In a world where resources are limited and the speed of time is inflexible, we are no exception. These absolute rules also apply to us, limiting us in the influence we can have with the monetary and temporal resources that we possess. Half of the time has already passed and realism has its place. At the schedule level, it becomes very obvious that it will be impossible to realize the whole building before the end of the stay. This observation comes with a lot of very relevant reflections, leading us to think about what we want to leave behind when we go home. The opinion is unanimous, we will strategically cut sections to remain functional and to be able to achieve everything before our departure. Openness and understanding are at the heart of exchanges.

Construction site is progressing !

Let’s be honest, this eventuality has been under consideration for a long time, since well before we left. The unknowns are numerous and so many unexpected events can occur. Before we arrived in Ghana, we only had one building plan and a rough budget estimate. The GCIUS 2018 edition is not the first to face such challenges, where unanticipated expenses and unintended delays impact the progress of the project. Week after week, learning more and more about the reality of the ground, we are at this point.

Hydraform machine

Moreover, this solution remains the best possible. Indeed, we prefer to leave a complete building, but smaller, than an incomplete building with the initial dimensions. Functionality and durability are two assets that we constantly refer to. Discussions are currently taking place with our partners to discuss the best option to consider. After all, the people who will use this place are best placed to reconfigure the building in a way that suits them. At the construction level, the foundations are finished, the manufacture of hydraform blocks is solidly undertaken (About 5000 out of 8000 are done) and the column concreting is started.

Close-up on hydraform blocks

As no exception to the international cooperation reality that requires adaptation and flexibility, the mandate of Laurie, the gender officer, was also reoriented and clarified during the last week. It still involves mobilizing the community and involving women in all aspects of the project, but it is now focusing more on research and data collection to document the absence of women in professional and technical programs, largely dominated by men. The analysis that will emerge from this research will then be shared with our partners, including Tamale Technical University, in order to initiate strategies encouraging women to enroll in these programs and thus promote greater representativeness. Using this reorientation as a source of motivation, Laurie also had the opportunity to meet with a researcher in Tamale Technical University this week who published a study on improving girls’ participation in professional and technical programs. For more information, here is the link to the study: https://ephjournal.com/index.php/er/article/view/379/359

Close-up on a pillar

The only way to know how far we can go is to start walking… and it is when we walk off the path that the richest and most memorable learning experiences are presented to us !

Jordan Laroche and Laurie Bernier-Beaupré