Thursday, August 23, 2012

NDC’s Internal Conflict Is Threat To Peace – Scribe Reveals

Alhaji Yusif Umar
The Northern Regional Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Alhaji Yusif Umar has confessed that there was growing concern among the leadership of the party as a result of intra-party conflict constantly perpetuated by the youth which in a way, was posing threat to the peace in the area.

According to him, the political conflict often perpetuated by the youth of the NDC as well as other opposition parties, was now becoming a thing of the past as conflict within the NDC itself was rather becoming worrisome to the party’s hierarchy from the National to the Constituency level.

Speaking at the launch of a non-violence project by the Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA) in Tamale where he together with other opposition political leaders jointly pledged their commitment and support towards peaceful elections in 2012, Alhaji Umar cited such current developments as unhealthy for the country’s democracy.

He maintained that the youth of the NDC were now constantly attacking leaders of the party anytime they suspected anything fishy without having the patience to seek explanation from them (leaders) and called on stakeholders to help deal with the problem.

The Northern Regional Secretary of the NDC further cited another worrying trend, which is religious intolerance among some sects in the region. He described as unfortunate the recent clash between two Islamic sects in Tamale (Tijania and Alhu Sunna) just after the Ramadan period which nearly escalated into another violent conflict.   

The non-violence project of FOSDA dubbed “Ballots not Bullets” was introduced by the non-governmental organization in Ghana’s 2004 elections and has since been used in elections in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Togo, according to Executive Director, Ms. Afi Yakubu. 

She explained that, the project intended to bring together an estimated 200 young people from 16 organized youth groups to work with security personnel, political party representatives, and peace advocates to plan a range of activities designed to stop violent disruptions before they happen. 

Participants in the project would among other things map out locations of potential conflict, identify sources of agitation, develop contacts in all sectors of the communities and monitor early warning signals of conflicts before, during and after the 2012 elections, she said, adding “FOSDA will work with youth groups in seven flash points in the three regions of Northern Ghana. They include Tamale Central, Gushiegu, Yendi, Paga, Navrongo, Bawku and Wa.”

The Executive Director of FOSDA called on the President of the Republic, John Dramani Mahama, to stay committed to his pledge for peace during his recent address to the nation and come out with comprehensive and practical solution to the suffocating level of youth unemployment which is one of the causes of election-related violence in the country.

Ms. Afi Yakubu further urged leaders of the various political parties to lead in the journey of peace and discipline their members when they use hate speeches and incite violence.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

350 Thousand Dollars To Boost Guinea Fowl Production In The North

Guinea fowls
GHANA IS estimated to produce over 100 million Guinea Fowls annually in three years to come as the nation receives about 350,000 dollars from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations to support Guinea Fowl production in the three  regions of the North – Upper West, Upper East and Northern.
The Project dubbed: “Enhanced Guinea Fowl Production in the three Northern Regions of Ghana” is under the government’s Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Development Strategy (AAGDS and the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II), which is aimed at improving food security, human welfare and the reduction of poverty in Ghana.
The three year project which is being implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the International Centre for Enterprise and Sustainable Development (ICED), is expected to increase the production of Guinea Fowls from the current 30 million birds annually to 100 million in the next three years.
Speaking at a three day capacity building training programme for Guinea Fowl farmers, Processors and Agricultural Extension Officers of MoFA drawn from 22 communities in the three regions, the Assistant Programme Officer of FAO-Ghana, Mr. Godwin Phylix Cudjoe indicated that the project was designed to strengthen farmers and the MoFA officials’ capacity in adopting modern Guinea Fowl production techniques.
He said that, it was also aimed at increasing access to local and international markets for Guinea Fowls and generating sustainable employment and income-earning opportunities for the local population.
Mr. Cudjoe noted that as part of the project, three demonstration and breeding centres (hatcheries) are being established at Pong-Tamale in the Northern region, Paga in the Upper East region and Babile in the Upper West region (almost complete) to enhance the production of guinea fowl.
He said that the breeding and demonstration centres would be equipped with the necessary hatchery equipment including; incubators, watering and feeding troughs, feed drugs and vaccines, improved housing and sanitation, disease prevention and control and the centres are also stocked with 2,500 high laying egg efficiency peal with exotic Guinea fowl keets each.
Grilled Guinea fowl for consumption
A total of 1,650 farmers are expected to benefit from the project, according to Mr. Cudjoe.
The National Project Coordinator of the Enhanced Guinea Fowl Production in Northern Ghana, Samuel Yaw Apiiga said that the FAO and its partners had chosen the three Northern Regions for the project because of their peculiar poverty situation.  
According to him, Guinea Fowl was the favourite meat for thousands of Ghanaians due to its nutritional value and low fats level.
Unfortunately, the demand for guinea fowl in Ghana is very high but supply continues to decrease on daily basis. So far, the production or supply of guinea fowl in Ghana is over 60% below demand from consumers.
Dr. Franklin Avornyo, a Consultant to the Enhanced Guinea Fowl project from the Animal Research Institute of the CSRI, Nyankpala Station said that research had shown that farmers sometimes record over 90% deaths in Guinea Fowl production.
He said that the demand for Guinea Fowl in the Northern regions was three times higher than production or supply.
However, the Project according to Prof Emmanuel Boon, Executive Director of International Centre for Enterprise and Sustainable Development (ICED) had introduced modern Guinea Fowl production equipment and exotic breeds to arrest the high mortality associated with guinea fowl production.
Encouraging the youth to go into guinea fowl production and become self-reliant, Prof Boon expressed the hope that the beneficiary farmers and their households would see drastic economic transformation in their lives, should the project succeed.

