A large happy group of Ghanian coconut farmers. Many mothers wearing their babies in ergonomic baby carriers produced locally in colorful african fabrics.

Babywearing education in Western Ghana

Mission to promote bonding and babywearing education in Western Ghana:

African woman breastfeeding infant in ergonomic baby carrier at a babywearing education event in Western Ghana

On 4/12/18,  Happy Baby sent a team to the Western Region of Ghana. Led by Bismark, they carried out an babywearing education trip to the Jomoro District. Their intent was to educate and disperse 100 Happy Baby carriers to families working in the coconut farms. Our partner, Palmers Middle East generously sponsored the production of the distributed carriers.

Over 250 members of the Coconut Farmer’s Association attended our event. Also appearing were the Chief’s representatives, elders of the community, and a representative of the Jomoro parliament. Four health workers (midwives and registered nurses) were also present.

More than 150 mothers came, with babies aging from four months to two years!

Village elders (seated) and the Happy Baby team

Major activities:

Welcome address and participants’ expectation:

First of all, the team received a warm welcome by the Chairman of the Association. He represents over 3,500 members. The Chairman expressed feelings of joy from seeing our project introduced, similarly he called it a privilege to be the first to benefit in the region. Next, the Happy Baby team was led to pay homage to the chief and elders. They introduced themselves and explained the purpose of the trip to his palace, as demanded by tradition.

The team talked about the expectations of the participants which included;

  • learn how to use the ergonomic baby carriers
  • be able to explain the benefits of the babywearing
    African woman wearing grenn shirt from behind carries child on back in traditional wrap, child's head unsupprted.

    Traditional babywearing method doesn’t provide neck support

  • take home a Happy Baby carrier

One on one interviews:

We asked pregnant and nursing mothers (and some fathers as well) to share their experiences in babywearing. The mothers were between 22 – 43 years old, having worked an average of 6 years in the coconut industry. They all have used the traditional babywearing method of tying a cloth around their back. We came across one exceptional case of a mother who carries her baby in the front, without tying, due to a surgery after birthing.

The participants shared some of the challenges they encounter through the traditional method of carrying babies:

  •   the child’s neck lacks proper support when sleeping and at times results in    neck dislocation
  •   the cloth can get loose and, in some events, falls off
  •   some also said they normally experience lower back pains

Overview of the Baby carrier project:

Bismark took the participants through a vivid presentation of the Happy Baby project! Our educational program is focused on facilitating the bonding process in families.  One way is through the use of an affordable, ergonomic carrier. They can be inexpensively produced in low-income communities with local materials. The Happy Baby Carrier is embraced by both mothers and fathers. As a result, our project creates a vital improvement in the traditional baby carrying method.

African woman in orange dress carries an infant in an orange ergonomic baby carrier holding a white parasol next to blue chairs

Local mother wearing a Happy Baby carrier

Our teaching centers on the five essential benefits of the baby carrier:

  • Interaction
  • Family Bonding
  • Breastfeeding
  • Front and Back Positions
  • Comfort

Practical demonstration on how to use the carriers per the various age categories:

After the overview of the project and its benefits, we demonstrated how to use the carrier. This varies based on the age of their child. Afterwards, we invited some parents to demonstrate the use of the carrier. As a result, most were able to put it on without difficulty. By the second try they had it mastered!

Distribution of carriers

Over 13 different communities came together for our event! The number of parents was greater than the amount of baby carriers available!   Hence we carried out the distribution through a random selection process. First we selected six from each community, followed by a random selection from communities represented by more than 20 parents in attendance. Next, we are planning return in the summer to follow up with those who received a carrier.

African man in brightly colored shirt hands baby carrier to African mother carrying child to his right.

Bismark distributes a carrier donated by Palmers to a coconut farming mother.

Additionally, the team had brief discussion on how much the local people could afford to spend on a locally produced carrier. We determined that the average market price of GHC 15.00 to GHC 20.00 ($3.25 – $4.50 USD)  is what a rural family in the region can afford.

Final words 

In his final remarks, the chairman of the Coconut Farmer’s Association thanked all the organizations and people who made the program a reality.  Most of all, a special thanks went out to PALMER’S COCOA BUTTER FORMULA who graciously supported the production of the donated carriers.

Happy Baby would also like to thank our Uganda Project Leader Josephine for the production of these carriers as well as the organization 100% For The Children. Their efforts made this successful distribution possible.