By Barnabas Wepere Awiah
Founder and Executive Director of the Great Initiate Foundation
The 2019 launch of the Movement of Life project in Ghana, and its implementation by the Great Initiate Foundation in partnership with the Dr. Rath Health Foundation, has proven to be a great success for deprived and vulnerable young people. The project targets rural and disadvantaged children through the setting up of a School Health Parliament and a Community Health Parliament.
The central goals of the Movement of Life, in common with the National Nutrition Policy of the Republic of Ghana, are to ensure optimal nutrition and health for all, and to enhance capacity for sustainable development. The Movement of Life complements Ghana’s National Nutrition Policy agenda by working with children in schools and communities to promote change and to inspire sustainable development at the grassroots level, for present and future generations.
The primary aspirations of the Movement of Life, which include the provision of free water, free food, free energy, and free education, have long been pursued by governments and activists around the world. But while some countries have taken a top-down approach in attempting to realize these goals, the Movement of Life seeks to implement a bottom-up approach by working with local communities, providing training, as well as encouraging and inspiring people to embrace initiatives in the areas of health, food, water, energy, knowledge, and work.
The Free Health for All campaign is central to the Movement of Life philosophy and is directed towards the eradication of chronic diseases caused by a long-term deficiency of vitamins, minerals and other essential micronutrients, which fresh, natural, home-grown produce can help to supply.
The Great Initiate Foundation was founded on 1st January 2015, in Tamale, Ghana, principally as a locally based non-governmental organization (NGO) with a mandate to harness sustainable human development in the fight against poverty. Its overall goal is to empower the poor and vulnerable – both individuals and communities – to become self-sufficient and self-reliant. Its strategy is anchored in building capacity, increasing access to knowledge and information resources, and facilitating sustainable linkages and platforms that create such access, particularly for the rural poor and the marginalized,
Since the inception of the Movement of Life in Ghana, the Great Initiate Foundation has piloted the project in one school, St. Monica’s Roman Catholic School, and in one community, Golinga. Both of these are located in the Northern region of the country. In the case of the school, it is the School Health Parliament project that is championing our Movement of Life activities, while in the rural community, the Community Health Parliament drives the agenda.
In the first year of the Great Initiate Foundation’s partnership with the Dr. Rath Health Foundation, a total of 35 children, along with district officers, teachers, chiefs, and elders, have benefited from these initiatives. Today, in the second year of our collaboration, 40 children, as well as community youth leaders, chiefs, elders, imams, and parents, are benefitting.
The successes of the Movement of Life project in Ghana can be seen in the skills acquired by the participants, as well as in improved water sanitation, and in better health. Practical lessons have involved the preparing of nursery beds, creating shallow beds for irrigation, the planting or sowing of seeds, weed and pest control, improving soil fertility using organic methods, and the harvesting and marketing of crops. Children are also involved in the planting of fruit trees, which is central to the Movement of Life’s ‘End Heart Disease: Plant a Fruit Tree’ campaign. A specially produced book, The Secret of Cells, gives children an understanding of the basic principles of Cellular Medicine as a means to achieving optimum health.
What the children say
The children involved at St Monica’s RC Primary School have taken enthusiastically to the Movement of Life project. Here is what some of them have to say:
“I am glad to be a member of our School Health Parliament. I have learnt a lot from our school garden activities, particularly how to create and manage vegetable nurseries.” – Musah Najat
“What I know about cells and how our body functions improved when I had the opportunity to learn from The Secret of Cells. I now have a better understanding of cells.” – Precious Dittoh
“I had no idea that using pesticides, weedicides, and other chemicals could cause health problems. I am going to change that when I grow up.” – Atitono Joshua
The children in the Golinga community are also enthusiastic:
“When I grow up, I want to become a vegetable farmer. My grandfather and my father only farm cereals. I did not know that growing vegetables could be that simple, and also profitable.” – Awudu Laminu
“I love fruit trees because they provide fruits to eat. In the past, I had difficulties getting fruit trees to plant. The Movement of Life has given me three of my favorite fruit trees to plant. I am so glad.” – Mohammed Alhassan
Just as it is in other countries, the Movement of Life project in Ghana is already changing and improving lives!