Nutrition Officer for the Resiliency in Northern Ghana (RING) project
You were invited to participate in a conference on global women’s health earlier this year. How was it?
I was 1 of 13 people from 12 countries invited by the U.S Department of State to participate in their International Visitor Leadership Program on “Global Women’s Health” in the U.S., which was a real honor! I met people who work on women’s health at universities, clinics, and research centers around the world. Over the course of 3 weeks, we learned about a variety of initiatives that were improving women’s health, and talked about our experiences. The conference made me hopeful for the future of women and thankful to be with an organization like JSI that is contributing to this change.
You have been at JSI for a year. What is your role and what does it entail?
I am a nutrition officer for the Resiliency in Northern Ghana (RING) project based in Tamale, Ghana. RING is a five-year USAID-funded project (2014- 2019) under the Feed the Future initiative, and one of the few USAID projects globally that gives funds directly to the host government—in this case to the district-level. The project is led by Global Communities as the prime, with technical assistance from JSI and Urban Institute as subcontractors. The project focuses on contributing to the Government of Ghana’s efforts to sustainably reduce poverty and improve the nutritional status of vulnerable populations through a multisector approach.
The RING project has three main components: agriculture and livelihoods; nutrition and water, sanitation, and hygiene; and governance. I concentrate on reducing malnutrition in women and children. With that comes responsibility for planning the budget and making sure that high-quality programs are implemented. I spend about 80 percent of my time in the field working with government counterparts and community members on activities to build health worker capacity to prevent and treat malnutrition, and promoting improved nutrition behaviors at the household level.
“I truly believe that if everyone had good nutrition, health-related issues that plague the world would be reduced by 40 percent.”
What persuaded you to pursue public health and specifically nutrition?
I enjoy working with children and women and am passionate about nutrition. Previously, I was a district nutrition officer within the Ghana Health Services working to help reduce malnutrition in women. Following that role, I was ready for something new, but wanted to continue helping others have a healthy lifestyle. I truly believe that if everyone had good nutrition, health-related issues that plague the world would be reduced by 40 percent.
What is the most challenging part about your job?
The most challenging part about my job is not being able to see results instantly. It is challenging for people to see the importance of maintaining proper nutrition because improvements are gradual. However, I am sure that within the next 2 or 3 years, results will show that the work we are doing is playing an incredibly important role in reducing malnutrition in women and children in the northern part of Ghana and Ghana at large.