Monday, August 13, 2012

PWDs In Nanumba South Receive Share Of Common Fund

Sixty–one Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in the Nanumba South District of the Northern Region of Ghana have been given a total of GH¢41,198.00 as their share of the Common Fund. 

The District Chief Executive for the area, Alhaji Amidu Seidu presenting cheques to the beneficiaries at Wulensi, the District Capital, admonished them to invest the funds into the areas that their proposals were developed on. 

He said if they said they wanted to use the money for farming, businesses among others, they should use it to buy equipment and machines that would facilitate their work so that they did not rely on anybody in the society. 

Alhaji Seidu stated that the money given to PWDs in the district was an ample demonstration of the government’s commitment to ensure that all sectors of the society benefitted from their share of the national cake. 

The DCE commended the District Management Team of the Disability Fund for ensuring that prospective beneficiaries had their applications properly scrutinized before they were considered.

He advised them to step up more registration exercises so as to identify all physically challenged persons in the district. This, he said would improve their conditions as disability did not mean inability. 

Alhaji Seidu appealed to the District Management Team of the Disability Fund to ensure that proper guidelines were developed to facilitate the disbursement of the 2 per cent share of District Assembly Common Fund which PWDs were entitled to. 

The DCE thus pleaded with those that had not yet received theirs to be a little patient as their share would soon come. 

The District’s Chairman of the PWDs, Mr. Solomon Azumah thanked the Assembly and the government for coming to their aid and promised that the funds would be used for their intended purposes.

Govt Urged To Support Farmers To Increase Yam Production

Yam producers and sellers
Yam Farmers in the Nanumba South District of the Northern Region of Ghana have called for government’s intervention to help improve the production of the crop in the area.

About 80% of the entire population of the Northern Region is engaged in agriculture – mostly producing to feed their families while some are sold in the local market to cater for other needs at home. This is probably due to the fact that, a considerable amount of the total land area of the region estimated to be 70,383 square kilometers, is fertile for agricultural purposes.

For instance, in 2010 the region produced 110,430 metric tons of maize, rice 62,930, millet 50,290, sorghum 59,370, cassava 83,910 and yam 117,810, (Ghana, MoFA Report). 

However, about 13 percent and 35 percent of the entire population is food insecure and likely food insecure respectively, according to a World Food Programme report in June 2011. Besides, an estimated 60% of the population lives on less than US$1.00 a day, a clear description of a society plagued by abject poverty and hunger in this 21st Century.

According to the yam farmers, the improvement of yam seeds would enhance production and also address the low incomes and food insecurity in the Northern sector of the country. 

This came up at a sensitization forum organized by the Wulensi Young Farmers’ League Cooperative Association (WYFLCA), with support from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC) for its members at Wulensi to discuss a research work done by BUSAC.  

The consultant of the Project, Alhaji Nashiru Kadri appealed to Root and Tubers Improvement and Marketing Programme (RTIMP) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to complement the efforts of farmers through training to enable them adopt best practices in the food value chain and also open up market opportunities for their products to reduce food insecurity, poverty and hunger in the region and Ghana as a whole. 

