Yakote Women Farmers Association
Yakote Women Farmers Association (YWF) works with the 40,000 residents living in small villages throughout the
Nabdam District of far northeastern Ghana.
This is accomplished through empowerment of families who wish to operate small, agricultural-based businesses, feed and educate their children, have access to health care and clean water, or learn a trade as they strive to support their families.
Yakote Women Farmers
YWF started in 2000 with a highly motivated group of 150 women living near the village of Yakote (yaa-KO-tee) in the Nabdam District of northern Ghana. Inspired by these women, a U.S. charitable organization was formed in 2006 with board members Marilyn and Lou Schuster, Lisa Revell, David Stone, and David Sparks.
Our work quickly expanded to include rural village economic development throughout the Nabdam district, population 40,000, with fund raising efforts to support:
- Agricultural productivity.
- A broad spectrum of funding for education.
- Reduction of pervasive under-nutrition.
- Access to health care.
- Improved sanitation through clean water and latrines.
- Skills training for income generation.
Volunteer groups make annual trips to oversee the work.
- All board members and volunteers pay their own travel, food and lodging expenses.
- YWF has no paid administrators. All donations are used directly for project expenses in Ghana.
Collaboration with Village Leaders
After seeing a need for wide-ranging nonprofit work in this area, we formed our
organization to collaborate with village leaders in providing sensible solutions.
YWF has consistently expanded and added projects as donations have increased. YWF spent $36,000 for projects in the Nabdam district in 2019.
Yakote Community Center – At the heart of Yakote is the community center. Building it was our first major project and was based on what the women we met with requested. Once built, other health, sanitation, and education projects were started with the Community Center as the hub.
Communities are eager for their children to attend school. To meet the needs for education, YWF has constructed two primary schools with latrines in Nabdam communities without good access to schools. Details at www.gone2ghana.com.
Drilling of a bore hole with an electric pump and storage tank at the Community Center.
An over the counter pharmacy.
Grain grinding mill
A soy processing facility to make use of local product
Comprehensive Support of Education
Construction of new Nabdam District primary schools with latrines in Piitanga and Zeemboug (4/2020, underway), partnering with Framework International.
Lunch programs at targeted primary schools and an all-girls middle school.
Scholarship/loan programs at Ghanaian colleges for nurses, midwives and
teachers. As of spring 2020, fifty students have completed college, including one
medical student, and 22 are enrolled.
Ongoing construction and delivery of desks to schools. (seating for 600 students by 4/2020)
In the “Goats for Girls” program, 12-15 young girls from needy families receive a goat to raise. YWF provides initial vaccines, a goat stake, and a guide to goat care created by a girls 4-H goat club in Dallas, Oregon. The girls raise their goat and sell its offspring in order to pay school fees and uniforms. Each goat costs $30.
Health and Sanitation Services
One of the first uses of the Yakote Community Center was opening of a health clinic inside the building with two nurses seeing patients daily. About half of the patient visits are for children’s health care and vaccinations.
An ambulance was provided by the Health Service and the community funds the maintenance and fuel. Because of this, women in labor are able to be transported to the clinic with a midwife.
At the request of the Health District, YWF provided 38 bicycles for trained community health volunteers who visit remote family compounds to deliver polio vaccines, malaria drugs, pregnancy care, and check on nutritional status.
YWF works toward better access to clean water by drilling or repairing boreholes.
Women carrying water before the bore hole was drilled.
Tippy taps have been constructed for hand washing during COVID-19.
Food Programs to Address Malnutrition in Vulnerable Groups
During our first visit to Nabdam in 2005, community elders identified school lunches as their top priority. Since that time, YWF has purchased food staples for lunches at 4 primary schools and 1 junior high. The cost is 20 cents/meal.
The nutrition center in the village of Logre conducts a feeding program for malnourished babies and toddlers. With over 100 young patients in a year and unreliable help from larger aid organizations, YWF has stepped in to provide a 6-month supply of nutritious food staples each year.
The Nabdam HIV infection rate is 4%. Many with HIV do not receive an equitable share of the family food supply. YWF provides cornmeal, beans, and cooking oil for HIV patients when they come for anti-viral medications.
Details at www.gone2ghana.com.
Community Support and Development
Subsistence farmers are the backbone on which Nabdam society functions. With local experts, YWF has visited farms and organized workshops on composting, insect control, crop selection, and “green” fencing with a particular bush, jatropha.
Two basket-weaving cooperatives have been formed in Nabdam villages. YWF has helped provide training, basket storage, work benches, and has also marketed these colorful, artistic baskets. Women spend the much-needed income on school uniforms for children, health care, and household needs.
Development of a cooperative savings program or “susu” in which the woman deposit small amounts of money. It has been used to provide small microloans for petite trading ventures.
Community donkeys and donkey carts have been purchased for villages. Many have farm plots far removed from their home compounds. The donkey carts allow them to more easily transport water to the fields and bring the harvest back to their homes or market. A donkey and cart costs $350.
Women spend hours pounding grains when a grain mill is not nearby. While at a prolonged farmer meeting, we watched as these women first spent an hour carrying large basins of water from a distant well. A few minutes later they started pounding the millet for dinner, and the pounding continued for two hours.
Dry season farming with foot irrigation pumps.
Soccer balls and volleyballs for schools.
Donkey and cart.
Rotary funded grain grinding mill
Who we are
Board of Directors
We always need more help
We have a committed team of volunteers and donors that make this work possible. Our team includes individual donors and Rotary Groups, as well as corporations like Google, Inc., Microsoft, and Consumer Cellular who give matching donations to their employees.
Essential to our team are the groups of volunteers that make an annual trip to Ghana for project work and to maintain relationships in the Nabdam community.
All volunteers pay their own Ghana travel expenses from airfares to lodging and
food. This allows all donations to be used directly in the Nabdam community.
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Yakote Women Farmers