Emmanuel's grant project taught 40 participants agricultural and entrepreneurial skills.
By Raymond Yovelanyine Suonyir, (YES 2012-13, Ghana, placed by AYUSA in Springfield, OR)
As October approached and school breaks started, YES alumni Ghana decided to use the time to undertake a public health project. On October 18, alumni implemented a blood drive and free health screening in partnership with the Upper West Regional Hospital.
The Upper West region is one of the poorest regions in Ghana and is deficient in many sectors including health. The National Blood Service Ghana indicates that the blood requirement needed for the year 2022 was estimated at 300,000 (150,000 half-year), to meet the nation's blood needs. However, as of June 2022, data gathered across the country showed that only 86,126 units of blood were collected. This figure is far less than the requirement of 150,000 units required at half-year and this poses a major health concern. In the Upper West region, the situation is more intense.
Before the day of the blood drive, we managed to arrange for a media engagement on a 45-minute radio talk show. Humaida and I visited Radio Progress in the Upper West region and spoke on air about the upcoming blood drive and health screening program. Listeners phoned in as well to contribute to the program and this increased the reach. We also used other platforms such as social media and WhatsApp to send personalized messages and consistently engage people to participate. On the day of the blood drive, volunteers went through the streets and markets talking to residents about the program and the need for them to donate.
The publicity yielded results, with over 100 people volunteering to donate blood. It was a program worth the effort and we look forward to undertaking more of it.
Six YES alumni handled planning, logistics, funding, etc, and I attended on the day along with Osman Abdul Rahman (YES ‘19), Humaida T. Kaleem (YES ‘16), and Justine Bon-Iribu (YES ‘19). Six other volunteers helped out that day supporting the publicity and making sure all logistics were in place as well as MC’ing the program. Other alumni especially Ahmad Nasir Adu (YES ‘09) and Adams Issaka (YES ‘09) supported the project with funding, ideas and logistics as well as publicity, and engaged a lot to make this a reality.
These are initiatives that have come about primarily through the influence of the YES program. These are positive influences that alumni together can have on our communities. The change we seek starts with us.