Taking the Roads Less Traveled in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana
April 7 - April 13, 2019
7 Days/6 Nights; Trip cost $3,700 per person
From the bustling and vibrant streets of the coastal capital Abidjan, to the lush green forests of the countryside, you will see Cote d'Ivoire as few have. Your next stop is Ghana, where in Accra the colonial-era forts and trading posts serve as a reminder of the by-gone slave trade. This capital city has emerged from its tragic past as a vibrant cultural center that welcomes travelers from around the world.
During our journey, we will visit with the women and families who are changing their lives as members of CARE’s Village Savings & Loan Associations (VSLAs). You will sit with these women and hear their stories, stories that will inspire as you realize the scope of this work that is empowering millions of women throughout West Africa to become income secure.
Day One- Sunday, April 7
Upon landing in Abidjan, you will be greeted by a CARE or hotel representative at the airport to assist with a smooth transition to the hotel. In the afternoon, we will spend the day exploring Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire’s vibrant and bustling capital. Close out your first day in West Africa sharing a Welcome Dinner with the CARE Cote d’Ivoire staff, the experts who are implementing CARE’s life-changing work throughout the country.
Day Two- Monday, April 8
Our day starts with a trip to the CARE Cote d’Ivoire offices for an insider’s look into CARE Cote d’Ivoire’s programming. We then head into the streets of Abidjan starting with a visit to a women’s VSLA group in one of the city’s most populated and diverse neighborhoods, Traechville. This VSLA group includes women of the Christian and Muslim religions, made clear as the meeting opens with prayers from women of both faiths. It is a humbling lesson in how lives can be changed for the better when we accept, respect and celebrate diversity. We will then take a short walk through the streets of Traechville visiting one of the women at her small shop she was able to open with her savings accrued through her VSLA membership. Following this visit, we will spend some time at the famous Traechville market where you can lose yourself in all things Ivorian. The market is a meandering and beautiful display of local artistry and a perfect place to pick up gifts for friends and family.
Day Three- Tuesday, April 9
Having had a taste of urban life, it’s time to head into the lush forests north of the capital. Two stops are on the agenda for our day in the countryside. After first paying a visit to introduce ourselves to the local authorities, we will spend time with a woman who has built an impressive chicken business from the ground up. What started as a small farm with just a few chickens has grown into an operation encompassing several acres and two large coops. Benefits extend well beyond the owner’s personal financial stability as she employs a number of local residents year-round. Moving on, we will make a stop at a local medical clinic where the doctors and nurses are doing the best they can with the little resources they have. It is both a privileged and humbling experience to spend time with people so dedicated to improving the lives of others. As the day winds down, we will leave the forests behind to join the Cote d’Ivoire team for a Closing Dinner.
Day Four- Wednesday, April 10
It’s time to add a new passport stamp to your collection! By evening you will be enjoying dinner with the CARE Ghana team but not before enjoying a fascinating morning exploring the beachfront town of Grand Bassam. Known for its colonial architecture and history as a former capital and key seaport of Cote d’Ivoire, the town was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012.
Day Five- Thursday, April 11
In the morning, we will travel to the CARE Ghana offices for a discussion on CARE Ghana’s programming and implementation process. This discussion will lay the groundwork for our days in the field where you will see and experience first-hand how CARE is delivering lasting change. One of CARE’s most powerful programs underway is the process of linking VLSA members to formal banking institutions. Transitioning from keeping savings in a box to a bank provides increased security for the members and provides additional freedom of funds management as they maintain control over their own money. Sitting with a VSLA group, we will learn how the savings groups are about so much more than financial empowerment. The groups are a social circle where women find community and use the meetings a as platform to learn about gender equity in all walks of life including education, gender based violence, maternal health and so much more.
Day Six- Friday, April 12
Heading into the field, we will spend a day at a fisheries project. This unique business, set up with the support of CARE’s Village Savings & Loan Associations model, results from trainings in small business development, savings, market linkages and conservation. The fisheries have a multiplying effect in terms of not only creating employment opportunities and financial stability but provide families with the safety nets and resources to cover medical expenses and send their children to school. After what is sure to be an inspiring day, we will close out our journey with a Closing Dinner to share stories and highlights as we think about what lies ahead for CARE and the women we reach.
Day Seven- Saturday, April 13 (Optional)
For those feeling the pull of coastal Ghana, join us for a day visiting Elmina Castle, one of the many forts that are a part of Ghana’s colonial past. We will spend the day visiting this centuries old relic and exploring Ghana’s southern shore before evening departures to the US begin.