Ghana: Scale-Up Program Makes an Impact

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Update to the Global Board
(October 2008)

Executive Summary

During the last six months, The Hunger Project-Ghana supplied a total of 7,820 kilograms (kg) of improved maize seeds for the establishment of 480 acres of maize farm. The expected output from these farms is 243,550 kg of maize. Construction of the remaining three epicenters for year one of our Scale-up Program were completed as well as the eight epicenters for year two of the Scale-up Program.

Vision, Commitment and Action Workshops (VCAWs) were held in 134 communities that covered a total of 5,843 people. HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Workshops covered 8,496 people while Women's Empowerment Program (WEP) education reached 7,032 people.

Under the microfinance program, an amount of GHC119,070 (US$119,070) was disbursed to 181 credit groups. Women constituted 73 percent of the beneficiaries. The epicenter clinics recorded a total of 3,821 outpatient cases out of which 50 percent were malaria cases. Immunization against the childhood killer diseases covered 672 children. Sixty-seven safe deliveries were recorded.

The main challenge has been the short period (one year) for the mobilization of communities prior to the construction of epicenters under the Scale-up Program. We have already noted that a longer time frame will be more appropriate to yield the intended long-term development impact of self-reliance for the partners. As it is now, partners have been rushed through the sensitization and the construction and the demand-driven approach has been almost reversed. The buildings have been completed without a proper understanding and internalization of The Hunger Project's principles and mode of operation. It is important to note that the short time within which the epicenters had to be constructed ended up diverting the attention of program staff away from vital capacity building activities such as the training of the various animators and the preparation of microfinance groups, towards the disbursement of loans to them.

Details on Progress

Achievements

Food Production and Security Improve

A total of 7,820 kg of improved maize seeds were supplied for the establishment of approximately 480 acres of maize farms, which comprised group farms (69 percent), community farms (27 percent) and epicenter farms (3 percent).

About 70 percent of the maize seeds were supplied to communities in the Eastern Region under the Scale-Up Program. The expected output from these farms is projected at 243,550 kg (2,435.5 bags). Part of the produce that will be obtained from the epicenter and community farms will be used to stock the epicenter food banks.

The agricultural training of trainers (TOTs) sensitized 3,217 farmers in 134 communities on improved farming methods with the aim of increasing agricultural production in the partner communities. Through The Hunger Project's support the partner communities have been able to increase maize productivity from 250 kg per acre in 2004 to about 500 kg per acre this year, thus resulting in improved availability and access to food in those communities.

Epicenters Constructed

Under the Scale-Up Program, the three uncompleted epicenters were completed (i.e. Odumase, Ankoma, Nkawanda). The eight epicenters which were targeted for year two of the program were also completed. They are Supriso, Agyapomaa, Apau Wawase, Domi-Achiansa, Kwaboadi, Subriso-Awosoase, Kyeremase and Akotekrom Epicenters.

The construction of the Matsekope Epicenter building which started in May this year has almost reached the lintel level. The communities have mobilized 11 trips of sand, two trips of stone and an amount of Gh¢1,100.00 (US$1, 100.00) for the continuation of the building.

Roofing of the Asafora Epicenter building has started following the support received from the Mfantseman Municipal Assembly of Gh¢ 10,000.00 ($10,000.00). The amount was used to procure wood for the roofing.

VCA Awareness Increased

VCAWs were organized in 134 communities which covered 5,843 people made up of 3,250 males and 2,593 females.

HIV/AIDS Awareness Increased

8,496 people were reached with HIV/AIDS education over the last six months, comprising 3,836 males and 4,660 females. 3,468 condoms were sold to help curb the spread of the disease.

Gender Awareness Increased through WEP

7,032 people, 2,655 males and 4,377 females, participated in the Women's Empowerment Program educational activities aimed at creating awareness about the socio-cultural practices which are responsible for gender inequality. 46 new WEP animators were trained during the reporting period.

Partner Communities Assisted to Improve their Incomes through Microfinance.

Over the six-month period, 181 groups made up of 1,644 members received loans amounting to GHC 119,070 ($119,070). Women constituted about 73 percent of the total recipients of loans.

Maternal and Child Mortality Reduced

17 Traditional Birth Attendants were trained, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health to improve their skills in the promotion of safe delivery. The epicenter clinics recorded a total of 67 safe deliveries, without any deaths. 672 children benefitted from Child Welfare Clinics and immunization against the childhood killer diseases.

Malaria and Other Diseases Reduced

A total of 3,821 outpatient cases were treated at the epicenter clinics out of which about 50 percent were malaria cases. The epicenter clinics have contributed significantly to reducing malaria related deaths in the partner communities.

Objectives Not Fully Accomplished

Partner Mobilization

Our objective of having well-mobilized partners with a solid understanding of The Hunger Project's principles and a good sense of the importance of self-reliance in ending hunger and poverty was not fully achieved.

It was originally planned for the mobilization phase to take only one year, after which construction would start in the second year of the Scale-up Program. However, in practice we are finding that this time frame is too short for any lasting impact of the VCAW on the people.

