URBANET has partnered with World University Service of Canada (WUSC) on their Uniterra program, which aims to build the capacity of local partner organizations through volunteer cooperation and knowledge exchange. URBANET has hosted two Uniterra volunteers thus far. Uniterra is a joint program of WUSC and the Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI), both Canadian organizations that work in volunteer cooperation and international development. The program focuses on improving socio-economic conditions of marginalized and poor communities, particularly by stimulating inclusive economic growth in key subsectors, through supporting local partner organizations.
WUSC’s vision for inclusive economic development falls in line with URBANET’s core values: A focus on building capacities in communities, with a particular emphasis on supporting women and youth. In Ghana, WUSC works in the agriculture (livestock and legumes) and residential construction subsectors, the former of which directly complements URBANET’s work in securing food and nutrition in northern Ghana.
In particular, URBANET hosted a volunteer for three months this past summer (May-July 2017) and helped facilitate research on the guinea fowl value chain, organized by WUSC and the University of Development Studies. Due to local demand, guinea fowl have been identified as a potential avenue to increase income and overall livelihood of farmers in northern Ghana. However, there is difficulty connecting local farmers to the value chain, which would allow for increased economic benefits, thus necessitating the need for further research into the guinea fowl value chain. As well, another volunteer has been tasked with following up on the research, and identifying opportunities, challenges, gaps and linkages in the guinea fowl value chain, over the next eight months (September 2017-April 2018).
Uniterra volunteers also lend institutional support to URBANET, allowing the organization to increase their capacity to carry out their goal of supporting smallholder farmers, women and youth, increasing food security and ensuring environmental sustainability.