Our development initiatives are undertaken in the Northern Region of Ghana. This region is significantly poorer than the rest of the country, and almost 90% of its residents are subsistence farmers.
The first project that GRID and NEA embarked upon was located in Janga. After working there for fifteen years, community and project staff agreed that the activities and results were sustainable and no longer needed NEA’s external support. We phased out our involvement in that area and launched a new initiative in the Deg tribal area. The town of Carpenter is the hub for project activities in this much larger, more involved program.
GRID and NEA believe that good development is sustainable. We therefore only start development initiatives that we feel have the potential to be sustainable. (You can read our Focus on Sustainability document for more information about this.)
Sustainability is not achieved quickly or easily, but depends on commitment and hard work. We’ve learned this from experience: it took almost fifteen years for us to achieve sustainability in Janga, the first area in which we worked.
Sustainable development, we have learned, means starting small. When we start work in a community, often we begin with a fairly small group of women. We invest in these women, training and supporting them as they take steps towards self-sufficiency. After one to three years, this small group of women can become a powerful force for change, training other women and demonstrating to an entire community a different way of life.
An Integrated Approach
We believe that sustainable development is best achieved through an integrated approach. This means that we try to consider all of the causes of poverty in our planning, rather than focusing on a single sector. For example, we have found that improving people’s health depends on improving the amount of food they have, increasing the variety of food, providing clean water and latrines, educating families on health topics, and eliminating toxins from the environment. And all of this must take place within a peaceful, stable environment.
Our projects are therefore all interdependent and involve many areas of impact.