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Regional News of Thursday, 31 July 2003

Source: GNA

Zabzugu - Tatale to benefit from UNICEF sponsored micro-credit scheme

Accra, July 31, GNA - The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has embarked on a micro-credit scheme to help alleviate poverty among vulnerable groups in the Zabzugu-Tatale District.

The scheme a by-product of UNICEF's Integrated Community based Development Fund to be known as GRAMEEN-Ghana Micro-Credit Scheme has the long-term objective of building a solid foundation for the socio-economic and political empowerment of women in particular.

The District Chief Executive, Alhaji Yakubu Bukari who disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency in a telephone interview said the scheme would boost household food production, nutrition and self-employment opportunities for the youth to woo them from the temptation of migrating to the South for menial jobs.

He said the in the first year of implementation the programme would extend a credit scheme to 48 women groups with a membership of 1,300 and a scholarship scheme for 100 pupils.

Alhai Bukari told an orientation meeting organised by the District Assembly for stakeholders of the programme at Zabzugu, the District capital, that the UNICEF's development intervention was in line with the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Government commitment towards wealth creation he said had reflected in the vigorous infrastructural development in the District in the area of roads, education and other social amenities.

Alhai Bukari expressed appreciation at the efforts by the programme to support women adding that women played a vital role in the development of children and society in general hence the need for a concerted effort to support them.

"I am particularly sad about the frustrations women go through, especially in accessing loans from the commercial banks. "These banks demand collateral from women, who do not have anything to offer, yet they are those who need access to micro-finance to enhance the quality of their families."

Dr Singh Bhandari, a UNICEF Consultant, said the micro-credit scheme would check the immoral behaviour often associated with the unemployed youth leading to the spread of AIDS and other venereal diseases.