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Ghanaian workers take social lessons to Africa

A GROUP of youth and community workers from Ghana who visited Plymouth say they are impressed by local decision-making.

The group spent three weeks in Plymouth as part of the Global Xchange programme organised by the British Council and Voluntary Service Overseas.

Their return visit followed a trip to Ghana by 12 Plymouth professionals earlier this year. During their stay, some of the Ghanaian social workers, community workers and youth work professionals spent time with Plymouth Community Homes staff.
Conrad Balig shadowed Agnes Coiffi, a development worker from Plymfed, the independent tenants' federation supported by Plymouth Community Homes.  Mr Balig said: "It's great to see tenants and residents forming groups and coming together to make sure their voice is heard."
There's no such thing as social housing in Ghana, and throughout his three-week return exchange placement Mr Balig spent time with tenants, residents, and young people from the Dreamscheme project in Stonehouse.
Mr Balig said: "We were so impressed how the community is given a voice when it comes to making the big decisions and how the vulnerable are supported when it comes to matters around housing."
Chair of Plymfed, Beryl Austin, said: "The exchange has been a wonderful opportunity to share experiences and culture and different ways of working.
"It is also exciting to think that these relationships will be built on in the future and how we can all benefit from supporting each other, as a tenant and residents federation, we are keen to promote sustainable communities."
Mr Balig presented Mrs Austin, tenants, residents and young people from Stonehouse with pictures and stories from Ghana, following on from Agnes Coiffi being sent to Ghana with pictures and stories made by members of Stonehouse in Plymouth.
Agnes said: "I'm sure the experience is just the beginning of a new friendship and it is inspiring to see what communities themselves can achieve wherever they are, but in particular from learning from each other."