This week I found out how sheltered you can become spending the crux of your time in urban Accra. I was initially taken aback by the state of Agbogbloshie, especially with how close it is to where we live and work. Agbogbloshie is an urban slum (for lack of a better word) and the center for legal and illegal dumping of electronic waste from around the world.

The living standards were low and the sanitation and water situation were abysmal. But you can't help but feel the positivity and excitement from the children who are excited to learn, play and interact.

Being an economist with USAID is a completely intellectually stimulating job. I get to attend briefings on the economy and constantly discuss inflation and debt-to-GDP ratios. I know the average person would not geek out about this, but its my job and I get to do it for an organization that supports the welfare of impoverished people around the world. The downside is that I spent the crux of my day in business attire chatting with other economists and government officials. Therefore, when the opportunity to see a project site opening in Accra, I jumped at it.

In an effort to reduce vulnerability and HIV risks, increase educational skills, and lessen the effects of poverty from one generation to the next, USAID provided support to the Kayayei Youth Association in Agbogbloshie. The support included refurbishing the day care center to a state that will ensure that the children receive quality education and psycho-social support in a good learning environment.

USAID also provided educational materials, including school supplies and play and learning materials, among other things, to support 150 preschool children's education at the Kayayei Daycare Center. This is to keep the Kayayei children in school to prevent and protect them from becoming street children.

The youngest group of kids were all LJ's age and the fact it was a daycare facility brought it a little too close to home for me. But the smiling faces and the excitement bring hope.

I walked away renewed and ready to continue my good fight to improve the economic situation (or at least improve our understanding of it.)  Sometimes all you need is motivation!

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