I want to write an inspirational blog about the women’s center in Banko. The place where I am physically 2 mornings a week, but on which I spend so many more hours a week. I want to write this piece because I want to let you know what a cool project Banko Women center is, so you will be inspired and want to help. With a donation or as a volunteer in Ghana!
But as it so often happens when I start writing a blog, my thoughts wander to a slightly different topic. Why does this project work, when so many projects fail? Since I’ve already written a lot about the women’s center, and quite a bit about volunteering, I’m going to wander off to where my thoughts take me. Will you join me?
Collaboration is about letting go of control
As you may know, I have over 20 years of Ghana experience and I have seen many projects fail and lots of foreign people come to establish themselves in Ghana, but who unfortunately have also left.
Starting or running a project in Ghana is not easy. The culture and work ethic is completely different from what westerners are used to.
One of the things that I always say is that I work together with the local authorities and with the other women in Banko women center. And I do. It’s a women’s center for the community, not for me. So that means I have let go of many of my beliefs, my beliefs are not the beliefs of the local women after all.
Since 2 months we have 2 training centers; the sewing center and the hairdressing center. 2 teachers and a total of 5 students. In the 2 months, I have only once seen all 7 women at the same time in the women’s center.
For example, today I came and both teachers were not there, neither were the 2 hairdressing students and 1 of the sewing students was not there either. So who were there? 2 students in the sewing studio. 1 of them was sick yesterday, but was thankfully there again today. While I was chatting with them the hairdresser and 1 of her students came.
And now an hour later the other teacher is still not there.
Punctuality in Ghana….
When this happens I can add all my beliefs; you have to be serious in your work, you have to be on time etc etc. But all that would happen is that I would get angry and frustrated. So I choose not to do this. Because when I go into the consultation with the teachers, my colleagues, angry and frustrated then I am not working together. Then I want to push my way and my beliefs. Not so conducive to the atmosphere… And not so conducive to the progress of the center either.
And despite the fact that they are not very punctual… The atmosphere is great, I can now hear the sound of sewing machines and see the hairdressers hard at work. The students are making tremendous progress. All products we sell in Moon&Star guesthouse the sewing students can make independently and they also make beautiful dresses. The hairdressers can do certain hairstyles independently.
And in the end that is exactly what it is all about!
Does this mean everything is going well at Banko Women center?
No, definitely not! At the moment the costs are higher than the revenues. Not so convenient when we want to be self-sufficient. We don’t have a good local customer base yet, and if we don’t sell anything at the guesthouse for Banko women center, there will be almost no money coming in. But we are primarily a training center, so we need to have learning materials available. And so we continue to dabble a bit in the margin.
And that brings me back to the inspirational blog that I wanted to write. Despite the fact that it is indeed super cool at the women’s center, not everything is hunky-dory. And we can really use your energy and help in Ghana!
Who, what, where, why, when, how and how much?
Who: A volunteer for at least 1 month who is enthusiastic, independent, patient, resourceful and who enjoys traveling, exploring, learning and sharing knowledge.
What: Help with fundraising, help selling products, making social media content, help developing products and help setting up a new training center.
Where: In Banko Ghana. You will be staying at Moon&Star guesthouse and commit to Banko Women center.
Why: Very soon we will start fundraising for the next training and we can really use your help and energy for that! At the women’s center, we all do what we do best. I am facilitating and I could really use your help and energy in doing so!
When: September to December 2022. In September we want to start the new campaign so as soon as possible!
How: Sign up using the form on this page or send me an email!
How much: The cost for 4 weeks is €410,00. Each additional week of stay costs €85,00. You don’t pay for volunteering, you pay for your room, drinking water and 3 delicious meals a day!
Are you not the person we are looking for but do you know someone who wants to help in Ghana? Please feel free to share this blog. Thank you!
If you have any questions about volunteering, please read this blog with frequently asked questions. And did you know you can also make a free zoom appointment? Click here to go to my calendar!