The result has been lukewarm attitude to the construction of the epicenters since The Hunger Project appears to be the one demanding the building. A longer time is actually needed for the mobilization of the communities, which involves District Assembly briefing sessions, the lottery, three district-level mass VCAWs, community-level follow-up VCAWs, epicenter-level mass and community-based VCAWs. It is only after these VCAWs that the communities begin to fully understand The Hunger Project's approach to development, buy into it and begin to take local action in vision setting and later as a cluster, begin to mobilize materials for the epicenter construction. In order to reduce the gaps in mobilization, Project Officers from the other regions are being deployed to assist in "crush mobilization sessions" within the communities in the Eastern Region

Training of animators and credit groups delayed.

Training workshops for animators has been unduly delayed due to the need to meet the epicenter construction deadlines. Training of credit groups, as well as disbursements of loans, was delayed because of the construction of the epicenters.Recent Innovations

The implementation of the Scale-Up Program, in particular, presented some major challenges which The Hunger Project-Ghana had to find innovative ways to deal with. One of these challenges was the difficulty in getting adequate local artisans, such as masons and carpenters, to assist with the construction of the epicenter building and animator-initiated projects.

In order to address this problem an arrangement was made with the Technical Supervisors to train interested local people in masonry and carpentry to enable them to assist with the construction of the epicenters. Furthermore, until recently only one Technical Supervisor was used to supervise the construction of the epicenters. However, this arrangement had limitations which resulted in some delays. A decision was therefore taken to recruit three additional Technical Supervisors and have the job shared among them to reduce the workload while ensuring effective supervision.

Another major challenge was the concentration of effort by Project Officers (POs) in the Eastern Region on the construction of the epicenters which made it virtually impossible for them to mobilize communities through VCAWs in the relatively new districts. In order to address this problem, POs in the other regions have had to be deployed to provide support to the POs in the Eastern Region in the mobilization of the communities to facilitate the construction of the epicenters in year three of the Scale-up Program.

When construction of the Matsekope Epicenter started, it was realized that sand was abundant in the area while wood was lacking, since the area is coastal grassland. Consequently, a consensus was reached with the communities to produce all the sand required as well as mould all the blocks required for the building with The Hunger Project providing the amount. In return, The Hunger Project will provide all the wood that they lack for the construction.

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)

In a bid to improve The Hunger Project-Ghana's M&E system, the following processes were initiated to ensure active participation of the stakeholders (epicenter communities) in setting indicators, data gathering and analysis as well as reviewing progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

  1. A stakeholder's workshop was organized for Training of Trainers (TOTs) from the epicenters. It was aimed at fostering awareness about the MDGs and defining concepts such as poverty and hunger, based on local knowledge. A key outcome from this workshop was an agreement on a set of indicators for monitoring the MDGs.
  2. The results of the workshop were then validated across all the epicenters to allow more people to make inputs into the process.
  3. Based on the outcome of the above consultations, data gathering instruments were developed, which would make it easy for trained village-level M&E animators to collect relevant data to show progress being made on the MDGs at the epicenter levels.
  4. Village-level M&E animators are presently being trained in all epicenters that have at least reached phase II.
  5. Apart from monitoring the MDG indicators, The Hunger Project-Ghana has also developed a Program Monitoring Indicators manual, which serves as a guide to all POs in preparing their periodic reports.

With respect to future plans, we intend to complete the training of the village level M&E animators for them to be able to start using the survey instruments that were developed for data collection and analysis and for a participatory assessment of the MDGs and The Hunger Project's work, generally.

It is also planned to consult with relevant national institutions such as the National Development Planning Commission and the Ghana Statistical Service to provide technical support in monitoring the MDGs to ensure consistency in approach to make it possible to compare data collected by The Hunger Project with that of these government institutions.

Partnerships

The Hunger Project-Ghana is working in partnership with four gender-based civil society organizations to implement a "We Know Politics: Hearing Women's Voices in Ghana's 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections." The partner organizations are:

  • Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF);
  • Gender Center;
  • Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA); and
  • The Coalition of Women in Governance (CoWIG).

The project's aim is to enhance women's participation in the political process; increase the number of women voted into political office; highlight gender equality and women's empowerment concerns, notably those relating to education, health, socio-cultural practices, property, etc.; and ensure that these are at the heart of all debates surrounding the elections.

One of the key outputs of this project so far is the production of a guidebook (Citizens Education for Election." The project will contribute greatly to enhancing the capacity of The Hunger Project's Women Empowerment Project (WEP) animators in voter education. The project is funded by DFID and the Netherlands Embassy and is being implemented from July 2008 to February 2009.

The Hunger Project-Ghana also recently concluded a partnership agreement with the Rural Enterprise Project (REP) in which the latter will provide support to implement The Hunger Project's Skills Development and Market Support Projects. Under this agreement, REP will assist in developing the capacity of The Hunger Project's partner communities through skills training in agro-processing, traditional crafts, marketing of agricultural produce and production of non-farm forest products (such as snail farming, beekeeping and mushroom farming). In addition REP will provide business development services and assist with start-up kits to the poor and unemployed to enable them establish their own businesses. REP is funded by the Government of Ghana, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the African Development Bank (ADB) over a period of 8 years from 2003 to 2011.

