Ghana welcomes BHEARD Mali to Accra

posted on November 16, 2016 10:52am

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Malian scholars pose with Ghana in-country coordinator Saviour Badohu (front row, center) under the statue of Kwame Nkrumah. The site commemorates where Nkrumah announced Ghana’s independence in 1957. (Photo by Karen Duca)

Nine students from Mali began their graduate training under BHEARD this year at the University of Ghana, Legon, and KNUST (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology).

In early August, BHEARD Ghana in-country coordinator Mr. Saviour Badohu gave them a warm welcome to his country and provided some critical soft skills training, which is very much in keeping with the BHEARD philosophy of holistic personal and professional development.

The three-day program started with an educational trip to the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park where the students learned about Ghana and its first president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. This excursion, which ended at the Cultural Centre, offered them an excellent opportunity to learn about the history of Ghana while practicing their English skills after a four-month intensive English course at Legon’s ESL learning center.

A retreat was held on day two at the Erata Hotel close to campus. The students learned about the BHEARD vision from Dr. Karen Duca of USAID/Washington and then completed hands-on activities related to their personal vision, preparation for grad school, effective study skills, and cultivating a growth mind-set.

The workshop was crowned with a final trip to the Biomedical Engineering Department at U. of Ghana. The students were given a tour by department chair, Prof. Elvis Tiburu, who explained how bioengineering students were working with agricultural wastes to strengthen concrete, while agricultural engineers designed more efficient solar dryers.

Prof. Tiburu also described his own research on clays used in ancient artifacts retrieved from archaeological sites in the Komaland of Ghana, a part of the former Timbuktu kingdom. The famous Malian Empire spanned the northern part of Ghana. Old earthen wares belonging to the ancient Malians are now teaching us about the kind of medicinal compounds used hundreds of years ago in West Africa.

Moreover, the clays hold secrets for materials designed for us in the 21st century. The students were delighted to learn about their forefathers who lived in present-day Ghana and perhaps felt just a bit more “at home” knowing that they weren’t the first Malians to call Ghana home.