of these issues were noted and would be reported to the local government and their DCE, the man who usually helps push community grievances forward.

After the meeting concluded, we went on a tour of the KG/church building to assess the situation.

We had concluded after 1:00 pm — the time when kids go home — so we missed the feat of trying to house all the young, energetic children into such a small space, but one’s imagination could do an adequate job. 

The first thing we encountered was an overwhelming stench of urine.

There are two openings on either side. No doors, so goats are free to enter in the night time, urinating and dedicating without restriction.

The floors are bare, only dirt. Blackboards at the front and read, both falling apart. Seats made from concrete, crumbling, used for KG 1. A few desks in the back, used for KG 2.

Some small windows allowed for a minimal level of natural light to enter. The most concerning part of this building was the structural integrity  made worse by children routinely hanging from the window shutters.

It will be a miracle if this place stays standing for long. One hates to think about that very real possibility of the walls or roof collapsing on a group of innocent, little kids. It was abandoned for a reason.

The one women tasked with controlling so many children with so few resources is truly a remarkable person. She deserves constant recognition.

Returning back to the JHS success story again. They had noted two items to better equip themselves for success.

  1. Mobile blackboards. These would allow them to take classes outdoors and in the shade during Harmattan.
  2. Textbooks. Currently they only have a small assortment of outdated textbooks. Only enough for the teachers.

We had theorized before coming to Yipala that textbooks might help them continue their level of success, as well as reward them for their hard work. There are four key subjects in JHS: Math, English, Applied Science, and Social Studies. Each class averages 24 students across Form 1 to 3. Each textbook — part of the Aki-Ola Series — covers all three forms. So the English teacher, for example, would take his set of books from one class to another. My hope is to provide enough books for every two children. This has the added benefit of children working together and possibly helping each other through any challenges.

As for the blackboards, these can built quite simply. All you need is some plywood and black paint. Use chalk to write and you’re done. IBIS also noted that there are funds available to complete such work, so I will try my best to inform them of this.

All in all, it was an informative day. If I ever come back to Ghana and the Northern Region, I hope to visit this school and some of the scholars, to see how each has grown. 

My next mission is to track down these books, purchase as many as I can, and reward the school for all its hard work. I’m sure they will be pleased to see what hard work can lead to.

Stay tuned for the result.


Short History of the Guans

From the 6th Edition of the Guan Congress

Damongo, N/R, Ghana

October 2004

The Guan speaking peoples live mostly in Ghana though there are some pockets in Togo, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire. Modern historians more or less agree that since time immemorial the Guans have been “the original inhabitants” of Ghana, because unlike the Akan who arrived from Bouna in the north-west, the Ewe from Notsie in Togo about 1720, the Ga-Adangme from certain parts in Nigeria, and the Mossi-Dagomba group of states who migrated from the north-east, the Guans, on the other hand, migrated from nowhere; thus Ghana is the ancestral homeland of the Guans.

Even the pockets of Guans in Togo (the Anyanga), those in Benin (the Gbede, Wese, Okomfo) and the Baule in Cote d’Ivoire claim migrant origin from Ghana. There are numerous studies which support Guans claim to their autochthonous (i.e. aboriginal) status. However, for lack of space the present writer may confine himself to factual information provided by Professor Abu Boahen who says: “Neither the Akan nor the Ga-Adangbe found the coastal districts of Ghana unoccupied. It is clear from oral traditions as well as linguistics evidence that these immigrants met the Guans who were living in these areas in different degrees of concentration and political organization”. These Guans are represented today by the Anum, Kyerepong, Basa, Breku, Etsii, Afutu and Asebu: “When these immigrants arrived they pushed the Guans eastwards and south-wards and either totally or partially assimilated the Guans culturally or ethnically. (vide: A thousand years of West African history, 1970. P. 167).

By 1482, when these Portuguese led by Don Diogod, Azambuja negotiated with the local chief of Edena for the construction of a fort, there was not any Fante, Ga, nor Ewe on the coast. The Edena people originated from one of the Ancient Guan Kingdom, namely Aguafo. The rest were Asebu, Fetu near Cape Coast, Agona in the Central region and Guan Kingdom in the Afram Plains under the Ataaras. They were all state builders.