The research revealed that about 62 per cent of men and 38 per cent of women who engaged in yam production in the district could not get access to improved yam seeds to produce more for both local and foreign markets. 

Mr. Kadri also called on agricultural experts to devise appropriate measures to check post-harvest losses through proper storage in order to mop up excess produce from all farmers. He said it was only through that way that farmers would have guaranteed incomes and have their livelihoods improved. 

The BUSAC Consultant also announced that BUSAC would be offering credit facilities to farmers and those engaged in the marketing of crops to build up their capital base that would enable them expand their production to better their lots.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Waste Menace in Tamale: Will It End Without The Involvement Of Faith Groups, CSOs?

A waste dump site left unattended to for many months
Waste and sanitation management everywhere in the world including Ghana is capital intensive. Not even in developed countries where its management is driven by hi-tech, aside having proper disposal sites and being able to maintain them.   

This notwithstanding, when there is the will and sincere show of commitment by all citizens including faith groups and civil society organizations (CSOs), waste management in densely populated areas could culminate into wealth creation through the generation of natural gas for domestic use and organic manure for the fertilization of farmlands that would benefit a whole lot of people, and perhaps generations to come.

Indeed, this could best be described as one of the best or surest means of fighting climate change and desertification which result from overdependence on fuel wood, indiscriminate felling of trees, bad farming practices, charcoal production, among others.

Unfortunately in Ghana, one of the most promising nations in Sub-Sahara Africa, weak waste and sanitation management laws are not helping the situation. This, coupled with the laid-back attitude of faith-based groups and CSOs in providing support, is further bloating annual government expenditure under the nose of political leadership who also seem not to be taking the right decisions to deal with the gargantuan sanitation and waste problems. This has made it difficult if not impossible, for the nation’s leadership to meet certain critical development needs the ordinary citizens are yearning for. 

It cost the government of Ghana US$290 million or GH¢420 million representing 1.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product each year due to poor sanitation, according to a study by the World Bank's Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP). 

The desk study, Economic Impacts of Poor Sanitation in Africa - Ghana, found that the majority (74 percent) of these costs come from the annual premature deaths of 19,000 Ghanaians from diarrheal diseases, including 5,100 children under the age of 5, nearly 90 percent of which is directly attributable to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene. Health-related costs account for nearly 19 percent of the total economic costs, while access time and productivity losses account for about 7 percent. The study also found 4.8 million Ghanaians have no latrine at all and defecate in the open, and that the poorest quintile is 22 times more likely to practice open defecation than the richest.

A bird's eye view of Tamale township
Tamale, the fastest growing city in West Africa in recent years, is gradually emerging as a slum despite being adjudged the cleanest city in Ghana on three occasions. This is because, waste and sanitation management has taken a partisan dimension and further made worse by supporters of both the NPP and NDC who have decided to align themselves with either divides of the Dagbon chieftaincy dispute, thereby making many people feign interest in taking part in communal cleanup exercises over the years out of mere resentments.

For instance, during the Administration of NPP’s Mohammed Amin Adam Anta as Mayor of Tamale, most NDC members deliberately refused to take part in general cleanup exercises. The reverse is happening now under the current Administration of Alhaji Abudulai Haruna Friday of the ruling NDC who finds it difficult to rally support from most residents of the city. Thus, the Assembly continue to spend not less than GH¢900,000.00 annually on sanitation and waste management alone, according to an official in the waste management department who wants to remain anonymous.

Also, there are inadequate drainage systems or gutters in over 50 percent of the entire Metropolis which is the cause of life threatening floods in recent years. This has also led to serious erosions thereby making most of the areas dirty and considered as emerging slums.

Cleanliness, the two Holy Books (Bible and Qur’an) say, is next to godliness. But surprisingly, in a largely religious community like Tamale where Christians and Muslims are taught to observe cleanliness in their daily lives and also consider it a spiritual obligation, it is so appalling to see choked reeking gutters and incinerators in almost every corner of nearly all vicinities in the city. 

Few examples of vicinities considered by this writer as the dirtiest places in the Metropolis include Tishegu/Ward K, Kalpohini/Sangani, Kukuo, Duanayili, Changli, Gumani, Jisonaayili, Kanvilli, Vitting, Dabokpa, Koblimahagu, Sakasaka, Nyohini, Lamashegu, Gumbihini, Gurugu, Tamale Polytechnic, Choggu, Bulpiela, Zogbeli, Nyanshegu, among others.

