Plastic Fantastic!

Sofia is a hairdresser by trade, but is putting her practical skills, business acumen and compassion into a new enterprise.  She has a new take on the locally-produced straw baskets – baskets woven out of used plastic.  Discarded plastic is everywhere, particularly the 500ml drinking water sachets and the small black polythene bags used by shopkeepers.  […]

Politics, Partnerships and Petroleum

Recently I attended Oxfam in Ghana’s Country Learning Review – an end of year appraisal with its partners. A topic on the agenda was “active citizenship”. One speaker stated that historically, effective states have not come into existence without the efforts of active citizens. Oxfam’s partners would certainly testify that any successful advocacy campaign requires […]

Exploring northern Ghana – Part 2: Mole National Park

I visited Mole National Park with the International Service volunteers at TradeAID, and their counterparts based in Sandema and Tamale. To break up the journey we spent a night in Tamale with the group there. Tamale is the capital of the Northern region, a three hour drive from Bolga and on the way to Mole. […]

Exploring northern Ghana – Part 1: Tongo

Tongo is a small town 10km south-east of Bolgatanga. My friend Sylvester who works there took me for a visit. Tongo is a point of interest in Upper East region for the huge rocks scattered around, the hills in an otherwise flat area and the Tengzug Shrine located at a village just outside the town. […]

Collecting data

I have now been back in Bolga for three weeks, and can explain a little about what I have been doing at TradeAID, the NGO I am working for. My time has mostly been taken up by the collection of data. Part of my work here is to assist in the establishment of a social […]

In the field

During my first week I was taken on field visits to some of the groups supported by TradeAID Integrated to meet the communities and to learn about the difficulties they face in earning a living from farming. At Vea, TradeAID have supported some of the women of the community to form a basket-weaving group.  As I […]

Bolga by bike

I am the happy and proud guardian of what appears to be the only mountain bike in town.  And I have put it to good use exploring my neighbourhood and taking trips into town. Thanks to five years of cycling London’s roads, I am unphased by the antics of traffic on roads with few markings […]

Out and about with TradeAID

I recently took part in some “participatory development”.  This is development jargon for consultation, the idea being that if you want to give money to people, you should ask them how it should be spent, instead of making a decision from London/Washington etc. On this occasion a government initiative, the Ghana Social Opportunity Project (GSOP), […]


Nothing beats a friendly face on arrival at an airport in a new country.  And there are few faces friendlier than Ernest’s!  As I was taking an internal flight the next day Ernest and his wife Monica, who I was very excited to meet for the first time, had kindly offered me a bed for […]


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Volunteering in Bolgatanga, Ghana 06.01.2013-29.03.2013

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International service trip to Ghana

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