During my recent trip to West Africa, I visited three of the campuses of the University for Development Studies in Ghana. My first stop was its hot and dry headquarters near Tamale, where the Director, Gordana Kranjac-Berisaljevic, told me exactly how, since 1992, UDS has been helping the rural poor of northern Ghana. Their range of projects is remarkable: from setting up and running agrobusinesses to recycling plastics, from building dams to spreading literacy through theatrical performances, from preserving water resources to educating parents about the value of keeping their children in school.
The next morning we drove to Nyampala, a nearby village around which the Faculty of Agriculture has been built. On the roadside, women carrying trays of mangoes on their heads were faintly visible through the crimson clouds of dust whipped up by long-gone lorries. Roaming the green and floral campus were sheep and cattle belonging to UDS’s farm, meat factory and animal science department. Solar panels and rows of organic crops indicated UDS’s commitment to environmentalism.
There was just time for me to go on a walking safari of Mole National Park, which comprises 5,000 sq km of beguiling savanna. Of the 93 mammal species resident there, I was able to get bizarrely close to elephants, water buffalo, bushbucks, baboons and patas monkeys.
We drove out of Mole along the jagged dirt road as the sun went down and the rain began to thrash the car. We almost got stuck in the mud several times, but eventually made it to Wa, perhaps the least-developed city in all Ghana. The Dean-in-Charge of that campus, Professor Bacho, told me that, while UDS has ‘a lot of links with Canadian, US, German, Dutch and Asian universities, Britain hasn’t shown much interest.’ For that reason, Professor Bacho cordially invites more British students to come to Ghana and work with UDS.
Gordana Kranjac-Berisaljevic: email@example.com
Mole National Park: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographs by C.A.R.
(Originally published on http://www.bgtw.org/)