In fact, most of these settlements are turning into slums by the day due to poor planning of buildings and erosion as well as poor waste and sanitation management. When walking through houses in these vicinities, one needs to be very careful or risk stepping into human excreta disposed off carelessly by residents. Majority of residents in Tamale wantonly and inanely dispose-off garbage and defecate anyhow and anywhere they find; be it in the gutters/drainage systems, trenches, nearby bushes or shrubs during the day or night time. 

Communal bathrooms in almost all the homes in Tamale do not have properly built incinerators for water intake and for that matter; waste water is discharged carelessly into walkways running through various homes. Besides, almost all rooms in every home have a bathroom where tenants who prefer to bath inside their rooms instead of the communal bathroom, also discharge the sewage anyhow without recourse to cleanliness. For these residents, not even the frequent treatment of malaria and other insect or water borne diseases, can tell them that it is as a result of their bad attitude towards sanitation that is why they fall sick so often and for that matter must adopt good sanitary practices.  

picture of a typical slum
Indeed, the filthy situation in the Tamale Metropolis can be attributed to the lack of spirit of volunteerism or communalism among majority of residents. As a result, this is gradually eroding the successes chalked in recent years by authorities of the Assembly. In AD 2005, the Tamale Metropolis was adjudged the cleanest city in Ghana. Three years after that honor (AD 2008) was bestowed on it by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) also rated the city again as the cleanest in Ghana. The Metropolis capped this accolade for the third time in AD 2010, with another award from Zoomlion Ghana Limited as the cleanest city.

Assembly Members and their Unit Committees, who are supposed to promote development initiatives in their localities on behalf of the Assembly, simply cannot mobilize their people to de-silt choked gutters or incinerators and cleanup filth due to petty resentments among the people. Anytime they make the move, the youth will accuse them of collecting money from the Assembly as contract awarded on the cleaning of the gutters and therefore, will not toil for nothing.      

This is where one would think that religious organizations (churches/mosques), must step in immediately to regularly and consistently organize their members to embark on cleanup exercises to tidy up the dirty environs of Tamale as a demonstration of what they preach on their pulpits on Fridays and Sundays or any other day. This is because, when state institutions such as the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly begin to show symptoms of failure by not enforcing the laws or finding it difficult to do so, it is highly anticipated that the clergy who serve as a bridge between society and God, would ask for ‘spiritual cleansing’ on behalf of their people (leading their members in a crusade against the volumes of waste engulfing the city through cleanup exercises). 

Moreover, if members of the about one thousand churches and mosques in the Tamale Metropolis including thousands of traders, dressmakers, beauticians, sachet water producers, among others engage in a monthly cleanup exercise, the Assembly might just end up spending half of what it spends annually on waste and sanitation and the rest channeled into other development projects if only authorities do not lineup their pockets with it. 

So, if you are a true believer of the Holy Bible or Qur’an both of which preach cleanliness, then stop defecating in gutters, littering the environment and get involve in communal labour in your vicinity. Also, if you belong to any group of traders or business association and has the Tamale Metropolis at heart, this is the time for you to join hands together as true patriots and get rid of all disease causing agents in every nook and cranny.

N/R Records 70 Maternal Deaths In First Half Of 2012

The latest statistics released by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has indicated that the Northern Region continuous to record higher maternal mortality rates, a development that perhaps is confirming that the entire nation is still far away from achieving the Millennium Development Goals four and five (MDGs 4 and 5) by 2015.

Adopted by world leaders in the year 2000 and set to be achieved by 2015, the MDGs provide concrete, numerical benchmarks for tackling extreme poverty in its many dimensions such as poverty and hunger, universal basic education, gender equity, child health, maternal health, HIV/AIDS, environmental sustainability and global partnership. The MDGs 4 and 5 actually aims at reducing by two-thirds the ratio of under-five mortality rate and reducing by three-quarters the maternal mortality ratio by 2015. 

Official statistics released to the media by the Northern Regional Health Directorate of the GHS at a press briefing, showed that between January and July 30, 2012, the Northern Region recorded 70 maternal deaths, out of which 65 were institutional and 5 being community deaths. Also, out of the 5 community deaths, 2 came from the East Mamprusi, 2 from Chereponi and 1 from Nanumba South Districts.

