International Day for the Eradication of Poverty Honored in Ghana

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October 17, 2011 was honored worldwide as International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The theme for this year’s celebration was “Working Together Out of Poverty.”

In partnership with rural communities and the Eastern Regional Coordinating Council, The Hunger Project (THP)-Ghana marked the day with a procession through the streets of Koforidua, the capital of Ghana’s Eastern Region, to draw the attention of the general public and emphasize the eradication of poverty as every individual’s responsibility.

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been observed every year since 1993, when the United Nations (UN) General Assembly designated the day to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution, particularly in developing countries – a need that has become a development priority with the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals.

Speaking at a formal assembly organized in the courtyard of the Eastern Regional Administration building, Dr. Naana Agyemang-Mensah, Country Director of THP-Ghana, called on the government of Ghana and all similar-minded, multilateral development partners, corporate bodies, development agencies and individuals to work with THP to eradicate poverty in rural Ghana.

Dr. Naana told the audience that THP underscores the empowerment of women and girls as the foundation for the eradication of poverty and therefore focuses programs on building the capacity of women in all aspects of their lives. She discussed THP’s mission to overcome the root causes of poverty through the Epicenter Strategy, the basis of which is the belief in the potential of all people to change their own destinies given the requisite enabling environment. Dr. Naana added that principal within the Epicenter Strategy environment is the need to change one’s mindset from that of dependency to that of self-reliance. She insisted that changing a mindset and fatalistic views about poverty is half the work done.

A community partner, Ms. Georgina Dushie, spoke on behalf of the community members in THP’s operational areas about how THP has empowered them through legal awareness; access to agricultural information and technology to improve yields and farm incomes; improved access to credit to expand businesses; skills development training; and community initiated projects towards self reliance.

Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Hon. Ebenezer Okletey Teye Larbi, also spoke and enumerated the manifestations of poverty at both family and community levels, including the inability of the family to meet its basic needs like food, shelter and clothing as well as the lack of social amenities like health, education, good drinking water and poor sanitation. He said the government’s social contract with Ghanaians is to build on the firm belief that the people of Ghana have the right to decent living and well-paid jobs. He recounted some of the policies put in place by the government to improve the living conditions of the people.

The Deputy Minister then highlighted specific programs in Ghana that currently demonstrate the government’s commitment to improving the standard of living, including expansion of the National Youth Employment Programme, the Local Enterprises and Skills Development Programme (LESDEP), the establishment of the Disability Council and Law, expansion of the Ghana School Feeding Programme, improved service delivery under the National Health Insurance Scheme, and the provision of free school uniforms and exercise books to pupils in basic schools. He urged all stakeholders to join hands to break the cycle of poverty and forge ahead for peace and prosperity.

THP-Ghana presented a banner of over 600 signatures collected from some regional operational areas to the Government of Ghana (through the Eastern Regional Coordinating Council) to demonstrate THP’s commitment to the fight against poverty.

 

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