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General News of Tuesday, 7 September 2004

Source: GNA

US Embassy, NGOs sign development agreement

Tamale, Sept 7. GNA - Mrs Mary Carlin Yates, United States Ambassador to Ghana on Monday signed a 27,200-dollar grant to support activities of two local NGOs and one government establishment at a ceremony in Tamale. The grant, provided under the Democracy and Human Rights Fund and Ambassador's Special Self-help Programme would benefit "The Women in Conflict Prevention and Peace Building".

The NGO received 8,000 dollars to enable it to organise workshops to provide skills in peace building for 1,200 women in 45 communities to mediate, negotiate and arbitrate in conflict issues.

The training would enable the women to identify early warning signs of danger and alert people in high positions to avert any potential conflict.

"The Rural Women and Children Development Organisation," which received 10,500 dollars would work with the Commission on Human rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to promote women and children's rights and review all traditional laws and practices that label women as witches. About 700 people would be educated during the programme.

The Navrongo Health Research Centre that benefited from 8,500 dollars would carry out research on the communities' knowledge about the laws concerning Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

In a related development, five institutions and groups also received an 18,300-dollar package to support various projects under the Ambassador's Self-Help Programme to improve their living conditions. The beneficiary institutions were: Bishop Oscar Morin Women's Training Centre, Parent-Teacher Association of Nasiriya Islamic Primary School, Yarigabiisi Amunebiisi Craft Centre, the Northern Needy Services and Community Development and Tiahisuma Women's Group.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mrs Yates said the programme was designed to assist Ghanaians communities that were initiating and planning their own projects.

She said the programme would enable the US Embassy to provide funding to groups, neighbourhoods and villages that were undertaking some self-help projects.

Mrs Yates said maximum grants for this year was 4,500 dollars to encourage projects that would promote individual and community empowerment through increased access to education, health, vocational training and income- generating opportunities.

The US Ambassador announced that between 1990 and 2004 the United States Embassy in Accra had granted more than 1.2 million dollars to fund 300 projects.

She said this year's grant was allocated to nine education projects, seven income-generating projects, three health projects and one environment project.

Mrs Yates said out of the total grant of 60,750 dollars provided, more than one quarter of the funding went to Northern Ghana.