Out of a total of 53 institutional maternal deaths, 7 occurred in January, 12 in February and 10 in March; 9 deaths occurred in April, 10 deaths recorded in May, 9 recorded in June and 8 recorded as at 28th July 2012. 

Besides, out of a total of 65 institutional maternal deaths, 32 (49.2%) deaths occurred within the Tamale Metropolis, 6 (9.2%) from Yendi, 5 (7.7%) from West Mamprusi, 4 (6.2%) from Bole and Gushegu Districts, 3 (4.6%) from East Mamprusi, 2 (3.8%) each from Zabzugu-Tatale, East Gonja, Tolon Kumbungu and Savelugu-Nanton Districts. Chereponi, Karaga and Saboba Districts recorded 1(1.9%) death each.

Also, out of a total of 65 institutional maternal deaths, 31 (47.7%) came from the Tamale Teaching Hospital, 6 (9.2%) from Yendi Government Hospital, 5 (7.7%) from Walewale Government Hospital, 4 (6.2%) from Bole Government Hospital, 3 (4.6%) each from Gushegu Government Hospital and Baptist Medical Centre, 2 (3.1%) each from Zabzugu Government Hospital, Salaga Government Hospital, Kings Medical Centre and Savelugu-Nanton Government Hospital. Nyohini, Chereponi Polyclinic, Karaga Polyclinic, Katani CHPS and Saboba Medical Centre recorded 1 (1.5%) each. 

Moreover, out of a total of 65 maternal deaths, 56 (86.2%) were Anti-Natal Care attendants, 7 (10.8%) never attended ANC and 2 (3.1%) ANC history was unknown. Out of a total of 65 maternal deaths recorded, the majority of 56 (86.2%) occurred between the ages of 20-34 years, followed by 6 (9.2%) for the age groups 35+ years, 3 (4.6%) for 15-19 years. However, the age groups for 10-14 years did not record any death. 

Furthermore, out of a total of 65 deaths, 36 (55.4%) occurred after delivery and 29 (44.6%) died with the pregnancies. 12 (18.5%) out of the 65 maternal deaths were caused by haemorrhage, 10 (15.4%) were caused by eclampsia and anaemia, 5 (7.7%) were caused by sepsis and 3 (4.6%) were caused by unsafe abortion, 2 (3.1%) due to pulmonary embolism, ruptured uterus, sickle cell crisis and pneumonia.

Statistics available also showed that the practice of family planning in the region was 26% in 2008, 28.8% in 2009 and 24.3% in 2010. According to the Public Health Unit of the GHS, a total of 5,764 men in the region were practicing family planning in 2008, whiles in 2009, the figure rose to 10,717 men. In 2010, there was a decline in the number, from over 10,000 to a little over 8,500, which is an indication that less number of men were practicing family planning in that year.

Consequently, there is growing uncontrolled child-bearing and bad sexual habits among the people of the region most especially adults or married couples. According to the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS), only 6% of married women in the region between 15 and 49 years used contraceptives. This, coupled with strong sexual desire among adolescents was further contributing to more teenage pregnancies which could have been avoided through the use of condoms and other forms of contraceptives.

Besides, the number of children between the ages of 1 and 15 constituted about 47% of the total population of the whole region, and about 23% of young girls between ages 12 and 19 were already mothers or were pregnant. Currently, the average number of children per every single woman in the region is 6.8% representing about 7 children per woman as against the maximum national figure of 4 children per woman, according to the GDHS.

Also, in 2011, 130 women died during child birth in the region, 88 in 2010, 96 in 2009, 91 in 2008 and 115 in 2007, according to the GHS. So, as the deadline (2015) for the achievement of the MDGs 4 and 5 targets approaches, the situation becomes more worrying to all stakeholders in the health sector. 

Health authorities in the Northern Region have attributed the acute cases of maternal and infant mortality rates to the drastic reduction in the number of midwives and other critical health personnel coupled with bad roads network among others.

Dr. Akwasi Twumasi
The Northern Regional Health Director, Dr. Akwasi Twumasi told journalists that series of measures had been put in place to avert maternal and infant mortality rates in the region, citing for instance the inauguration of five polyclinics in five districts last year and posting of four doctors to man them.  

Donors, he said, had also provided logistics to the GHS to shore up some of the obsolete and overburdened ones still being used in some of the facilities in the area. Besides, the first batch of midwives from the Tamale Nursing and Midwifery Training College would be graduating this year whereas a new midwifery training school would also be starting in the Gusheigu and Kpembe in the East Gonja Districts respectively.

