The Ghana Grand
This August, some members of GDDA-UK had the amazing oppourtunity to meet the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Iaian Walker, at his residence in Accra just after he completed the Ghana grand. Have a look below to find out more about the Ghana Grand, and why he loves our country so much.
In August, I plan to cycle just over 1,000km from the north to the south of Ghana – “#TheGhanaGrand”. Rather than see the country out of the window of an aeroplane or a 4*4, I hope to meet people in their own communities – hearing different voices, having different conversations - whilst travelling the country on my bicycle.
The Ghana Grand is inspired by a genuine desire to effect positive change. I hope to meet many of the partners and friends the UK has worked with over many years and hopefully establish some new ones. This event is designed to focus on three things:
Health. As Ghana continues its journey to self-reliance, health and wellbeing are crucial for empowerment. The UK has long partnered with Ghana in this domain and our medical experts have trained in each other’s’ hospitals. I hope to meet with many of these people who are doing extraordinary things each day to support the health and wellbeing of others. Cycling is my own example of taking responsibility for healthy lifestyle choice; I hope to provoke conversations about other approaches.
Tourism and the Natural Environment. Ghana is a beautiful, friendly, vibrant country with amazing people doing great things. Its warmth matched by the people’s welcoming nature. During this trip, I plan to celebrate what unites the UK and Ghana: people, heritage, food, culture, music, scenery and get ahead of the challenges: plastics, forest reserves and climate change.
Overcoming challenges. I want to challenge myself by cycling 1000km+ from the north to south of Ghana: I am not a professional cyclist. I want to engage others to confront what they think to be impossible and prove themselves wrong. Or indeed to join me on the last day of the cycle.
As the plan has developed, the “challenge” part has become increasingly clear! With this in mind, I hope to raise some sponsorship for the Plastic Surgery & Burns Unit (PBSU) at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. There are 400,000 deaths per year from malaria and 300,000 deaths from burns but a huge difference in the associated investment and education. 44% of burns-related deaths are as a result of gas explosions at home from gas canisters.
PBSU is a centre of excellence in the region and across Africa. As well as Accra, they have a small unit in Kumasi have conducted outreach missions recently in Wa and Tamale.
As well as raising awareness of these issues during the cycle, 100% of the proceeds raised for the Ghana Grand will go directly to this cause.
I want to tell the positive story of Ghana. This trip presents an opportunity to make a difference through our actions as well as our words.