Prosperity Update

News and stories from Global Mamas

Workshops for Financial and Physical Health

By Sæunn Gísladóttir

This week the Mamas and staff at our Cape Coast office received two short-term volunteers from Chicago, Ellen Rogin and Terri Winters. Ellen is the New York Times bestselling author of Picture your Prosperity, a book that offers a motivational plan for women who want to take control of their financial planning, and Terri is a registered nurse. The two held workshops in their areas of expertise, working with the group to create inspirational “Prosperity Pictures,” examining Cash Flow Management, and assisting with breast cancer screenings.

 

Terri (left) with Patience, Global Mamas People Development Manager (middle), and Ellen (right).  

Ellen led the workshop participants in creating their “Prosperity Pictures.” These boards are visualizations of where the women aspire to be five years now. After searching through magazines for their desired images, the Mamas shared their collages with the rest of the group and discussed how they were feeling, using adjectives like “excited” and “happy”, expressing confidence that in time they can achieve their dreams. Ellen emphasized the importance of how your attitude has a direct impact on what shows up in your life.

 

Workshop participants are pictured here, enjoying some music while searching for images they’d like to include on their Prosperity Pictures.

The Cash Flow workshop was also very popular. Ellen led the workshop which involved improving performance by imagining it. She shared financial planning techniques from her book then went over the Mamas’ business cash flow. She asked workshop participants to work on a spending plan (writing down everything they spend), and to save 10% of their income to achieve their long term goals for themselves and their families.

Ellen further encouraged positive thinking. Towards the end of the workshop she praised Global Mamas for the impact the NGO is making and pointed out that today there are more women opening businesses in Ghana than men.

In addition to providing training for financial “health” and well-being, Terri facilitated education on breast cancer screenings, in which 32 Mamas and employees participated.  The screenings involved a manual examination also utilized a newly developed screening using a breast cancer detection device.

Workshop participants pose happily with their Prosperity Pictures after the workshop.

 

Thanks so much to Terri and Ellen for sharing their expertise and contributing to the financial and physical health of our community! We love having volunteers share their skill sets with us in Ghana! 

 

Cape Coast Diabetes Education and Prevention Workshop

Patience Treve, People Development Manager

In our continued effort to present more trainings and workshops related to health issues that are important to the Mamas, our Cape Coast office hosted a diabetes workshop and screening on April 20th, 2016. Chief Dr. Justice Arthur from the District Hospital led the screening, which served 40 Mamas and 9 of our quality control staff.

During the workshop, Dr. Arthur described diabetes as a complex disease with a variety of causes. The attendees were informed that those with diabetes have high blood glucose and that it is a disorder of metabolism—the way the body uses digested food for energy. He also said diabetes develops when the body doesn’t make enough insulin or is not able to use insulin effectively, or both.

Dr. Arthur explained the roles of insulin, the pancreas, and beta cells in the bodies’ ability to process glucose. He covered the different types of diabetes, focusing on type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. The attendees also learned about the complications of diabetes, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, dental disease, and amputations. This greater understanding of both the causes of the disease and its implications was an eye opening experience for the Mamas.

After the talk, all of the attendees were screened and informed of their health status. Those that had any indications of diabetes were advised by Dr. Arthur to exercise more, eat plenty of vegetables, and avoid eating late in the evening. All of those who attended felt that the information shared was very beneficial and that having the screening was great resource. Patience, People Development Manager in Cape Coast, said of the workshop: “All the mamas now know their sugar level so they have moved from sweets things to fruits and yoga exercises as it will protect the body from sicknesses.” Health workshops like these are an important element of the Global Mamas mission of achieving prosperity and we hope to continue and expand them in the future.

Prosperity Means Improving our Health

Eryn Greaney, Peace Corps Volunteer

Part of being a fair trade organization is ongoing dialogue with the Mamas about how they’re doing, not only in their work lives, but in their personal lives, too. In 2013, we heard from Mamas that they wanted support for living healthier lifestyles. Since then, Global Mamas has been working to support the Mamas’ health. We’ve provided training on avoiding ebola and cholera, hosted a yoga instructor to introduce the Mamas to yoga, and introduced a health education program.

