HA: Ghana is currently based in Cape Coast in the Central Region of Ghana. Cape Coast is the capital of the Central Region in southern Ghana. It is known for its role in the transatlantic slave trade. Now it is a large fishing community with a population of about 170,000. Although Cape Coast is hailed as the citadel of Ghanaian education and has some of the best senior high schools in Ghana, joblessness, poverty, poor sanitation, and falling standards of education at the basic level plagues the region.
HA: Ghana is currently partnering with Services and Advocacy for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (SAPID), a local nonprofit based in Cape Coast that supports a school for children with intellectual disabilities. SAPID runs a series of vocational training projects that train students in acquiring skills to help provide livelihood support for themselves and their families after school. HA: Ghana is working with SAPID to revive their bakery project, which not only trains students in the skills of baking but also provides jobs for students that have gone through the training program and graduated school.
HA: Ghana has also started the Vocational Training Project in Wiomoah, a suburb of Cape Coast. In designing the project, HA: Ghana worked with community members and leaders in creating a training program that supports and trains impoverished youth in learning a trade to provide self sufficiency. Ten trainees are currently enrolled in the project, where they are provided with all training tools and equipment needed to learn tailoring and open their own business at the completion of the program. HA: Ghana’s trainers are experienced tailors from the local community, and they are committed to providing detailed and impactful lessons to trainees.
HA: Ghana continues to have a presence in the Northern Region where we are supporting a vocational project in Kukuo, a community where women accused of witchcraft can live in relative safety. Although Ghana is generally well-developed, the drought-prone Northern Region has poverty and illiteracy rates above 75% — 2 to 3 times the national average.
These and other factors create an environment in which human rights abuses are common. Elderly women are often blamed for misfortunes in their families and communities, accused of witchcraft, and lynched. To escape violence and death, they must leave behind their homes, families, and possessions to seek refuge in one of the camps for victims of witchcraft accusations. Although the elderly women are relatively safe from violence once they are in exile, they are subjected to harsh living conditions and further abuses in the camps where they seek safety. Women usually remain in camp for the rest of their lives.
The HA: Ghana program in Kukuo provides women with henna seeds, supplies, training in best agricultural practices, and support in marketing and selling their product.
The original program, The Humanist Service Corps, was launched in the Northern Region of Ghana where we partnered with two human rights organizations. With our first two partners, we have worked on projects including:
reintegration of women accused of witchcraft
sensitization to lower the number of accusations
a healthcare project implemented in Kukuo
an agricultural project that trained residents of Kukuo in best farming practices and helped accused women set up backyard gardens
a community savings project in Kukuo
a vocational training project in Yendi