Thursday, January 19, 2012

A New Year, A New Project, A New Approach from GHEI

GHEI has started 2012 strongly.

The Chief of Humjibre called a general meeting for Wednesday morning in the community centre.  There was no need to ask what the meeting is for, people simply dutifully showed up, in small numbers earlier, but the crowd grew to nearly hundred.

Nana Kwado Twum II, The Chief of Humjibre
Nana Kwado Twum II was briefed by Clement last week.  Over the holiday break, GHEI received news that one of our projects listed on the Choose a Need website had received the full amount of funding, and was ready to go.
When Clement and senior staff sat with the chief, he explained that GHEI were attempting something new.  GHEI has since it's humble beginnings been entirely community focused.  The talent and energy infused into the work by volunteers and staff from Humjibre for Humjibre, has been a big factor in its success.

Humjibre, though, is a rapidly shifting and growing community.  Even since I arrived in April, I've seen it in little details like new items at stores and the far off hammering of new houses being built.  Lately, phone credit entrepreneurs have added phone retail sections to their enterprises; they grow from a young man's backpack sitting in the shade to a wooden structure with a tin roof and a glass display case in less than eight months.

To keep on our toes, and anchor ourselves more firmly in this rapidly growing community, we've had the idea to begin volunteer community groups to collaborate directly with particular projects.  This way, getting an update on a GHEI project in Humjibre is as easy as visiting a neighbour. 

Yesterday morning, to a crowd that kept growing, we explained the project that we were funded for: a mechanized borehole.  Right now, women and children must manually pump the water, which comes out in small spurts from the faucet with every lift and pull.  This project would mean that an electric pump would fill a water tank, and make the chore of fetching water as easy as turning a tap.  Clement explained the technology in finer detail and the community asked questions.  The response was positive, and the chief then said a few words on the subject of communal labour.  Then Clement presented the idea of a five person volunteer committee (four from the community, one from GHEI).  It was hard to tell if there was going to be any interest, and the community groups were entirely volunteer, so who knew how seriously the gathered people of Humjibre took this project.
In the end, four people volunteered: two of them women, all of them well known members of the community.  Before the meeting closed, one man curmudgeonly commented to the chief that we needed more people here, and he vowed to make sure more come to hear about this project.  The committee and GHEI are going to begin planning for the borehole, and the next step is to present our plan at the next general meeting called by the chief.  Let's see how many more get involved.

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