I’m a Peace Corps volunteer helping Global Mamas meet the “health” part of its mission to provide prosperity through financial well-being, health, and happiness. I’ve been working with managers at our sites throughout Ghana to bring the Mamas healthy living programming.

Reproductive Health

Reproductive health is essential to family planning and women’s health, but reliable information and services can be difficult to access in Ghana. We’ve partnered with established NGOs to bring accurate information to Mamas and answer their questions.

At our Ashaiman, Cape Coast and Krobo sites, we’ve completed reproductive health programs guided by Marie Stopes International, a global NGO providing services to women around the world. Some Mamas have chosen to begin family planning methods, which is available free of charge.

Pregnancy

Family is important in Ghana and pregnancy is an exciting, celebratory time for many Mamas. Because it is sometimes difficult to access health care, it can also be a confusing time. We hold regular discussions on pregnancy to help Mamas know what to expect throughout their pregnancies and how to keep themselves and their developing baby healthy.

Exercise

Exercise in Ghana usually comes in the form of walking and hard work. However, stretching is something that benefits everyone, especially Mamas who are involved in the physically demanding tasks of sewing, batiking, beadmaking and assembling beaded products. I created a fun 10 minute workout video for the Mamas in Krobo. I’m no Jillian Michaels, but the women seem to love it!

 

 

 Hygiene

Another challenging aspect of women’s health is feminine hygiene. Menstrual products are often too expensive for many women in Ghana to afford, so many women use rags or other materials. We invited Days for Girls, an NGO that provides reusable cloth pad kits to women worldwide who struggle to access these products. In Krobo, 60 Mamas and their friends and family members received kits and we want to bring Days for Girls to Ashaiman and Cape Coast as well. We also celebrated Global Handwashing Day on October 15 with hand washing activities and discussions.  

 

Yoga Mamas

Amanda Bartolini and Emma Shearman, interns

At the end of 2013, we asked Mamas for feedback on how we could further help them achieve prosperity. They were especially enthusiastic of learning more about their health, which is an important part of our definition of prosperity. After bringing health education intern Adrienne last spring, we brought an introduction to yoga to the Krobo and Cape Coast Mamas this summer. Canadian volunteer Jane Good, a yoga instructor, taught the Mamas how to relieve the physical stress of the repetitive motions they make while batiking, sewing, or assembling beaded products. Jane’s specialty is Kripalu, a style of yoga that focuses on moving at one’s own pace. It is a gentle practice with a compassionate approach and emphasis on meditation and physical healing.

 

Upon arriving in Cape Coast, Jane found that yoga was new to the women there. To simplify the learning process, Jane created a 12-posture routine based on the Mamas’ unique needs. She started by introducing the idea at a large meeting in the Cape Coast office and was pleased by the Mamas’ enthusiasm. Jane also travelled to the Mamas’ individual workshops and homes while continuing to work with groups of Mamas at the Cape Coast office.

In order to leave a long-term tool to help Mamas alleviate discomfort from repetitive strain, Jane and her niece Emma created a video that can be used by Mamas in the future. To create the video, Emma and Jane visited Krobo to film the bead assemblers and quality control staff performing the different yoga poses they’d learned.

The video, set to Bob Marley songs, includes written and voice instruction. In addition to the video, Jane created a worksheet with drawings and written instructions for each pose shown in the video.

The Mamas who participated in the yoga routines have assured Jane that they practice every day and are feeling better. Jane taught the Mamas her philosophy of seeing yoga as a gift that you give yourself and left the Mamas with the advice to “take care of their bodies the same way they take care of their families and workshops.” 

Knowledge is Power: Ebola & Cholera Awareness Workshops

By The Global Mamas Family

Over the summer, as we received more and more news about the Ebola virus in West Africa, it became clear that we would benefit from knowing the facts about Ebola. Our training team quickly responded by pulling together a workshop and discussion program utilizing materials from the World Health Organization. In August, trainings were held in Ashaiman, Cape Coast and Krobo for all staff and Mamas.

