This page is a collection of the planning & preparatory information that was disseminated before the short-term mission trip to Ghana occurred. For pictures and reports of the actual trip experience, please visit the Trip Highlights page.
Destination: Awaso, Western Region
Awaso is a village located in the Western Region, as shown on this map of Ghana.
The Awaso Affiliate, which serves the Awaso and Asempaneye communities, is located in the Bibiani Constituency of the Bibiani/Anhwiaso/Bekwai District of Ghana.
History of the Awaso Community
Awaso was named after the Awa Stream, which provided drinking water for a group of hunters who discovered the area over one hundred years ago and thought it would be a pleasant place to settle. They founded the village, started a family, and welcomed other members of their families who settled with them. The village has grown at a moderate pace, and today is composed of both the hunters' descendants and other individuals who have settled there with them. Awaso has developed into two adjacent but distinct villages being Awaso and Asempaneye.
History of the Awaso Affiliate
Mr. Ackah Boampong, the Assembly member for Awaso, was inspired by the on-going Habitat for Humanity Housing Project at Subiri and introduced the idea to the community. Representatives of Awaso sent a letter of interest to the Habitat for Humanity Ghana National Office in Accra, who sent Mr. Ato Nyan, National Partner, to educate the community on the Habitat for Humanity Program. The community was them given an opportunity to take steps towards affiliating with the Habitat for Humanity Ghana program.
A series of educational seminars were attended by approximately 70 people, including many from the neighboring community of Asempaneye. In March, 2001 Mr. Ato Nyan was assigned to the Western Region of Ghana to complete the educational programs and assist the Awaso Affiliate in its desire to become approved. The Awaso and Asempaneye communities have welcomed and accepted the program. An Affiliate committee has been elected and the community has successfully completed the construction of its first Habitat for Humanity home.
The Awaso Affiliate has a valid land Agreement letter covering the land on which to build. The land was donated by the chief of Awaso. The size of the land is approximately 200 acres. A copy of the land agreement letter is included in Part 1 of this report. A comprehensive land indenture is being prepared. Site plans and plot layouts have also been prepared.
Topography, Vegetation and Climate
The Awaso area is largely hilly with a few scattered mountains. Wooded tropical forests surround the relatively few mountains.
There are two seasons in Awaso with dry conditions prevailing from November to February and wet conditions prevailing for the remainder of the year. Excessive rainfall often becomes a climatic concern during the afternoons of June/July and September/ October. The climate in the area is predominantly hot, with temperatures ranging between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Annual rainfall amounts are between 55” and 70”. The harmattan wind blows during the hot dry season when hazy, dusty conditions prevail.
Awaso Population, Demographics, Education and Religion
The population of Awaso is 6,588, approximately 3,388 female and 3,200 are male. Awaso is composed primarily of Sefwi inhabitants who speak Sefwi as their mother tongue.
Most Awaso inhabitants are farmers, and there are also approximately 7 carpenters, 10 masons, 30 teachers, and a number of laborers from a local Bauxite Company. Cassava is the primary crop, but maize tomatoes, okra, beans and several other foodstuffs are also grown. The majority of the women are traders. Average income of the people of Awaso is about 270,000 and 450,000 cedis ($30 - $50) per month.
There are ten Primary Schools in the area, five operated by the Government and five private schools, and four Junior Secondary Schools. At least 2/3 of the residents of Awaso have gone to the Junior Secondary School Level, with some of those going to Senior Secondary and even University Level.
The vast majority of the inhabitants of Awaso are Christians. Denominations include Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Pentecost, Methodist, Anglican, Christ Apostolic, Assemblies of God, Church of Christ and Seventh Day Adventist Church. There are also some people of other religions like Islam and African traditional religions.
Health & Safety Information
Fortunately, we are traveling to a relatively safe area. Nonetheless, it is prudent to be aware of some standard precautions that apply to all of our trips. If, after reading the standard precautions, you wish to visit the Centers of Disease Control site, click here to jump to the Ghana page.
Ghana requires an International Certificate of Vaccination for Yellow Fever. See the doctor no later than 3 months before your trip (i.e., by the end of April) to allow time for shots to take effect.
It appears that there are differing opinions on the need for meningitis and typhoid vaccines for short term travelers. The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following vaccines for travelers to West Africa:
- Yellow fever.
- Prescription Antimalarial Drug
- Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
- Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment.
- Meningococcal meningitis, for travel to most of these countries, (though not specifically to Ghana) from December through June.
- Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region.
- As needed, booster doses for tetanus, diphtheria, and measles. Adults who are unvaccinated or unsure of their vaccination status should receive Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine.
Most family physicians do not provide travel immunizations. The following locations in Columbus offer the recommended medicine:
- Franklin County Health Department, 462-3719 or 5960, Sharon Overman or Jane VanFossen. Appointments on Tues & Thurs from 1:30 to 3:30 only. Located in the old COSI Building, 280 E. Broad St. Plan an hour visit, and bring quarters to park on the street. Quoted the least expensive prices.
- Travel & Immigration Clinic, 745 W. State. St., 224-9052. Quoted $165 for Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A & B, and Tetanus vaccinations.
- OSU Thomas Rardin Family Practice, 2231 N. High, 293-2700 (Would not quote prices over telephone.)
Some people are concerned about travel to Africa because of widespread reporting of high rates of HIV/AIDS infection. While this is true for some countries, the rate in Ghana is relatively modest. According to the CIA World Factbook, the prevalence of AIDS in Ghana is 3% which is slightly less than that in the Bahamas. CIA estimates below show that Ghana is ranked 35th in the world.
|Rank||Country||HIV/ AIDS||Rank||Country||HIV/ AIDS|
|7||South Africa||20.1%||91||Serbia & Montenegro||0.2%|
|11||Central African Rep.||12.9%||95||Moldova||0.2%|
|19||Tanzania||7.8%||103||United Arab Emirates||0.2%|
|25||Togo||6.0%||109||Bosnia & Herzegovina||0.1%|
|29||Congo, Dem Rep.||4.9%||113||Germany||0.1%|
|33||Bahamas, The||3.5%||117||Czech Republic||0.1%|
|42||Trinidad & Tobago||2.5%||126||Poland||0.1%|
|48||Gambia, The||1.6%||132||United Kingdom||0.1%|
|62||Papua New Guinea||0.7%||146||Malta||0.1%|