Gonja is the oldest Guan settlement, but whether it is the nursery ground and the cradle of Guans institutions is one of the problems which archaeologists are now called upon to solve. But one thing is certain and that is the partrilineal groups so typical of the Guans definitely evolved here.

Historians assert that the growing power of Songhai Empire pushed the Mossi-Dagomba ancestry ancestors south of the Niger Bend, so that by A.D. 1333 they became a threat to the very survival of the Guans in Gonjaland, thus waves of Guans moved southwards in search of settlements.

Earlier the desire to move southwards into the forest country had been felt by the Guan, because the climate and the vegetation were not conducive to intensive human occupation. Eventually, members of kindred groups broke away and wandered afield to their present inhabitants.

The first Group penetrated into the Afram Plains where they built a powerful state under the Ataaras. The last of the Ataaras, by name King Ataara Ofinam VIII, was ousted by the Akan who migrated from Adansi in a seven-year war, (1690-1697), so that inhabitants fled to Atwode, Akpafu, Lolobi, Santrokofi, Likpe, Buem, Anum, Boso, Nyagbo, Tafi, Akposo, Logba, Akpafo, Abanu, and Okere, as well as the Buem and Nchumuru.

The OKERE ancestors first settled at Tafo, Kukurantumi and Osiem, from there they moved to ABOTOASE near the present-day Adawso before settlinh on the mountains. At Tafo the OKERE established the OHUM festival, which has since become the aboriginal cult of Akyem Abuakwa. In the same way the Fetu Afahye of the original Afutu at Oguaa has remined the aboriginal cult and not the Ahobar of Borbor Mfante.

The second group moved towards the lower Volta Basin. Among them were the Senya, Larteh, the Kpeshi aborigines of the GA countryside, the Obutu (Awutu) who leader by name Awietey had gold and brought this with him. The third group moved to Sefwi, Nzema, Aowin, Wasa, Ahanta, Shama, Asebu, Aguafo and the Etsii settlements. They have all been subjected to Akan imperialism and have lost all cultural triats which made them identified as Guan.

The Fetu settlers founded Oguaa. Some of them moved east-wards along the coast and founded Mumford and Winneba, while the Nkonya continued the journey to Nyanawase, thence to Lartey before the Volta. Almost all the Guan communities now living on either side of the Volta north of Kpando have traditions of COUNTER MIGRATION, i.e. migration southwards and backwards to the north. There was counter-migration from the ancient town of Lartey across the Volta to Nkonya, Prang, Yeji, Dwan, Nkomi and Nammuri.

The Guans now live in five regions of Ghana, namely; Central, Eastern, Brong-Ahafo and Northern. Their institutions and language operate side by side with those of their closest neighbours, and it appears this sense of cultural distinctiveness is intensified and justified by the practise of partrilineal succession in all the Guan-speaking areas, except Anum and Boso who became matrilineal by adoption.

In conclusion, let me digress a little with a plea that the Guans should value their heritage whatever their origins. They should preserve and not neglect their links with the past.


Short History of the Gonja Kingdom

From the 6th Edition of the Guan Congress
Damongo, N/R, Ghana
October 2004

The history of Gonja is a bit surrounded in some myths but the general and popular view held by the Gonjas is that the Gonjas are a people who entered into their present modern day area from one of the old Sudanese Empires; precisely the Mende Empire or Kingdom (Mali Empire as some historians prefer to call it). That they were a group of fighters or preferably, invaders led by their leader and founder of the Gonja Kingdom in the person of Sumaila Ndewura Jakpa. Jakpa is said to have invaded vast areas as he moved on through conquest and after each area was captured he would leave behind a son or a loyal servant as chief or leader of the conquered people and area. He did that through his spear and by the end of his death the present Gonja Traditional Area was established fully as a centralized state under his sole leadership in 1675.

