Undergraduate Blog / Defining Your Babson

Seeing is Believing: A Hands-On Approach to International Development Design

Jammo! (Welcome in Mo, the language spoken in the village we recently visited)

It’s been a few weeks since my last blog post but it’s not because of a lack in the number of great experiences I’ve had. In fact it has been hard for me to find the time to blog because of how busy we’ve been. When I last left you we were about a week into the IDDS experience. Since then we’ve received lessons in proper venture mapping for social enterprises and products, techniques for information gathering, the Mo and Twi languages, and a number of other important aspects of International Development Design. We also ventured out to several different villages (Adumkrum, Offuman, and New Longoro) to gather information about issues within villages and Ghana as a whole. Some of the projects that teams are working on include creating electricity from biomass, increasing the income of small-acreage farmers, collecting and disseminating User-Generated Content in villages (such as traditional knowledge of medicinal herbs, crafts such as Kente Cloth making, and best practices in agriculture). From here on out I’ll use some of the photos I’ve taken along the way to give you a chance to see what I’ve seen and hopefully get a better understanding of my experiences over the last two weeks!

We start everyday here at IDDS with a “morning-circle” where the entire group meets to learn about various cultures as well as to hear various appreciations, announcements, problems, and solutions. It’s a great way to start each morning. This photo shows Ariel and Sylvester having a conversation before the circle gets underway.

We headed to Tech Junction (a local commercial center) to practice information gathering. My job was to observe people and document the Junction’s goings-on. These boys really wanted to have their picture taken and I figured it was the perfect way to fulfill my documentation duties.

The IDDS fleet of five tro-tros and a bus as we prepare to travel to various locations for village visits. I traveled to New Longoro, Ghana to work on a project focused on preventing malaria in children.

Lameni calls the people of New Longoro to the community meeting with the talking drums.

Amy Smith (IDDS Founder) sitting in a place of honor among the village elders.

Our team’s goal was to learn more about Malaria prevention and treatment in New Longoro. Talking with different members of the community helped us to learn a lot about the issue of Malaria in the Ghanaian context. One thing that we learned was that many people burned mosquito coils to repel mosquitoes. Despite the effectiveness of the coils they often made people feel sick after sleeping with them burning in their rooms.

Baby Goats

Baby Ducklings

Ruth, a local groundnut farmer, who was kind enough to let us shell some groundnuts (peanuts) with her while we asked her questions about Malaria and her life in New Longoro, and the neighborhood children who also helped us to shell groundnuts.

Meeting with Dr. Abukabari of the Dwery (Pronounced Jer-ay) Clinic who gave us a better idea of the prevalence of Malaria in smaller communities such as Dwery and Gomboi (nearby towns with fewer then 100 households).

Ben (an Olin student) shows off proper bucket bathing technique. Believe it or not the bucket shower’s in New Longoro were the warmest showers we’ve taken since arriving in Ghana.

Team USA standing near our beautiful display of Southwestern Scramble, Pancakes, Bacon, Apple and Orange Slices, and several pizzas!

The Tanzanian Trio (L to R: Jim, Noela, and Rosie)

Posing with my two favorite Cambodians Mony and Chanthan

Thanks for reading! I’m hoping to get a chance to interview some of the other IDDS participant’s to give an idea of who I’m working with and why they are here at IDDS!