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Study Abroad Students Launch Health and Education Initiative in Ghana

by Connie K. Ho | December 5th, 2011

Africa is a hodgepodge of things. It is a mix of history, culture, peoples, climates, and languages. Brendan Rosen found himself in the midst of it all and embraced it fully. Rosen participated in the University of California’s Education Abroad Program during his third-year of college. After his year-long immersion program at the University of Ghana and volunteering with various nongovernmental organizations, he created an initiative titled the Butre Health Education and Health Cooperative (BEHC) with fellow study abroad student Julie Ghostlaw.

BEHC is an ongoing project that continues the work that Ghostlaw and Rosen finished after three months in 2010. They were inspired to bring awareness to health and education in Butre, encouraging people to have a more sustainable environment for future generations. Butre is a coastal village, located in the western portion of Ghana.

One of the traits that helps BEHC standout is the collaborative efforts among various members of the community. BEHC brought together local governments, international students, volunteers in Ghana, and local residents in Butre. A few tasks of the program included giving out mosquito nets to people in the community of Butre, constructing latrines, constructing a water storage system that could provide clean water, fixing a local bridge that is need of repairs, as well as hosting health education workshops. In their own individual efforts, Ghostlaw and Rosen worked with translators to survey the local residents in Butre and found out that clean water was especially needed, as those in the village began fetching water at four in the morning. The water was used for a variety of tasks including cooking and washing.

Brendan Rosen has since returned to the U.S. and recently received his degree in political sciences from the University of California, Irvine (UCI). He remarked on the communal atmosphere of Ghana and his desire to continue helping people in the U.S. through political activism. He also has hopes to return to Africa one day and continue the work that he and Ghostlaw started with BEHC.

Photos via the Butre Education and Health Cooperative

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