The Gonja people whose true name is Ngbanye (meaning Brave Men) derive the name Gonja from a corrupted Hausa phrase Kada Goro-Jaa (meaning land of Red Cola).

History has it that the Ngbanye people and Hausas of Sokoto were trade partners in Cola-nuts. The Gonjas secured their cola-nut supplies from Ashanti from where they were transported to the great Salaga market. The Hausa traders of Sokoto, where there was a flourishing demand for cola-nuts, traveled to the Kasa Goro-Jaa (land of Red Cola) at Salaga to purchase the nuts, overtime the Ngbanye became known as Gonja coined from Kasa Goro-Jaa.

Sumaila Ndewura Jakpa the founder of the Gonja Kingdom was himself initially a trader from Malle or Made according to a source. At a point in time he became bankrupt. Just about the time he had consulted a certain Mallam about his fortunes in life. The Mallam bluntly told Jakpa that even though he came from the royal family he would never ascend the throne. Instead, his fortune was in foreign lands, where he would attain rises and would establish a kingdom for himself, his children and followers. Jakpa was so convinced of the Mallam’s prophecy that he mobilized tens of thousands of fighting contingent and other followers and set out around the sixteenth century.

Emmanuel Forster Tamakloe ex-third class clerk, writing in 1931, on the other hand reports that Jakpa and his followers came from Gizi, a country to the north of Mandi.

From Mandi or Gizi, both sources affirm that Sumaila Ndewura Jakpa and his army on reaching Jah, the first town of call, Jakpa came into contact with Fati Morukpe, a very powerful Mallam of the worn and made friends with him. The Kpe in the Mallam’s name stands for his albino colour and features. Jakpa solicited his company for his impending adventures so that he would be an intermediary to offer prayers unto God so as to divert mishaps and evil in his exploits. If the offer was accepted, Jakpa promised to pay a tribute of a hundred pairs of every domestic animal including one hundred slaves, cattle, horses, and gowns. In the ensuring friendship that developed anywhere Jakpa conquered and left behind a son Fati Morukpe also replicated with a son. Fati Morukpe’s descendants now form the Nsuawura’s lineage in the Yagbonwura’s palace and also form the Sakpari (Mallam) section in every division.

Jakpa’s first point of entry into what is now known as Gonja Traditional Area was a Ntereso-Gbanfu in the Bole State. He over ran the place and on reaching Bole he was told of a certain powerful Fetish or Shrine Priest who must be overpowered at Mankuma before he could settle down. Consequently he marched on Mankuma, and after a great display of black power and show of strength on both sides, he defeated the Fetish Priest and planted his sister and nephew there. The sister was subsequently given the title Mankumawuriche (Mankuma Queen) and the nephew Kakulasewura (meaning an eavesdropper to tap information from the Fetish Priest for Jakpa). Jakpa then over ran the Vagalla people who largely occupied the place.

Jakpa now pushed into the Wala country defeated them and chose Nyanga as the capital of the conquered lands and named it Gbinipowura-pe. He then partitioned the land among his sons whom he made chiefs to administer these areas. This Wala country included Kong and Kandia areas.

Jakpa now turned his attention on the Tampruma people on the Western banks of the White Volta River. These Tamprumas were subjects of the Dagomba Kings who appointed their representatives to administer the area and also control the salt-making by the natives in Burugu (later to be known as Daboya by the Ngbanye). Jakpa went into combat with the Dagombas dislodging them on the western side and followed them up to the Eastern side where there ensued a fierce battle and very heavy casualy were suffered on both sides. In the end the Dagombas were defeated and their Kind Na Dariziogo slain. Many Dagomba towns were captured to include Gbirimani (Birimani), which came under the jurisdiction of Kpembi and Kasulyili under the Wasipewura.

Ndewura Jakpa then placed Burugu (Daboya) under the authority of his daughter who accepted the title Burugu-Wurche (Queen of Burugu). She was left with a small garrison under her command.

