From May 2017 onwards, we tried to make contact with other graduates. Some of the phone numbers were old or no longer in use because most of the earlier graduates attended ARI at a time when personal phones were not common. However, we got six responses from past graduates. A WhatsApp group was created to link up and inform the six graduates about the need to form a Graduate Association in Ghana.
After two months of continuous communication and trying to recruit and convince more people of the need to form the Association, we agreed to have our first meeting on September 5, 2017. We hosted the meeting at the centre of Ghana since the Association involved graduates from ten regions.
The Maiden Meeting
The first meeting was held at the University of Ghana Learning Centre, Kumasi Campus, on Tuesday 5th September, 2017. This was made possible with the help of Rev. George Owusu Ababio, a 2007 graduate. Because of the nature of the training programme, we have graduates in various fields such as: agriculture, education, pastorial work, social work, journalism, health and many other areas.
We also admitted people who have helped us with our work after graduating from ARI. We formed action points to continue to locate all our colleagues wherever they might be in the country.
We also identified administrative activities to undertake to make the Association a formal one. Assignments were given out to some members and time allocated to report back. Interim leadership was put in place to help steer the affairs of the Association. Finally, a date was set for the second meeting and officers who were assigned, came back to give feedback at that meeting.
Second ARIGA-Ghana Meeting
The constitution committee drafted the constitution and came up with the logo, letterhead and other administrative information, as expected. A lead project for Ariga-Ghana was identified - Waste Management the Japan method (Waste segregation and recycling and use of kitchen waste for composting). A three-man sub-committee on the project are to submit reports later to the executive committee. Our achievements included: formed a constitution, procured a registration form to register ARIGA-Ghana as a legal entity in Ghana’s statutory books, elected seven members to the board of National Executives, and drafted a proposal on Waste Disposal and Management to be submitted to the Kumasi Mayor for study and funding.
It is said that a “journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.” Today, the members of our association has increased by leaps and bounds. In addition, the Embassy of Japan is fully aware of what is going on here today because our school authorities wrote and introduced ARIGA Ghana to them for future collaboration. We engaged our consultants to prepare a proposal to use part of the Kumasi Metropolis on a pilot basis for the Japanese waste disposal and management strategy. The executives of ARIGA Ghana, the Mayor and the city authorities will meet and sign an MOU to that effect in due course.
In conclusion Nana Kyei Bafour - Asemhene admonish all of us to think organic, to reduce the incidence of poisoning ourselves as farmers, consumers and the environment as a whole.