Here we are, and here I go!
For those who don't know me too well here's a short bio:
My name is Bill Fuerth. I am from Essex, Ontario. I was born and raised in Essex, and attended Essex District High-school. I am now a 4th year civil engineering student at the University of Windsor, and a proud member of the University of Windsor Chapter of EWB.
Just to kick things off with a comprehensive bang I'm going to a lay a couple acronyms on everyone out there which I'll be using in this post. I'll try and do this each time I use more acronyms, because it'll make this a two way learning experience :)
AAB = Agriculture As a Business
MoFA = Ministry of Food and Agriculture
EWB = Engineers Without Borders
JF = Junior Fellow
APS = African Program Staff
Ok that'll be enough for now!
So roughly 8 months ago I finally stepped up to the plate and joined EWB, having more time in my fourth year to seek out hobbies and interests that, in the past, I had no time to attend to. Immediately I noticed a few things about the organization:
Firstly I expected an extremely intimidating group of engineering students who would be discussing highly analytical (and hard to understand for a new-comer) development issues at a mile a minute. On the contrary I found a group of students from various backgrounds of study and interests. A welcoming and warm bunch, capable of discussing the tough issues for sure, but willing to help the new guy catch up.
Secondly I noticed that everyone had a role to play in the chapter, and none more valuable than the others. This made me confident in my ability to help as a member, knowing that by performing my task as African chapter representative, and with each member performing similar tasks, we could together achieve the goal of spreading awareness about extremely important development issues overseas.
Thirdly I noticed a sense of mutual respect, and an air of humility. Which made working together seem like a group of friends doing there best to help those people in need in places like Ghana. A both productive and relaxing environment.
After taking some time to research African programs I was sure! I would try and become a part of them, by applying to be one of this year's JF participants. And now just 6 months after I was selected to be a JF, I am making my first blog post about going to Ghana. I can't express how honored I am to take part in the program, or how thrilled I am to work in the agriculture sector in Ghana. I had experience working on farms here in Southern Ontario and so I was extremely interested in initiatives in Ghanain agriculture. These initiatives are centered around the AAB program, which strives (through many initiatives) to increase the profitability of Ghanain agriculture, and move from subsistence to fare wages. I will be working on an initiative called Technology Adoption, this initiative is looking at technology currently in place on rural small-scale farms, and at the adoption of new technologies or the potential thereof. I will be working with MoFA in order to research past attempts at introducing technology in the agricultural sector of Ghana, and possible obstacles that impeded the rate of full-scale adoption throughout the sector. My work will be based out of a district called East Mamprusi, which is rather hard to find even on google maps. But this is just the work I was hoping for, an opportunity to really experience rural Ghanain agriculture first-hand. And I can't wait to fill everyone in on the results of my work as I dig them up during my journeys!!!
I'm looking forward to telling you all my story, and hopefully you can all let me know what you think as I lay it all out. I hope you'll be looking forward to it, because I know I will :)