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Growing a Grassroots

From left to right, a local farmer, Evans Akanpol, Joseph Abobtey, Taha Tabish and Misbah-ul Haque.

Photo: From left to right, a local farmer, Evans Akanpol, Joseph Abobtey, Taha Tabish and Misbah-ul Haque

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November 30, 2013

It isn’t easy to make a change, whether it be within yourself, the community, the environment or for those in need. It takes dedication, passion and a need to see an improvement for those who need it most. Taha Tabish and Misbah-ul Haque have these qualities.

Taha Tabish and Misbah-ul Haque became a huge part of each other’s lives when they started working to provide change to those in need. They met through their grandmothers, who met at their local Mosque while visiting from Pakistan.

In 2008, Misbah travelled to Ghana with Operation Groundswell, an organization that goes by the motto “backpacking with a purpose.” The knowledge and growth he attained during his travels lit a spark within him.

“The knowledge, the skills … Ghanaians could do things that I couldn’t do!” he said. Upon returning from his trip, Misbah was eager to travel again—and Taha was intrigued to go along.

In 2009, the two set off for Ghana. The trip inspired ideas for how they could meaningfully contribute to communities in need, and small conversations turned into big plans.

“We weren’t trying to come up with a grand idea,” Taha said. “It just happened.”

The two soon became great friends, and in 2010 they registered G-Roots, a not-for-profit organization in Canada and Ghana. Their mission is to help develop communities by instilling sustainable income methods with a focus on sustainable farming and irrigation.

The Canadian team consists of Taha, Misbah, their web developer Yun Sik Shin and the Director of Business Development, Steve Reiss. Evans Akanpol, the Program Coordinator, and Ghanaian Executive Director Joseph Abobtey are both Ghanaian representatives for G-Roots as well as the ambassadors for the Kadema community they work with in the Buliisa region of Northern Ghana.

Joseph had already been doing great things in his community for years before Taha and Misbah contacted him. Taha and Misbah first approached Joseph to discuss what needed the most attention in the region, and he quickly became the liaison between the community and the boys.

“It’s Joe’s baby,” Taha admits when speaking of G-Roots.

Misbah Haque

Misbah Haque working in the field in Ghana.

“Learning on the go” is how the boys describe the experience of creating G-Roots; however, Taha recently finished his Master’s in Public Health and Misbah graduated from York University’s International Development program.

Although the organization is still young, the research and growth that has been seen in Ghana and Canada is enormous. Numerous G-Roots volunteers have traveled to the Buliisa region during July and August over the past couple years to study the land quality and see what the farmers in this region need most. G-Roots aims to instill sustainable solar-based power and products into the community, which will save the farmers a lot of money in the future.

Taha and Misbah have been very fortunate with the help they’ve received from volunteers wanting to support their cause. The Toronto team is in the midst of planning their 100 Days of Change Campaign, a social media-based campaign aimed at raising funds for some of their new sustainable farming strategies such as solar irrigation and livestock while inspiring Toronto to step up and make positive changes in themselves and in their community. Set to launch January 1st, 100 Days of Change Campaign funding will be used to purchase livestock for the community.

Ghana’s dry season will bring many new reports and research for Taha and Misbah to start off the new year with further insight into their sustainable farming project.

 

Action Items:

1) Visit www.g-roots.ca to learn more about the organization and/or to volunteer.

2) Join us to launch the 100 Days of Change Campaign. Visit www.g-roots.ca or www.raineforwater.org for details.

3) Do some research about the country of Ghana.

About the Author(s)

Jazzmine Raine-Lawton

Jazzmine Raine-Lawton is the founder and president of the Raine for Water foundation. She is known for her volunteer work within the community and fundraising contributions to local charities. Jazzmine lives in Toronto and can be reached at Jazzmine@raineforwater.org.

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