Follow up: Happy Baby carrier donation, Western Ghana

Happy Baby’s Project Leader Bismark with the Coconut Farmer’s Association Ghana (COFAG)

The mission was carried out within three days, from Wednesday 12th to Friday 14th of December 2018. Earlier in 2018, around 300 Happy Baby carriers were donated through a partnership with Palmers to famers in the region. This mission collected feedback stories and statements from the beneficiaries of the Happy Baby carrier donation.

Mission participants:
Project Coordinator: Bismark Asempapah
Project assistant: Peace Fafali
Video photographer: Kofi Atta Gyesi
Translator: Patrick Ndabiah

On Wednesday afternoon, our team started their journey from Pebi. We arrived in Tikobo No.1 at approximately 5:30 in the evening. We received a friendly welcome from the association and went to rest and prepare for the next day.

An african man in a white t-shirt staples a Happy Baby educational poster about the benefits of babywearing to a pole.
HB Posters were posted at vantage points in Tikobo and Nuba communities.

Activities:

The plan for the next day was meeting with the association executives in the morning and community and home visits during late afternoon.

Meeting with executives and interview with the Director:

COFAG was formed in response to the rate at which farms were being destroyed by the St Paul Wilt Disease. They received Government Recognition in 2015. The association has a current membership of 3,975 coconut farmers and women form most of the standing membership. COFAG operates in three districts within the Western Region thus; Nzema East District, Elembele District and Jomoro District. There are 111 communities within these three districts and the Association is currently operating in 21 communities. Members of the association are not solely coconut farmers but have other engagements such as petty trading and cocoa farming.

Two men and one woman in pink and white Happy Baby t-shirts sit in chairs during an interview about the benefits of ergonomic baby carriers donated in their community
Happy Baby’s Bismark interviews the Director of COFAG, Mr. Patrick Ndabiah

COFAG Director, Mr Patrick Ndabiah, said he had been operating in the Coconut industry for over forty years. He expressed his satisfaction for the Happy Baby Carrier donation and follow up mission to his Association. Mr. Ndabiah was eager to share the stories of the beneficiaries of the carrier distribution in April 2018, made possible through our partnership with Palmers. He also proposed that; there should be regular visits of Happy Baby to his Association if possible.

On the impact of the Happy Baby Carriers:

Three African woman wear their infants in Happy Baby ergonomic baby carriers sewn from african kitenge fabric
Recipients of the Happy Baby Carrier through our partnership with Palmer’s

The director said he had received numerous updates from the beneficiaries who reported the following benefits from the Happy Baby Carrier donation:

• Using the carrier gives more comfort to the child as compared to using the traditional way – cloths. It enables the baby to receive complete support which also gives the mother the comfort to carry out her activities.

• Breastfeeding while carrying out other activities had also been possible. This saves mother’s time by multitasking, which indeed results in increased productive hours. Most beneficiaries confirmed that using the Happy Baby carrier had increased their output over the period.

• Some parents also reported that the use of the carrier is a cost saver. With just one HB carrier, they can use it for different occasions. With traditional cloths, one must always be thinking of changing cloths to match their dress to carry the child.

• Some parents reported that the child stops crying and often falls asleep when they are put into the Happy Baby carrier.

The director, in his final words, said he had witnessed the carrier help the mothers to increase their productivity. He hopes that there will be further collaborations so that more members of his association could benefit from the carriers.

Community visits and interaction with beneficiaries:

A female african farmer works while carrying her baby on her back in a Happy Baby ergonomic carrier. Her husband works alongside bundling palm leaves
The main feedback we received from the coconut farming beneficiaries of Happy Baby carriers was a notable increase in productivity.

Some beneficiaries were ready to speak to us on camera, but some too explained they feel shy on camera. Beneficiaries who spoke to us off camera shared similar stories. The carrier been very helpful to them in their daily activities. One respondent said she had been receiving requests from other parents on where they would also get some of the carriers. Another said she feels very prestigious whenever she is out in the carrier with her baby.

All our respondents confirmed they have been breastfeeding their babies in the Happy Baby carrier at the front position. Some people explained that their husbands also take part in carrying the child using the carrier but not very often.

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