Many of our friends, family, and colleagues  generously purchased Ghanaian leather briefcases or contributed cold cash toward helping farmers in Northern Ghana.  First of all, thank you for trusting David and I to make wise use of the money, $1,600 in all.  We have given careful consideration in determining the best use of the farming funds; looking for projects with the potential of providing long term food security, that are sustainable, and that provide benefit to the greatest number of farming families.      Some of the funds, $400-$500, are set aside for the purchase of treadle pumps for water irrigation.  This will be a pilot project to assist dry season farmers. The pumps have not been used in this region before and are difficult to obtain.  If the pilot project is successful, the NGO Technoserve will finance additional pumps.  We are excited about the possibilities for this project, but the pumps likely will not arrive until after we leave.  Fortunately, Technoserve will take charge of the initial training for farmers and monitor use of the pumps. This leaves $1,100-$1,200 available for another project.  Many of you  have seen our video of the area or have visited this part of Africa.  You probably noticed it is hardly a Garden of Eden.  The top soil is quite thin and rocky, the rains are scarce and unpredictable, and the heat very intense.  These factors lead to low agricultural yields, despite intense amounts of labor.  In talking with farmers and agriculture experts, many think that improved animal husbandry techniques are key in creating better food security for Northern Ghana.  Domesticated animals in this area include goats, sheep, cows, donkeys, fowl, and dogs (not a misprint, large numbers of dogs are bought and sold in the markets for their meat).  In particular, animals are less vulnerable to the frequent floods and droughts that plague agriculture in the traditional growing season.  The farm animals are, however, prone to infectious diseases.  Until recently, farmers routinely lost a large proportion of their livestock and fowls to communicable diseases.   Within the last few years; animal immunizations, dewormers, and antibiotics have trickled into the area.  The few veterinarians in the country have taken notice of studies indicating far better survival rates for livestock on a program of immunizations, deworming, and improved feed.     In light of this information, we have decided to partner with Technoserve in introducing a “guinea fowl project” into four nearby villages; Kongo, Logre, Pelungu and Yakote.  Many people currently raise guinea fowl, but survival  and hatching rates are very low.   It is common for a farmer to lose 80% of his stock to disease before they reach maturity.   To begin this project, ten experienced guinea fowl farmers have been selected by members of each community..  We have had a preliminary meeting with all interested parties in the involved communities.  I was concerned that farmers might be resistant to changing their practices, but this was not the case at all!  The farmers did not know that immunizations were even available and were very interested in caging and other aspects of higher yield techniques.   Eight hundred large/fast growing guinea keets (chicks) will soon be purchased so that the forty selected farmers can each be provided with 20 keets.  Vaccines (added to the feed), dewormer, and an antibiotic will be provided to each farmer.  Technoserve will spend one day training the farmers on the vaccination schedule, preparation of nutritious feed, and caging requirements for the young keets (they are quite vulnerable to hawks and snakes).  All farmers in the area, not just those getting the keets, will be encouraged to attend the training and gain information on better guinea farming techniques.  I think there will be a very high turnout for the training.  The experts say that guinea survival rates will soar with these techniques, providing farmers with meat and eggs to eat, as well as fowl to sell in the market.  Guinea fowl are in high demand throughout the country. In an effort to sustain the project and benefit more farmers, the guinea farmers in the project will be required to return five mature fowls to Technoserve.  Technoserve will distribute these fowls to other farmers in the immediate community.  Our total cost will be $1,300, with guinea keets being the primary expense at $1,100.  Technoserve will cover costs for cages.