Mr. Apinini Tahiru proudly shines his new set of wheels after returning from visits to many areas of his community, located in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region of Ghana. The 43-year-old husband and father of five has recently expanded his skillset and volunteered to become a Community Extension Agent.
“I have such a passion for community development!” Mr. Apinini told us, proudly. “I have such a great opportunity in my community to share my knowledge with my friends and neighbours so that everyone will have a successful harvest.“
A farmer and basket weaver by trade, Mr. Apinini successfully grew produce and sold it in the local market to provide an income for his family. He always enjoyed teaching his children about crop diversification and proper soil irrigation, so he thought it would be a great idea to help out community members who were struggling with their farms. This was when Mr. Apinini connected with TradeAID Integrated, CFTC’s local partner in Ghana, so he could receive training on becoming a Community Extension Agent.
Community Extension Agents are valuable members of their community who volunteer their time to ensure that everyone in the area thrives. When Mr. Apinini began his volunteering, he was trained in new agricultural practices, engaging local stakeholders, livestock management and vaccination, basket weaving, beekeeping, and Village Savings and Loan (VSLA) financial training.
“After I received my training as a Community Extension Agent, everyone in the community wants to speak with me,” Mr. Apinini told us. “They seek my advice on new farming techniques like proper planting and soil preparation. Also, I help my neighbours with small ruminants farming and how to properly save for a VSLA. I find it so rewarding to help my community.”
A NEW RIDE
After a couple months of travelling on foot to different communities, Mr. Apinini was finding the long walks incredibly taxing on his body. In addition to the difficult physicality of being a Community Extension Agent, he wasn’t able to visit as many farms as he wanted, which could jeopardize his neighbours’ crops.
But thanks to generous CFTC donors, bicycles were provided to all Community Extension Agents, including Mr. Apinini, so they can cover more ground and gain the ability to travel to farther distances.
“The bike has changed everything. It’s now so easy to reach all farms and parts of the community where I’m needed. Now, I can visit more families and reduce the stress of walking long distances.”
Ever since Mr. Apinini received a bicycle, he visits over 25 farmers a month and 10 VSLA groups – which covers an incredible distance of 40km!
Bestowing knowledge to his community is what truly drives Mr. Apinini. He dreams of a day where his entire community has successful businesses, use VSLAs to obtain credit and amass savings, and where there are more women-led farms to help double the harvest.
When asked how he feels about helping other farmers and watching as their crops and businesses flourish, he replied with a grin that it “completely fills me with joy.”