Emily lived in Ghana for the first decade of her life, and I spent a couple weeks there, but most of our customers still ask me where Ghana is (there's no shame in that, by the way). Ghana is in Western Africa, between the Ivory Coast, Togo, and Burkina Faso. It is a beautiful country with beautiful people. So today, we wanted to share a few fast facts about this country that is dear to our hearts and crucial to our organization.
- “Ghana” stands for Warrior King
- Achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1957
- Population: 25,199,609
- Government: Constitutional Democracy
- 10 Geographical Regions (Ashinti, Brong Ahafo, Central, Eastern, Greater Accra, Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Volta and Western)
- Religions: 75% of Ghanaians practice Christianity; 15% practice Islam; Others still practice Traditional Religions
- Over 79 languages spoken (National language is English; top ten languages are Asante, Ewe, Fante, Boron, Dagmomba, Dangme, Dagarte, Akyem, Ga and Akuepem)
- Main currency is the Cedi (Fun fact: the word cedi derives from the African word for cowry shell. The cowry is a small snail that is found in the sea. Originally, the actual shells from the snails were used as currency.)
- Two major sources for foreign exchange: gold and cocoa
- Home to the 9th largest diamond reserve in the world
- Home to the largest open air market in West Africa
- One of Africa’s most peaceful countries according to the Global Peace Index (ranked 54th the world)
- Life expectancy: 57.4 yrs
- Seats held by women in national parliament: 8.3%
- 4 out of 10 women are literate
- 95% of women work in the informal sector and earn 75% less than men (yes, you read that correctly. Women bring home 75% less than men.)
- 22% of married women are in polygynous unions
- 56% of men justify wife beating
The Observations (these might not be quantifiable facts, but they should be...)
- Seat belts are more of a suggestion than a requirement.
- Honking is a friendly beep to remind the cars around you, “I’m here!” Therefore, honking is non-stop. It is completely acceptable to pass within inches of another car, so long as you honk your horn.
- If your car or taxi breaks down on the side of the road, several strangers will stop to help you fix it (or at least make the effort to help you).
- Eating is mostly done with your hands. A bucket of water and a container of dish soap are at the center of most tables (households and restaurants, alike) so you can wash up before your meal.
- Everyone has at least one nice outfit--for church. No matter how poor you are, the attire you adorn on Sunday is ornate, colorful, and well cared for.
- Ghana is an incredible country, full of incredible people. We are blessed to work with such a progressive nation, and hope our work continues to make an impact in the lives of women and their communities.
Until next time,
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