If you take a short walk past the 4-H Enterprise Garden at Osiem M/A Saviour JHS, you’ll encounter some new smells and sights. Maybe you’ll even hear some happy squeals coming from the newly constructed barn. You’ll soon come to find a new pair of young pigs: 4-H Saviour’s latest club project.
In addition to the development of club committees, a recreation/entertainment week, participation in the local Farmer’s Day events, and keeping busy with the enterprise garden crops, 4-H Saviour (located in the Eastern Region, Ghana) embarked on a new project this school term. With the help of some community donations and a small loan, the club was able to construct a 4-room swine rearing structure to house two 4-month piglets that were donated by a local pig farmer. The project began when the Saviour 4-H advisors visited the farmer’s local pig farm during vacations and the owner showed interest in supporting the club. We kept in contact with the pig farmer throughout the term and began involving members of the newly formed Animal Husbandry Committee in the planning of the piggery enterprise project.
By mid-October, 4-H Saviour members were assisting the hired mason with the groundbreaking and structure development. Even during the national teacher’s strike, 4-H Saviour members could be found on the school property, dedicating their time to the project at hand. The “barn” is a high-quality structure which mimics the design of the local pig farmer’s facilities in order to provide the best living situation for the pigs.
Saviour 4-H members gathering sand to fill the barn foundation
The completed Saviour 4-H Piggery Barn!
As the structure continued to progress throughout November, Saviour 4-H was also mentally preparing for the arrival of the newest 4-H project. While the club advisors, Sir Richard Quansah and Madam Allison Hoover (AgriCorps volunteer from the U.S.A.), know some general information about pig rearing, the Saviour 4-H members needed a bit more of an introduction to this type of husbandry. On November 25, two other U.S. AgriCorps volunteers visited Osiem from their respective communities to hold an introductory workshop on swine husbandry. Madam Cassella Slater (from Pakro 4-H) and Sir John Romo (Adarkwa 4-H) came and taught the basics of swine terminology, a timeline of pig rearing and finishing, and even sang a song that emphasized the importance of water for pigs (since they cannot sweat to alleviate heat stress).
One Saviour 4-H member describes the visit, “When Madam Cassella taught us, I learned a lot about the rearing of pigs. It was very helpful to learn about the ages for breeding and also what pigs need daily to be healthy.”
The pigs arrived at the school on December 1: one gilt piglet (un-bred female) and one boar piglet (non-castrated male), both around 4 months of age. The club hopes to find at least one other gilt to supplement the project and produce more litters of piglets within the next year. Students were nonetheless excited for the arrival of the two additions to the Saviour 4-H family. As the new “owners” of these piglets, Saviour members quickly took to caring for them by feeding them three times a day, providing fresh water, and cleaning the pens.
One of the first projects of its kind in Ghana, the 4-H Saviour Piggery Enterprise project is a just another opportunity for 4-H youth to demonstrate entrepreneurial skills, develop husbandry skills, and connect to their local community through collaboration and donations. Saviour 4-H is excited for the new connections that this project has made in the Saviour community and looks forward to more animal husbandry projects in the future (rabbits, grasscutter) to continue fueling member interest in diversified agricultural production.