Meet Iddrisu Asitanga Anabi

Through his striking photography, Iddrisu Asitanga Anabi has illustrated the importance he places on education.

Many Ghanaian farmers like Iddrisu Asitanga want nothing more than to earn enough money to send their children to school.

In partnership with the Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana, we are making this a reality through mobile phone technology.

Iddrisu Asitanga’s story is part of our photo exhibition, My Home, My Farm, which will be exhibited at Kahaila café in Brick Lane, London, from Thursday 2 April until Tuesday 5 May.

The MyPharm project

In Ghana, one of the major problems smallholder farmers face is a lack of industry knowledge to inform them when selling their crops.

But thanks to this project, the farmers receive this information regularly to their mobile phones.

Farmers can now work out the best price to sell their produce at, rather than unknowingly underselling them to middlemen.

And to document the crop growing progress, we partnered with PhotoVoice to give the farmers cameras and photography training.

Giving children an education

Thanks to a higher sales return from their produce, 99.5% of the farmers involved are earning more money. These higher earnings have given many parents the opportunity to send their children to school.

‘It is important for every parent to give their child a good education. This is my son ready to go to school.’ © Iddrisu Asitanga Anabi

When we began receiving images from the farmers for the My Home, My Farm exhibition, the photograph above stood out as one of the most moving portrayals of Ghanaian life.

As photo-monitors, the farmers were asked to record what is important to them.

Iddrisu Asitanga’s simple portrait of a boy in his school uniform represents a shared value all of us around the world believe: that education is essential early on in our lives.

‘As a result of the price information provided, I now have better prices for my produce. I can now pay my children’s school fees and renew my family health insurance.’ Ben Adigi, Farmer, Ecological Peasant Farmers’ Association.

People power

Taking action and building lobbying skills are important aspects of the MyPharm project.

Iddrisu Asitanga’s photographs articulate that education is a privilege for his people in Ghana. His photography takes us on a journey.

We learn that earning enough to give your child an education is only half the battle — if there is no local school to send them to.

But a photo of a seemingly banal building (below) is actually a symbol of positive change and community success.

‘This kindergarten building was built using community labour. It is not a block building — it is built with mud in the local way. Thanks to the work to build this most of us in the community have had our children educated here. We told the government we needed a school but they didn't help, but when we started building this they came and supported, providing the roof. The teachers are government teachers.’ © Iddrisu Asitanga Anabi

When Asitanga’s community told the government they needed a school, they were unwilling to help. So instead, they worked together and started building the school themselves.

At this point, the government recognised that they needed assistance and provided them with a roof.

Photography and mobile phone technology alike are modes of communication that put power back into the hands of the people.

‘Most schools in northern Ghana do not have playgrounds and children climb trees or play in dangerous, dirty places. Thanks to the community initiative, this roundabout is here by the school for children to enjoy.’ © Iddrisu Asitanga Anabi

A voice for future farmers

Since 2012, our aim has been to support the deepening of democratic governance in Ghana.

By getting the farmers’ children into education, we hope for a future where men and women who are usually marginalised in their society have a voice and the ability to speak out on issues of all levels.

The MyPharm project has not only armed the farmers with market information, but also the confidence to share their views through photography.

Iddrisu Asitanga’s son and other children like him will grow and learn in a community of inspiring spokespeople.

We are looking to a future of empowered Ghanaian farmers who are part of the decision-making that affects their lives, who will demand accountability from their government.

My Home, My Farm will be exhibited in Brick Lane at Kahaila café from Thursday 2 April until Tuesday 5 May. Find out more about the exhibition here.

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