The strategic importance of Daboya to the Ngbanye and also to the Dagbamba was in no doubt because it was the gate-way to the western corridor of the food producing country of the Tamplumas who incidentally were also a very brave fighting force who must be conquered and assimilated strategically to act as a buffer to Dagbamba expansion bid to the west of the river. Beside Burugu/Daboya itself was economically and socially important due to the salt making industry and the resourcefulness of the river which earned the town its name Daboya (meaning our brother is better than us).

These benefits indicated above and other factors urged the Dagbambas to continue to make persistent military incursions into Daboya and surrounding villages. This necessitated the removal of the Wasipewura by Jakpa from Wasipe in the Bole area to Daboya to reinforce the garrison and control the salt-making industry. The Daboya chief continued to be called Wasipewura to this day.

Meanwhile Jakpa had conquered the Biegas (Beso Nsoko of the Banda people) after initial resistance before making in-road into the Bole area as mentioned earlier. And from Bole Jakpa also penetrated Bamboi area where the Mos easily submitted themselves to his authority by presenting him with 30 Kegs of gun-powder without a fight.

Jakpa and his men now pushed eastward between the White and Black Volta river routing Kahu (Laribanga) and the big town of Kurase, South-West of Damongo mostly occupied by a section of the Dagbamba. From there Jakpa traversed to Kaniamase the capital of the then Kania people and captured the town and in the process killed their king at the palace and renamed Kaniamase (Gbipe or Buipe).

The army now marched on Mpaha and encountered the Debre people, a fierce battle ensued at Kapiese near Mpaha in which the N’nyamase were conquered. Jakpa proceeded to Tuluwe through Tamanklan (a place Jakpa rested before crossing the river and in the process forgetting his mat on which he rested hence the village’s derivation of its name). From there he came to Nyilalan and met the Apere (Apir) people of Tuluwe area (Singbin) and over ran them.

He continued towards Kafaba and while still on the Western side of the Black Volta the leader of the town sent to meet Jakpa in advance with peace overtures and sending drinking water consisting of mashed Fura and fermented porridge drinking water and honey. Jakpa in appreciation of the leader’s overtures reciprocated by promoting him as peace-maker by giving him a blanket, redcap and a scepter as a symbol of authority for he the Kafabawura to have the power and authority to evoke peace and settle or reconcile any feuding parties or misunderstanding arising thereof in any part of Gonja with his presence.

At Kafaba Jakpa met a thriving cola-nut trade market. From there he subdued all the inhabitants along the way to Salaga which was then inhabited by the Nanumba people. The Nanumbas were driven away and kola trade transferred from Kafaba to Salage which later became an emporium for the slave trade and other products.

The Gonjas however, moved a little out of Salaga and built Kpembe town.

Jakpa’s insatiable spirit of conquest and land soon drove him again eastward to conquer the Kpamkpamba and Bassari people. He took prisoners and captured thousands of oxen, sheep and goats.

The captives taken were planted between Nchumuru, Salaga and Nanumba to till the land and supply the Kpembiwura with foodstuffs.

To consolidate his hold and also place a check on the Dagbamba expansion bid southward of Tamale, Jakpa’s fifth son living with his senior brother Tuluwewura Abass was then equipped and went and took Kasugu from the Dagbambas by conquest.

After years of rest Jakpa contemplated fighting the Asante but his men murmured owing to fatique of war. He later defied them despite warnings against fighting the Asantes. He crossed the Volta River towards Yeji to Kabako and encountered the Asantes. A raging battle then took place in which Jakpa was shot in the ankle and mortally wounded. Before his death Jakpa instructed that his body be sent to Mankuma the sister’s place for burial.

On reaching Aburumase (meaning I am now weak and dying) he was very sick indeed. When they got to Trekpa (I have now reached my end) he died.

On reaching Gbipe now spelt Buipe (Gbi meaning heavy or weight load) the corpse was getting bad he was therefore interred there (Gbipe).

Since it was Jakpa’s express wish to take his final rest at the sister’s place of abode at Mankuma, it has become customary since then for all Yagbonwuras to be entombed at Mankuma, a village on the main Sawla-Bole road.

