What the heck am I doing in Ghana…

A little about my mandate. I was sent to Accra by Crossroads International, a Canadian NGO that sends volunteers overseas to work with local partners. Crossroads does a lot of work to build capacity and improve the lives of women and girls. There’s another Crossroads that is a religious media content organization affiliated with evangelical TV program 100 Huntley Street. That’s not the one I’m with. My Crossroads is a non-religious NGO that is more than 50 years old and funded by the government of Canada as well as private donors. Volunteers have to try and raise funds before and during their mandates which I will blog about later.
The local partner I’m working with is called Pro-Link (the website needs, work – that’s why I’m here!), headed by an amazingly energetic and dedicated executive director named Trudi Nunoo.
Pro-Link is headquartered in Accra, has 43 staff members and seven offices throughout the country (Obuasi, Amansie, Kumasi, Mankessim, Hohoe, Kadjebi and Aflao). Projects include programs to educate key populations (female sex workers, men who have sex with men, youth) about ways to prevent STIs and HIV/AIDS. They also do education programs about preventing and reporting gender-based violence. The Pro-Link Economic Empowerment Project (PEEP) provides sex workers with new livelihood skills, such as making bags and beaded jewelry.
A very big project Pro-Link just started focuses on mother and child health (Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 – reduction of child mortality and improvement of maternal health). With the Healthy Mother & Child project, Pro-Link is set to oversee the construction and revamping of maternal health care clinics throughout the country (sites include Half Assini Hospital, Jomoro, Ellembelle, Agona Nkwanta). The project includes working with subcontractors to provide medical equipment, training (information, education and communication) as well as on-going supervision and monitoring. Funding comes from eni Foundation, the corporate responsibility arm of an Italian oil company. This is big stuff!
Most of Pro-Links donors are internationally funded NGOs such as Global Fund, USAID, PLAN Ghana, and Crossroads. One maternal health care project Women and Their Children Health (WATCH) is funded by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Development(DFATD, formerly CIDA – Canadian International Development Agency) in partnership with PLAN Ghana.
I’m just getting a handle on all the acronyms. My job title is communications advisor and I’ll be documenting the various projects and success stories, updating the website and putting together media packages to promote the amazing work this organization does.

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