The focus of the training was to provide us with the facts of the situation, dispelling some of the myths, and to allow all of us to share our fears. We thoroughly discussed how each of us can reduce the chances of transmission for both Ebola and Cholera (which is the major health challenge in Ghana right now) and protect our families. We also received a handout with factual information that we could share with our families and communities.

We remain grateful that Ebola has not made its way to Ghana and we pray every day for the safety of the children, women and men throughout West Africa.

 

Announcing Our New Health Education Program for Mamas

By Amelia Brandt, volunteer

Adrienne1

In late 2013, we heard from Mamas that they were especially interested in learning more about their health —an important part of our definition of prosperity. With this feedback in mind, we recruited Adrienne McConnell, a New Mexico native studying for a master’s in community health education, to intern at our Cape Coast location.

Adrienne’s Mama-centered approach began with meeting the women and understanding their health challenges. Mamas shared that they were most interested in learning about nutrition, breast cancer, menopause, and communicable diseases, particularly Hepatitis B and HIV.

Adrienne collaborated closely with Cape Coast office manager Patience and Mama liaison Anna Rose to tackle nutrition first, via a workshop addressing local foods that would resonate with Mamas. Patience and Adrienne also forged a partnership with a nutritionist from the University of Cape Coast, Rebecca, to give the presentation in Fante, the local language used in Cape Coast.  

In mid-April, Rebecca presented on nutrition to Cape Coast’s 40 Mamas and quality control staff members and, with Adrienne’s help, answered many questions from the audience. The Mamas greatly appreciated the lesson; as quality control employee Esther shared, “I was really happy to see the presentation and I learned a lot of new things.” As a part of the workshop, Rebecca and Adrienne distributed handouts about nutrition for women to take home and share with their families and friends. While in Cape Coast, Adrienne also shared her nutrition lesson with two friends of Global Mamas: Judith, a souvenir shop owner and former Global Mamas producer, and Eli, an owner of a small restaurant near the Cape Coast volunteer house.

In late April, Mamas at our Ashaiman location also heard Adrienne’s nutrition presentation. With inventory control manager Dorcas providing translation support to the local language of Twi, Adrienne and the Mamas created a food pyramid based on typical Ghanaian foods for a practical lesson in healthy eating.

Besides nutrition, Adrienne also taught classes about breast cancer and menopause to Mamas in Ashaiman, Krobo, and Cape Coast. With this new program in place, Global Mamas plans to continue health workshops and build relationships with local experts and NGOs to address Mamas’ priority health concerns.

Free Health Workshop for Cape Coast Producers

By Heather Boyd and Melanie Popowich

A health care professional from Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana providing screenings for interested producers in Cape Coast

Through the use of Global Mamas' annual surveys and interviews we became aware that health issues are a constant concern among the women. In response, Global Mamas decided to put together a Health Workshop presented by Dr. Justice Arthur, from the Cape Coast District Hospital. More than 30 women attended this workshop.

 

During the workshop, the Global Mamas were informed about the main illnesses that affect women, their risk factors and the importance of early detection. The women were told important facts, such as that 80% of the new cases of cervical cancer occur in developing countries; therefore the women were informed of prevention, symptoms, as well as how cervical cancer is diagnosed. Dr. Arthur also shared valuable information with the women, such as when and how to perform a self-breast examine, and what signs to look for during the exam; he also informed the women that it is crucial to visit a physician or qualified health care provider as soon as possible because early detection and diagnosis are crucial.

 

Throughout the presentation the women were very participative and asked many questions. After the workshop the women reported to Patience (the Capacity Building and Marketing Manager) that the workshop "enlightened them on how to manage their health".

 

About a month after Dr. Justice Arthur's workshop a team of medical staff from Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana came to Global Mamas' office in Cape Coast, and administered exams, screenings and vaccinations. Many women took advantage of this opportunity to understand and find out about the state of their health.

 

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