Dr. Twumasi disclosed that by the end of 2012, Northern Region would have had 60 new midwives posted to all the district hospitals as well as other health institutions providing critical health care to the people.

The Northern Regional Health Director commended United Nations Population Fund, World Health Organisation and United Nations Children Fund for their unflinching support in the area of health delivery in the region. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Female Workers In Tamale Losing Jobs Due To Maternity Leave

Savannahnews has learned that several female workers in both the public and private sectors in the Tamale Metropolis, often lose their jobs after going on maternity leave, following their inability to manage their work and the children at the same time.
Nursing mothers under the labour law are often given only three month maternity leave to cater for their little children, after which they are supposed to return to their normal duties. But the period seems to be too short for these nursing mothers as they still carry the burden of commuting to and from their offices to breastfeed their kids at home.
The blogger further learned that due to the difficulties these women go through in taking care of their kids, most of them are often compelled to stop work after child delivery to enable them to take care of their children which also affects their economic situations.
The few others who show little care in taking care of their kids and rather concentrate on their jobs sometimes end up having problems with their husbands, who preferred them to rather take care of the kids.
Unlike traders and other self-employed mothers who always get time to take care of their little kids and, breastfeed them anytime they want, the parents among the working population in the Tamale Metropolis see child bearing as good but unbearable.
One Madam Vida Afriyie, a Banker in the Tamale Metropolis told Savannahnews that she was once asked to continue to stay home by her former Boss after giving birth to her first child and could not return to work so immediately, because the child used to fall sick regularly.
“Surprisingly my husband was happy that I lost that job because for him I would be able to take care of our child. But fortunately for me, my husband heard that there was a new school established in Tamale called Cambridge Garden Academy trying to assist working parents to have a place for their kids in between working hours. By then my child was almost five months but they admitted her”.
 However, when Savannahnews visited the Cambridge Garden Academy, which serves as the only private school especially established to provide comfort to parents who are workers, it was discovered that the school indeed offers some sigh relief to parents.
At the moment, close to three hundred working parents have their wards at Cambridge Garden Academy. The school admits kids from three month and takes care of them from 6 am till 5:30 pm when their parents have closed from work.
During vacations, the school also takes care of kids whose parents have special arrangement with them. At the time of our visit the Cambridge Garden Academy was carrying its 5th Graduation ceremony to promote those at the Kindergarten to Class one.
It was surprising how some of the kids advocated for peace in election 2012 through poetry recitals, an indication that they are also on top of their academic performance.
Some parents who have their kids at the Cambridge Garden Academy including Madam Mariam Adam Kadri, Mr. Alhassan Ahmed Dauda and Mrs. Harriet Abban-Appiah who spoke with this blogger unanimously hailed the authorities of the school for coming with such wonderful vision to support parents in the upbringing of their kids.
Mrs. Harriet Abban-Appiah who said she brought her first child to the school when she was less than five months could not quantify the comfort the school has brought to her. “At first it was not easy for me taking care of my child and going to work. But when I brought her to this school they told me I should not bother to come during break to breastfeed her, because they have all the food complements so I became very happy, because apart from saving the money I was using for taxis, I also saw the baby was growing well and easily learnt how to speak”.
The Proprietor of Cambridge Garden Academy, Mr. Paul Bugri Kazussah in an interview with Savannahnews said that the school since its establishment in 2006 had provided safe, comfortable and hygienic environment for the excellent upbringing of the children.
He said the school had been able to support parents who continue to keep faith with them, and that presently all the parents who have their wards in the school feel so comfortable at work.
The Proprietor however complained about the inadequate infrastructure which was compelling the school authorities to deprive other working parents of admission for their kids.
But the Chairman of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of the School, Mr. Christopher Dahamani assured the public of immediate expansion in the infrastructure of the school since they had already acquired a large piece of land.
He also called on parents to invest much in their children to become responsible adults in future.

NGOs Sensitise Residents Of Wurishei On Mental Illness

As part of the implementation of a three-year European Commission sponsored project on mental illness by BasicNeeds-Ghana and its partner non-governmental organizations (NGOs), a drama has been staged at Wurishei, a suburb of the Tamale Metropolis aimed at sensitising residents on the effects of mental problems and also urged them to hold political leaders accountable of their stewardship.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the community drama, BasicNeeds’ Project Coordinator, Dokurugu Adam Yahaya, said the drama was intended to expose issues on mental illness and its effect on development to community members and other stakeholders.

