Picture taken at the meeting in Accra between the Food Bridge vzw, GES New Horizon Ltd and the Ghana Export Promotion Council
The Food Bridge vzw in collaboration with Sankaa vzw, GES New Horizon Limited and local partners, were on a study trip to Ghana from 30th March to 11th of April 2023. The aims of this study trip were threefold;
- Implementation of new diaspora led initiatives including the Food Heritage Project Ghana
- The Accra Youth Innovation and Business Summit (AYIBS23), which is a project co-created by diaspora organizations in Europe and local partners in Ghana
- Mapping successful projects in Ghana,implemented or facilitated by African diasporas in Europe
The economic contribution of African Diasporas to the socio-economic development of the continent, has always been part of the migration narrative. Thus African diasporas have an interest and play important roles in the political, economic and socio-cultural development of Africa.
The Food Bridge vzw is one of the many African Diaspora led organizations and companies in Europe, that has development and socio-cultural projects in Africa. Like most organizations, we collaborate with partners in Europe and Africa, to achieve the set goals for the benefit of African communities. The study trip to Ghana was insightful and motivating. We embarked on different activities and actions to discover the available potentials and challenges too.
The first activity during the trip, was the implementation of our Food Heritage project in the lower Manga Krobo area of eastern region of Ghana. This follows the existing project in Nigeria. Initial consultations in Ghana began in 2021, but the project finally started in 2023. The aims of the project are still the same; to safeguard the African indigenous food heritage, promote conservation of endangered or rare food crops and plants, finally facilitate access to premium markets.
When women are empowered economically, rural communities thrive. Thus we chose to support and work with women for the Food Heritage project in Ghana. This action will be of immense benefit to the women because of their precarious situation due to lack of education, the prevalence of early marriages and pregnancies, which is higher than other regions of Ghana. By linking food heritage conservation and entrepreneurship, these women and their communities become more resilient. We offer training on good agricultural practices, provide needed materials, ensure families have nutritious organic food and help to market the products from the locality.
We started this first phase of the project in Ghana with meetings between our team, the communities leaders and government officials too. This helps build the right relationship and opportunities for co-creation, which is necessary for the project to succeed. We are focused now on facilitating a sustainable local food system, that can produce enough nutritious food for the people and create diverse streams of income. With the women, we will work on the conservation of varieties of indigenous yams, beans and pepper. We are also working with the communities on improving the traditional apiculture practices, developing different products from Neem trees and accessing profitable markets.
The Food Bridge also collaborated with GES New Horizon Limited and Gadangme Elites Ghana, to organize the second Accra Youth Innovation and Business Summit AYIBS23. Youth unemployment is a reality in many regions of Ghana thus for the next edition, we want to open up the application to youths living outside the greater Accra area.
This second edition of the event offered youth entrepreneurs aged 18 to 35yrs, the opportunity to submit their projects for evaluation and an initial selection process. After thev selection is completed, they have get an opportunity to present the project before a jury. Out of the sixteen projects presented, five were selected to pitch for prizes including business coaching, mentoring and grants from funds donated by African diasporas in Europe. This project is funded entirely by diaspora organizations in Europe. However, to achieve greater and more impactful results, we are seeking new partners, sponsors and funds, to enable us support more young entrepreneurs.
We also visited many projects in Ghana by African Diasporans in Europe. These development projects were for the education, health, water, sanitation and agrofood sectors. We will share more details in a newsletter about the study trip.
The Helping Hand Project