The successor it was decided should be a prince or chief with large house-hold and plenty followers. The Chief of Kong was elected. Hence the tow Nyanga is called “Yagbon” i.e. “big household” and thus became the name of the skin and title “Yagbonwura”.

It was not until 1944 that the capital of the Ngbanye was moved from Nyanga to Damongo.

It will be noticed that before Sumaila Ndewura Jakpa’s exploited and conquests of the present day Gonja five (5) other kings had ascended the throne in the present Gonja area. Jakpa conquered them and became the first Ngbanye king, as confirmed by Mr. Blair below:

Mr. Blair, in an attempt to compare the histories of the Dagbamba and Ngbanye kingdoms writes, “In the former the Dagbamba came in as a tribe or group of clans, slew many of the Tindanas and impressed their language on the people of the land, aboriginal Grunshi and Guan, or driving them out as in the case of the Konkombas, etc.

“On the other hand, from the evidence at hand, the Kagbanyewere a mere raiding band of Mandingo stock, who conquered the Guan, Vagalla and Apir countries but owing to their small numbers could do no more than establish a ruling dynasty over adopting Guan, the language of one of the conquered tribes. The only evidence of their origin is in the few Mandingo words now surviving in the Gbanya language.”


On the Job

After a few weeks of work at the Bole District Assembly, I’m slowly finding my bearings. Here’s my office for the next few months. Specifically, Office 6 on the 3rd floor.

I am working in one of the Central Administrative departments – the District Planning and Coordinating Unit (DPCU). My main colleagues are the District Coordinating Director (DCD, or “Director”), District Planning Officer (DPO, or “Planner”), and the District Budget Officer (DBO, or “Budget”). One thing that’s different than at home is the use of job titles rather than names. You may be walking by and someone says “Good Morning, Environment,” rather than the District Environmental Officer’s real name: Peter.

The DPCU and I will soon be looking at the planning season and sorting through requests from the various departments: Health, Education, Food & Agriculture, Community Development, and others. My main focus lies in researching and assisting 3 areas: Evidence-Based Decision Making (EBDM), Department Collaboration, and Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E).

Before 2009, the various districts (there are about 212 within the country) were operating with different databases spread across different departments. The unit charged with planning did not have access to this information, or it was difficult to understand. Now after many years of work, there are a few districts (6) that EWB has helped to centralize. Information on everything from classroom sizes to the number of chickens in a particular town or area are gathered into one document. This can then be analyzed to determine if a department’s request is valid or could be adjusted.

From the graph I created below, you can clearly see that one area is not like the others. Using data collected in 2011, it shows the contrast between population and outpatient sizes at the various health facilities. There are a total of 6 areas within the Bole district. Three are considered urban: Bole, Bamboi, and Tinga. And the remaining three are considered rural: Mandari, Mankuma, and Jama. I’d be interested in getting your thoughts on why the Bole health facility is seeing many more outpatients that the population it serves. What do you think is causing this anomaly?

One of the areas that I’m still figuring out where I can help add value is in department collaboration. Ghana is still in the process of decentralization, whereby the local government will be given near complete control of the departments in their area. Previously, this work was coordinated from the national level, but has step-by-step given down to the districts. I hope that by the end of my placement, Bole’s Mission Statement will be just a little bit closer to perfection.

From my earlier post, you may be getting a hint of my last area of exploration: Monitoring and Evaluation, or M&E in most international development circles. My past experience in the project management sector has been a great help in understanding this area of work, as it mainly relates to the execution and follow-up of a project. The project may be a school, health facility, borehole, agro-processing center, or a road (as in the photos below).

Two weeks ago, I joined the DPCU and RPCU (their regional counterparts) for a field visit to a feeder road outside Dbogdda. There were men chopping down trees, with women and children clearing the bush, in preparation for the widening of the road. From the work that was already completed, there was a remarkable difference in the performance of the road and the smoothness of travel. The photos below are on the same road, before and after road construction.

I will be adding more stories from work and from home life in the upcoming days and nights. If you have any requests for stories, feel free to put them in the comments section and I will try my best to fulfill them.