Getting Ready for the Donkeys
By Sara Delaney
During a recent visit up in Northern Ghana, I had the opportunity to sit down under nice shady tree and chat with Alan-eta Atubiga, one of the 100 women who has chosen to participate in our Gates Grand Challenge Grant project.
After hearing about the project this April, Alan-eta decided to take the plunge and apply for a loan to purchase a donkey, plow and cart, which she can use to plow her family’s land and carry produce, tools and people back and forth from house to field to market.
Through this program, each woman is able to choose between two different repayment plans, but all have two years to repay the loan. Our team in Ghana will be carefully monitoring the results, and working with each woman to record the data needed to see which plan is working better, and what kinds of benefits they are gaining from owning and using the donkeys.
I asked Alan-eta why she decided to make the purchase – and she expressed with confidence how she was hoping to be able to do more, in less time, on her farm. She currently uses only hand tools to till the land where she grows millet, sorghum, corn and beans. With an eye on a thriving future, she is also planning to rent the donkey and plow or cart to her neighbors to earn some extra income.
She said that before the program, she did not have the money to make such a large purchase because any extra savings went to support her children in school but now she feels that much more is possible.
After we chatted, Ms. Atubiga hurried away to participate in the training that was being held that day for her and about ten other women from her community who had also decided to purchase a donkey set. That morning they learned about selecting seeds, the correct distances for planting, different types of fertilizers, and many more skills to build a successful small-holder agricultural practice.
I am excited to learn how all of the women I met that day will make use of their new investments – they purchased their donkeys at the beginning of June, so stay tuned for more updates as the rains start and the planting begins!
Images: Top, Alan-eta during the interview. Middle, A donkey already owned by one of Alan-eta’s neighbors. Last, Women learning about corn seeds during the training.
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