The entire world is feeling the challenges of the COVID-19 virus. Many have lost jobs, global school closures are leaving children vulnerable, hunger is rising for families and physical distancing is taking a toll on social wellbeing.
We spoke with Ahmed, a 40-year-old father of four in northern Ghana who works as a farmer and a mason. He and his family have participated in CFTC donor supported programming, through our regional partner RAINS, for several years. His family’s life improved dramatically during this time, but now he is facing new challenges due to the pandemic. Here is his story.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us differently as a community. Although no case of the infection has been recorded yet in my community, for which we are grateful to God, I wish to focus on how this pandemic has impacted on my life and family.
Our community is made up of crop farmers. The women in the community process shea nuts and help their spouses on their family farms. Because of support from RAINS and Canadian Feed The Children, more women can participate in their family’s farms.
In fact, the implementation of the CHANGE (Climate Change in Northern Ghana Enhanced) project by RAINS and CFTC in past five years or so has exposed community members to the high need for women to be active participants in farming activities and gave significant support in terms of skills to women who are now small scale farm owners. This has gone a long way in addressing the food security needs of households as well as giving children, especially girls, the opportunity to be in school as women now contribute both food and income to support their households.
When I was growing up, I knew I was going to be a farmer. Over the years, I learned masonry which helped earn additional income for my family. That ensured my family stayed food secure all year round and that all my children could be in school.
But this year has been quite exceptional for me and my family following COVID-19. My work as a mason stalled as a result of the pandemic since I was not able to visit neighbouring communities to do my usual construction jobs because of physical distancing. My monthly income dropped, which seriously impacted the ability to feed my children. Before the pandemic, my children would receive school meals, but now that they’re at home, me and my wife need to spend more money on food to provide for them. While we can feed them adequately right now, we cannot afford a diverse or necessarily nutritious diet for them. I too would have the opportunity to eat meals at the homes of people I did masonry work for, but those opportunities no longer exist.
Farming activities have started again and I’m looking forward to a fruitful season. Fortunately I was able to purchase some crucial farming inputs at the local market like seeds and fertilizer before the pandemic hit. But, due to my reduced income, I cannot afford to hire extra help on my farm so we will not be able to cultivate the farm size as I was able to in previous years. I am foreseeing how COVID-19 will greatly impact our lives beyond just this year.
With so much emphasis on frequent hand washing and personal hygiene, our community has been so fortunate to have access to potable water, thanks to RAINS and CFTC for providing the borehole years ago. As well, CFTC provided us with some hand-washing stations during the pandemic which helped improve the community’s hygiene.
Even though we are experiencing these challenges, I wish to express my gratitude for RAINS and CFTC’s partnership with our community. Through this pandemic, I’ll be working closely with community members to ensure our folks follow safety protocols and save our community from getting sick. I am hopeful that things will ease up soon.
Ahmed’s family, like so many around the world, is facing the serious economic fallout of this global crisis. CFTC donor support during COVID-19 has already made a difference for communities like Ahmed’s in Ghana and around the world by providing sanitation supplies, community awareness campaigns around the virus, and tools to take advantage of this year’s shortened growing season. In many communities, the most vulnerable families have also received emergency food baskets. With your continued support, we can help more children and families through this pandemic and beyond. Thank you for providing hope for Ahmed’s family.