Grameen Foundation began funding several microfinance institutions in Ghana in 2009 to help expand their reach, especially in rural communities. During that period, we also began working with the Ghana Health Service and other partners, using mobile phones to improve the maternal and neonatal care in rural communities.
That project led to the creation of MOTECH (Mobile Technology for Community Health), a digital platform that is now used in more than 15 countries to improve health. It also spawned a model in which digitally enabled health services provide a continuum of care, from health facilities to community based nurses and volunteers that ensure pregnant women can get the support they need.
We are now applying digital technology to design new solutions for Ghana’s smallholder farmers. More than half of the labor force in Ghana earns income from agriculture, and in the country’s north, about 88 percent of household livelihoods rely on farming. It is also here that food insecurity and hunger are most extreme.
We are piloting a program that engages farmers through multimedia and on-the-ground advisors, increasing their access to agricultural training, finance, and secure markets for their crops. Two hundred advisors work directly with 15,000 farmers, while radio programming and training videos reach more than another 200,000 farmers.