United States (US) Peace Corps Volunteers have been commended for their immense contributions to improving the sanitation practices and agricultural production at Kuldanali and Pishigu in the Savelugu and Karaga Assemblies in the Northern Region.
Some members of the Kuldanali and Pishigu communities told the GNA on Monday that the arrival of Peace Corps Volunteers in their communities in 2016 marked the beginning of an end to their sanitation challenges, as well as revolutionised their agricultural production activities.
The GNA interacted with some members of the communities to learn about the impact of the activities of the US Peace Corps Volunteers in their communities as the US Peace Corps marked the 60th anniversary of its operations in Ghana today, March 1, 2021.
In 2016, when Christopher Hill, a Peace Corps Volunteer, arrived at Kuldanali for his two-year duty tour, it was observed that residents’ behaviour towards health and sanitation was not the best.
They practised open defecation and many adults and children in the area frequently suffered from typhoid and diarrhea.
He quickly moved into action and implemented behaviour change communication strategies, educating the people on why they needed to stop open defecation.
Through a grant from the US Government and labour from community people, he constructed 40 household latrines for the people.
Susan Macgrathan, another Peace Corps Volunteer, also came from 2018 to 2020 and continued what Christopher Hill started and helped in the provision of good drinking water to the area.
Through their activities, in 2019, the Kundanali community was declared open defecation free as most of the households now owned household latrines, and their children became free from diarrhea.
Susan Macgrathan also worked to instil a savings culture amongst residents, who are farmers, by introducing them to the Village Savings and Loans Association concept, which they (farmers) embraced and now made savings and took loans from their savings to expand their agricultural businesses.
At Pishigu, two Peace Corps Volunteers, Micky Sobir and Corner West, came from 2016 to 2018, and 2018 to 2020 respectively and implemented behaviour change communication strategies in the area, and with grants from the US Government, they replaced broken solar panels of mechanised boreholes to improve water supply in the area, and also constructed 170 household latrines for the people.
Mr Kwabena Adeti, who was a contact person between the Kuldanali community and the Peace Corps Volunteers in the area, said even though the US Peace Corps Volunteers had long completed their duty tour in the community, the lessons they imparted to members of the community continued to live with them, which reflected in the way they approached sanitation practices in the community.
Mr Yakubu Zakaria Tia, contact person between the Pishigu community and Peace Corps Volunteers, said even though Pishigu was not yet declared open defecation free, the contribution of Peace Corps Volunteers had greatly helped to improve sanitation practices in the area.
The Peace Corps is an independent agency and volunteer programme run by the US Government to provide International social and economic development assistance to underserved communities.
Ghana received her first US Peace Corps Volunteers on March 1, 1961 when the then US President, John F. Kennedy dispatched 23 young Americans to render dedicated services in the areas of health, agriculture, community development, education and business orientation.
So far, more than 5,000 US Peace Corps Volunteers have since been posted to the country to further strengthen the bond of friendship between the US and Ghana as they work together to improve conditions in various sectors of the country, impacting lives and building local economies among others.