BasicNeeds-Ghana, a Non-governmental Organisation based in Tamale has supported 150 persons stabilized from mental illness or epilepsy in the Savelugu Municipality to venture into vegetable production as part of its vegetable gardening project.
This is to enable the beneficiaries become productive in their community and society as well as enhance their well-being.
The beneficiaries were drawn from six communities including; Zaazi, Bihinaayili, Nyoglo, Dinga, Sug-Tampia and Libga.
They cultivate vegetables including; okro, kenaf, ‘alefu’ and ‘Ayoyo’.
Mr Stanislaus Azuure Sandow, the Project Officer at BasicNeeds-Ghana gave the details in an interview with journalists during a field trip to one of the project sites in Zaazi, a community in the Savelugu Municipality.
The project, funded by the UNDP Adaptation Fund, is dubbed “BasicNeeds-Ghana Promoting Gardening for Improved Mental Health Outcomes and Productivity in Northern Ghana project”.
The project, seeks to provide good gardening practices to mental health service users to help increase their nutrition and income earning capacities through dry season gardening.
The beneficiaries were resourced with vegetable seeds, water pumping machines, garden tools and equipment to enable them become productive in society.
Mr Sandow said the One-year community based alternative likelihood project, which would end in May this year, had resourced a total of 150 primary beneficiaries made up of women, men, and youth with mental illness or epilepsy and their care givers.
He said the beneficiaries were supervised by the organization’s Volunteer Gardeners on daily basis, who equipped them on the required vegetable gardening knowledge, skills and competencies to enhance productivity and good yield.
He said the intervention was to create public awareness that people with mental illness could be productive to society.
Later in an interview with some of the beneficiaries, Madam Hannah Abdulai, a 25 year old woman with epilepsy, said the intervention from BasicNeeds-Ghana and its funding partners had empowered and given her hope to support her family.
“At first, I was finding it difficult to support my husband, like giving my child money to go to school, but with the support from BasicNeeds-Ghana, I get about GHC 50 every two weeks from selling my vegetables from the garden to support my child to go to school ” she said.
Mr Adam Abdullai, a caregiver to his 10 year old son who is epileptic, said before the project, they had challenges with getting the vegetable seedlings, difficulty in drawing water for irrigation as well as preventing animals from grazing on their vegetables, but through the project they curbed these challenges.
He lauded the project, saying it had helped to improve on his family’s living conditions including; feeding and buying medicines to cater for his child’s welfare, and urged BasicNeeds-Ghana to do more to help others in similar conditions.