Désolé, je n’ai pas traduit cet article, mais je vais traduire le prochain avant de le publier. De plus, s.v.p. me pardoner pour mon français mal-écrit; puisque je n’ai pas une bonne connexion d’internet comme au Canada, donc je n’utiliserai pas bonpatron pour améliorer mon écriture.
I am in Ghana, and have been for nearly a month! Because of modem issues, I am only now posting my October 16 post :S ah bein, such is life. My next post is written and I will be preparing it as soon as I turn off the internet. My hope is to post it in about three days, so we will see if that happens! Now, moving along to the post itself:
Things have been hectic for a while. As you may know, I have spent nearly a year working on Piloting Postdevelopment. You could say longer, as ideas have been brewing at least since my first time in Ghana. The program itself started when I learned about crowdfunding. I then spent the next ten months learning about crowdfunding, non-profit start-ups, website design and everything else involved. Further, I designed the plan for Piloting Postdevelopment, while fundraising for the start-up on my website.
Recently, Borbor and I finally decided it was time I come, get started on the program and us finally live together. I then spent that time packing and updating my website to fit the programs new reality: an impending start! First, however, Borbor and I have been getting ourselves settled. (I will soon post some photos of our beautiful home). In the next week [at the time I wrote the post, see my next post for what happened in Mamfe], I will be visiting Mamfe and during that time, I will schedule a meeting with Agya Alex and those at Mayosa to get the initial stages of the program under way. Exciting times!
For today, however, I would like to discuss something else. If you do not know, today is Blog Action Day (BAD), something I only recently learned about on two other blogs I read (past tense). Before starting, I do want to say that this kind of movement can only go so far; those whose blogs I found BAD posts on did not appear to be doing much more than writing a short BAD post, almost as though to get more viewership. It is fine and dandy to write about an issue, but if your actions do not match your words, then you might as well not have written in the first place.
This years’ theme is “Raise Your Voice”. Some of us have the power to make the world a better place through our words, but others not so much. Some attempt to Raise Their Voices for change and are silenced through censorship, threats and sometimes even violence. Today’s BAD is about defending these peoples rights to speak up against injustice. And this is not something that is only seen in so-called “developing countries”; what about renowned researchers who speak up against Monsanto? Activists bringing to light the realities of the global extractive industries, those registered in Canada’s trade centers, in particular? I could go on, but what I want to make clear is that this is something seen the world over, merely in different manifestations.
Since I am based in Ghana, I wish I could attach the link to a great TED Talk, but the network where I am is not good (as stated earlier; I even had to type this out beforehand, hoping the light would not go out, as my computers battery does not last at all), so I encourage you to search for it. The talk I have in mind is by a Ghanaian investigative journalist. He constantly writes about changes he wishes to see in Ghana, but investigates specific cases. Because of this, he covers his face for the talk, so as to protect his identity. While Ghana is not a country in which you see civil wars or for the most part, anything that friends and family in Canada are always afraid I will encounter, he is very brave for what he is doing. If I recall, he works primarily in Ghana, but also works in other countries nearby. Hmm …writing about this makes me wish I could have the network to watch the talk all over again!
Piloting Postdevelopment may not work directly with those facing censorship or threats, let alone violence. We do, however, work with youth whose voices have been silenced by development workers, voluntourists and missionaries. Well-meaning foreigners, who come in, improve their CV’s, make themselves feel better about themselves, then go back home. Return to their cushy lives in Canada, the States, Europe, wherever. Many write about their experiences in Ghana, for the most part, reinforcing the same dualistic stereotypes that were created during colonization. When Ghanaians are given a voice, it is still the westerner who is speaking for them. I have only once found a blog whose stories by Ghanaians were actually written by Ghanaians, or else were interviews (she used both). Interestingly, these stories reeked of the same stereotypes so often perpetuated in volunteer/missionary blogs.
Through Piloting Postdevelopment, I will give youth the chance to Raise Their Voices, my website being the platform. There will be no violence, threats (I am a pacifist, so that would be a bit hypocritical 😉 ), or censorship – even if I do not agree with what they say, it is their words and not mine; at the worst, I may help them with writing, but only in terms of grammar and style. There are many issues in every country, but as foreigners, we need to stop telling Ghanaians how to do things, instead empowering them to speak up about the change they wish to see, create movements and move towards the change that is most necessary for those living that reality!
Where do you come in?
For one, you can encourage youth in your life to Raise Their Voices against injustices and to ensure their life paths affect positive change
Further, you can send me a message to be part of my mailing list, like my facebook page, or even subscribe to my channel (I do not post there often yet, but am hoping to get some stuff up associated with the program …as well as more songs)
Most importantly, you can support Piloting Postdevelopment through a donation. This will help us maintain the program over time!