Monthly Archives: December 2010

Micro-finance bank in Côte d’Ivoire

I visited a women-run micro-finance bank in Bouaké and Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire that mostly caters to women clientele, though all are welcome.  They aim to make loans more accessible to low-income women, and also have a higher than average repayment rate.

In addition, I interviewed several women clients of the bank who had taken loans from the bank to expand their businesses.

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Sierra Leone Day Three

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Sierra Leone day 2

My second day in Freetown, Sierra Leone, I visited the Kroo Bay slum area again, located along the edge of the ocean, and then towards the end of day I went to another slum area called Dwarzack, which is set in a valley and along the steep slope of a mountain.

In Dwarzack, I followed the road, which passed through a market, active with people buying fish, vegetables, and other supplies, and then the road ended.  From here, there was a series of rough, uneven stone steps leading further into the neighborhood.  As the sun got lower, ready to drop over the horizon, many people were making their way home, carrying their new purchases or goods they had been selling at market up the difficult stairs, balanced on their heads.  People had a variety of things, including mattresses, chairs, tubs of plastic containers, and trays of charcoal.

On a small plot of dirt, kids were playing football (soccer).

Women and children carried buckets by hand or balanced on their heads to fetch water, a tricky path strewn with boulders leading down a steep incline to the communal water faucet.

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Election Rally in Côte d’Ivoire

A preelection rally in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) on November 20, 2010, in the town of Divo.  This was between the first round of presidential elections, and the run-off election that was held last weekend.  I was driving on my way back to Abidjan from visiting a cocoa farm and passed this parade of supporters.

Photos available for licensing.

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Maize in Ghana

I visited several maize (corn) farmers in the North of Ghana near Tamale.  The harvest was under way, the plants dry in the fields, and the farmers pulling the ears of corn off the stalks and piling them on the ground.  Women and young men collected the maize into large piles, and then it was transported to a machine that removed the husk and kernels.

The program gives training and assistance to farmers to buy pesticides and fertilizers.  As a result, their yields increased by 400 to 500%.

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Shea Butter and Kanfiehiyili Village, Tamale, Ghana

This women’s cooperative processes shea nuts into shea butter for use in cocoa and skin products.  They use labor intensive traditional techniques, involving grinding the nuts, roasting them, making a paste, mixing it with cold and hot water to separate the butter, boiling it, and finally straining it through cotton to remove any remaining sediment.  Most of the work is done by hand, with some help from a diesel powered grinder.

I also visited the homes of some of the beneficiaries to see how they live.  You can see their houses, water storage, stoves, and families.

The project is located in Kanfiehiyili Village, near Tamale in the North of Ghana.

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