General News of Thursday, 11 August 2005
Kanvilli (N/R), Aug 11, GNA - Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, the Northern Regional Minister, has said uncoordinated efforts among development partners were undermining interventions towards poverty reduction in the country.
"Despite past efforts of development partners to reduce poverty and household food security, there has been no significant improvement in national capacity to address these problems". Alhaji Boniface said this at the Northern Region Poverty Reduction Programme (NORPREP) sensitisation and awareness-raising workshop in Tamale on Wednesday.
Heads of departments, IFAD collaborators, donor agencies, researchers, lecturers from the University for Development Studies and non-governmental organisations attended the workshop. The Regional Minister said the government alone cannot address the problems of poverty and household food security and called on NORPREP to mobilise the private sector agencies and NGOs to support in the fight against poverty.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is funding the programme with 60 million dollars for six years to improve the livelihoods and living conditions of poor rural communities. Emphasis will be on women and other vulnerable groups through the deepening and broadening rural services and community and individual self-help capacity.
The programme will also harness all government, local and external resources for poverty alleviation and coordinate their support through the government's decentralized planning and institutional framework. This will be in line with the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy and the Millennium Development Goals as well as other strategies. Alhaji Boniface called for the judicious use of the funds to benefit the rural poor especially in the areas of capacity building and community development support.
He noted that the mainstay of the people in the region is agriculture and appealed to the implementers of the programme to place emphasis on natural resource management, rural enterprise development, and financial linkage support services to alleviate poverty.
He urged them to be more concerned about rural infrastructure services, education, health, nutrition, water and sanitation as well as the improvement of access roads in deprived communities.
Mr Ahmed Mohammed, Chief Technical Advisor of the programme, said NORPREP would improve access to resources and services, especially to women in the rural communities and introduce operational changes and reforms to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of the institutions and community service providers in the region. He said the programme would also channel extra resources to poorer area councils and most vulnerable people within the communities.