Adventures of Asesewa R/C JHS, Ghana

We have had a busy term this year. On 28th of September we cleared our garden and sowed groundnuts. The groundnuts were bought at the market for 10 GHC and were called the “new” ones, but the variety was unknown. Groundnuts were chosen because we are without a fence and goats do not worry groudnuts. We needed to plant a crop soon so that we would receive enough rain during the minor season during growth and we did not have enough time to build a fence. It took our club 2 hours to form ridges and sow approximately a 30 foot by 30 foot area.

On Wednesday October 8th, we had our, as well as 4-H Ghana’s, first ever district wide 4-H club exhibition. It took place at Asesewa Senior High School in their dining hall with six schools participating (Asesewa R/C, Asesewa Presby, Assec, Sekesua Presby, Sekesua government school, and Akokoma-sisi). Many dignitaries attended including the chiefs of the community. Speeches were given by the Executive Director of 4-H Ghana, CEO of AgriCorps, the District Best Farmer 2013, as well as several other dignitaries. Poems were recited and a cultural dance was performed by members of Asesewa R/C 4-H. Following the ceremony, a exhibition was put on where each school had a table to exhibit and demonstrate all the things that their club had been doing and 4-H members manned each table to explain their table to guests. Certificates were given to the top three presentations.

On Monday, 20th of October, we began training members for the Green Cadets along with Asesewa Presby. The Green Cadets are the new cadet corps of 4-H. The cadets are members of 4-H from the R/C and Presby schools that are training to be “soldiers of the environment”. This means that members are receiving training on marching and drill techniques as well as lecture on how to prevent fires and take care of their environment. The idea is to teach the members discipline, importance of the environment around them and how to keep it clean, as well as give 4-H an opportunity to be in the public eye. Drilling occurred every afternoon for three weeks (even throughout the teacher’s strike) and then once the base had been established, training happens every Saturday morning.

On Wednesday the 12th of November, MOFA, in collaboration with WAAPP (West-African Agriculture Production Project) and CRI (Crop Research Institute), held a two day workshop at a nearby farmer’s group field. The farmers group, Hope for Future, is one of two active farmer based groups in Asesewa and are growing two different kinds of new variety cassava as well as doing a research trial looking at fertilizer application amounts for early maturing coco-yams. Ten members of the Asesewa R/C 4-H attended the first day of the workshop where they enthusiastically learned about cassava production, the specific two varieties being grown in the premises, as well as toured the coco-yam field and inspected and compared the different treatments. Members took notes and during the lecture portion of the workshop asked good questions.

On the 18th of November, members started alternative gardens. Prior to planting, a small lesson was given about what alternative gardens were and how they could be useful, specifically during the dry season. Then members were split into 4 groups, Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. Each group was given a poly sack and a packet of seeds. It was up to each group to establish leadership and then find soil, pack their bags, sow their seeds and water it. Since that date, the bags are kept at school and the members are responsible for bringing the bags out in the morning and putting them away at the close of school each day as well as watering them accurately. All 4 groups have germinated and are growing well.

On 25th of November, the groundnut farm was weeded by the 4-H as a group. The groundnuts have germinated and grown well, and the school advisor had weeded several times to prevent a large amount of weeds from germinating. However, in order to give the group ownership of their farm as well as teach them, the group weeded the groundnuts. The groundnuts have now grown a strong enough canopy to prevent further weeding. They are close to harvest, probably within several weeks the groundnuts will reach full maturity.

Throughout the term we have tried to have regular meetings, although that was somewhat hampered by the 2.5 weeks teacher strike in the middle of the term. In these meetings we have played games, sang songs, given a lesson on record keeping, as well as installed a due system and fixed the roll call system. We are looking forward to next term where we hope to build a fence around our enterprise garden, begin rearing rabbits, and have a rap competition.

Submitted by Leah Sander, 2014-2015 AgriCorps member posted at Asesewa R/C JHS