Mr. Dokurugu explained that, actors in the play attempted to use the case of a Member of Parliament who campaigned on issues affecting vulnerable groups in his Constituency and promised to assist them when voted into office, but eventually reneged on his promise. 

The play according to him, tried to let the MP and other duty-bearers at the District Assembly level to understand the plight of vulnerable people including persons with mental illness and epilepsy and use their share of the Common Fund to empower them in order to attain total development.

In Ghana, the majority of people who should determine and benefit from development processes are rather among those most excluded in development efforts. This has resulted in the type of development pursued not addressing the real needs of the poorest and most vulnerable groups such as men and women with mental illness or epilepsy and their care-givers as well as peasant farmers. 

Thus, the European Commission is supporting four Ghanaian local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) through BasicNeeds-Ghana and they include Gub-Katimali Society; Zuuri Organic Vegetable Farmers Association; Centre for People’s Empowerment and Rights Initiatives; and Mental Health Society of Ghana (MEHSOG) to implement the three-year project spanning from 13th October, 2011 to 12th October, 2014.

The project is intended to contribute to ensuring people-centered development that meets the needs and aspirations of the majority of the population, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.

With an estimated amount of 471, 029 Euros of which 90% (423,926 Euros) is funded by the European Commission, the project would target 20 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the three Regions of the North – Upper West, Upper East and Northern as well as the Greater Accra Region. The 20 MMDAs include Central Gonja, East Mamprusi, Bunkprugu-Yunyoo, Nanumba South, Tamale Metropolis, Bawku West, Builsa, Wa, Lambussie-Karni, Ayawaso Sub-metro, Okaikoi Sub-metro, Ashiedu-Keteke Sub-metro and Ablekum Sub-metro areas.

Dubbed “Promoting an Inclusive and Empowered Civil Society to advance Socio-Economic and Political Development in Ghana”, the project aimed to build an inclusive and empowered civil society well aware of their needs and rights, including existing and contemplated public policies and programmes and increase their debate and, lobby and advocate in their favour.

The lack of meaningful consultation on public policy formulation and dissemination of policies, have mostly led to the exclusion of the needs of most vulnerable groups and communities. This could be attributed to infrastructural and financial constraints, stigma and the failure to harness the mass media especially local radio stations in dissemination of government policy formulation and implementation.

This project, therefore, aimed to reverse the aforesaid situation in the target districts by contributing to increasing awareness and capacities of Community Based Organisations (CBOs) of men and women with mental illness or epilepsy (PWIME), men and women with disabilities (PWDs), women, youth and farmer groups to influence policy planning and implementation.

Sheik Abdul-Kareem
According to Sheik Yakubu Abdul-Kareem, Executive Director of Gubkatimali Society, organisers of the community drama, policy makers at the local level have had their capacity built to enable them to effectively respond to the demands of vulnerable groups and ensure their needs were met by incorporating them in the Districts Medium Term Development Plans (DMTPs) and the implementation of other relevant policies.  

About one hundred CBOs comprising of 20 Self-Help Groups (SHGs) of PWIME and their primary carers; 20 other districts and region-based DPOs; 20 women’s groups; 20 youth groups; 20 vocational/trade-skills development associations; altogether with a total of 3200 individual participants were targeted. 

Other targets of the project include 100 frontline staff from 20 MMDAs; 40 Members of Parliament from the target project areas; 240 members of 4 regional alliances for Mental Health and Development. Besides, an estimated 16,000 people from the 20 MMDAs across the four regions made up of the 3,200 direct participants and an estimated 12,800 families and communities would benefit from this project.

It is expected that by the end of the project, best practices for engaging disadvantaged civil society groups would have been well documented, widely disseminated and adopted or adapted.

Also, 20 SHGs of PWIME, 20 community-based women, 20 disability, 20 youth and 20 farmer groups would effectively participate in decision-making processes; and the 20 MMDAs in the target regions effectively respond to mental health and other social development issues to improve quality of life of the poorest and most vulnerable people, their families and communities.

Moreover, regional networks of local NGOs and MDAs would have been strengthened to advocate as an effective alliance for Mental Health Development.