In-country Funding Opportunities

Funding was received from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Royal Netherlands Embassy through WiLDAF for the implementation of the "We Know Politics Project" which is described above.

Broader Awareness of The Hunger Project/ Media Coverage

The following events carried out by The Hunger Project-Ghana were given wide coverage by TV, local FM stations and the Daily Graphic which is the most widely read Newspaper in Ghana:

  1. The second consultative meeting held with District Chief Executives to review The Hunger Project's collaboration with partner District Assemblies. The Eastern Regional Minister was present at this meeting (Daily Graphic, June 23, 2008)
  2. The five-day training workshop organized for 17 Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) at New Abirem in the Eastern Region (Daily Graphic, July 7, 2008)
  3. The commissioning of the Aweregya school building by the Salwen family during their visit to Ghana. The building was put up with The Hunger Project's support (Daily Graphic, July 21, 2008).
  4. An interview with a news reporter of the Daily Graphic (Sebastian Syme) on The Hunger Project-Ghana's activities - September 12, 2008.
  5. The visit of Bill Cotter of the Robertson Foundation to the Eastern Region (Daily Graphic, September 22, 2008).

Future Plans

ObjectiveIndicator for measuring achievement
District-level mass VCAWs organized in new districts3 mass VCAs conducted in each of the 3 new Districts
Community-level VCAWs organized in partner communities

328 Organized Community level VCA sessions.

Construction of epicenters in teh 8 communities being mobilized initiated.
  1. Land identified and documentation process initiated for all 8 clusters
  2. Counterpart building material mobilized by communities
  3. Sites cleared and foundation profiles set out
Epicenter committees trained30 epicenter communities trained
HIV/AIDS education organized in partner communitiesHIV/AIDS awareness programs organized in 180 partner communities.
WEP education organized in partner communitiesWEP education organized in 230 communities
Training programs organized for animators
  1. 45 new WEP animators trained
  2. 40 Adult Literacy Facilitators trained
  3. 65 new Agricultural TOTs trained
  4. 24 TBAs trained


The main challenge envisaged is that the communities will have difficulty mobilizing building materials on time for the construction of the epicenters. In order to address this problem the epicenter committees will be empowered to seek the assistance of the District Assemblies where necessary.

As much time as possible will be given towards the mobilization of communities prior to initiating the construction of the epicenters.

Profile of a Leader

Linda Asantewa is a living example of how The Hunger Project's work is impacting the lives of village women, especially, and empowering them to play key leadership roles in their communities. Linda is 52 years old and a single mother of three daughters. She is a secondary school graduate and currently an animator for WEP and HIV/AIDS as well as an Adult Literacy Facilitator in the Nkawanda Epicenter.

According to Linda, before her training as a WEP animator in 2004 she was very shy and could hardly speak in public. However, as a result of her participation The Hunger Project's training programs in WEP, HIV/AIDS and Adult Literacy Facilitation, Linda is now able to go around to communities in her epicenter to educate them on issues relating to gender and HIV/AIDS. While working as an animator to change people's lives, Linda's own life has been transformed tremendously through her association with The Hunger Project-Ghana. Linda presently holds many leadership positions, including: Chairperson of the Epicenter Loan Committee; Secretary of the Village Unit Committee; Secretary of the Community Water and Sanitation Committee and the Women Organizer of the ruling National Patriotic Party in her community

Linda was supported by The Hunger Project to undertake skills training in soap and cosmetics production after which she helped to train women groups in other regions. She supplements her income from the sale of secondhand clothes with that from soap making. She said, educating her children was not previously her priority and as a result her first two daughters dropped out of school "but now I have learnt a lot from The Hunger Project, especially through the VCA education and I will do everything possible to give good education to my last daughter." Linda said she used to live in a rented house but has been able to put up a two-bedroom house from her own resources.

Country Profile - Ghana

Population (male, female)Over 23 million (50.5% females)
Percent of population in rural areas56.2% (GSS, 2000 Report)
Infant mortality rate52.31 deaths/1,000 (MOH Report 2007)
Maternal mortality rate224 per 100,000 births (MOH Report 2007)
Life expectancy59.1 (UNDP Report 2007)
Percent population undernourished2.3 million representing 11% (GSS, Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, 2005)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate3.2% in 2006 to 1.9% in 2007 (UNAIDS Report 2007)
HIV/AIDS - deaths21,000 (UNAIDS Report 2007)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS25,000 (UNAIDS Report 2007)
Literacy rate (male, female58% (Unicef Report, 2005)
Primary school enrollment (male, female)

Primary school enrollment ratio, gross (male) = 94%

Primary school enrollment ratio, gross (female) = 93%

Primary school enrollment ratio, net (male) = 69%

Primary school enrollment ratio, net (female) = 70%

Source: Unicef country report on Ghana

GDP per capita$540 (UNDP HDR '07)
Population earning less than $1/day18% (NDPC 2006 Report)