The first training of the Kekeli Women was in 2011. It took place under a large mango tree, although we had to shift around because the ants loved the mango tree as much as we did. We moved from the tree, to an empty elementary school room, to a room at the university. The women participating in the program were skeptical, yet excited. While eager and curious to learn about health promotion and how they could affect positive change in their communities, they did not know us. They were appropriately skeptical of the crew from the U.S. who was there to lead their training and in hindsight perhaps we should have been more skeptical of ourselves.
Together we went through three weeks of training on hygiene, sanitation, family planning, malaria prevention and other public health topics that each woman could then take back to share in her community. At the end, all 17 women graduated with a certificate as a health promoter and returned to their communities as “Kekeli Women”. We all learned a lot in the training. The entire training was translated from English, which was spoken by some of the participants, to Ewe, the local language spoken by all the participants. As you can imagine, this made for long days of teaching for everyone. Jess, Steph, and myself, all nurses, led the teaching. As people not from Ghana, who did not speak the language, this was clearly unideal. We had so much yet to learn about Ghana.
The fourth training of the Kekeli Women took place in August 2021. At the end of the two week training, there were now 71 Kekeli Women! The training took place entirely in Ewe. The leaders of training were the Kekeli Women themselves from the previous 3 cohorts, each taking on a subject of their choosing to teach about. The training was supported by local nurses, the district health directors, and the RHC Team in Ghana. The RHC Ghana Team is now led by Alnice Agbeko, and supported by David Sefe, RHC’s founding Director in Ghana. The group of Kekeli Women continues to boast over a 90% retention rate. The group is engaged, dedicated and passionate about their work.
This is our 10th year as an organization. I could not be more honored to work alongside this group, to have been invited into the homes and lives of our partners in Ghana, and to see where the next ten years takes us.