Ghana is rich in natural resources and has one of the strongest emerging economies in Africa. The capital city, Accra, is one of the wealthiest and most modern cities on the continent, and is experiencing a period of rapid growth. Ghana is rapidly urbanizing. Despite this, most of Ghana's poor live in rural areas without basic services such as health care and clean water. Small-scale farmers, who are affected most by rural poverty in Ghana, depend on outdated farming tools and lack access to improved seeds and fertilizers to increase crop yields.
The Hunger Project has been working in Ghana since 1995 and is empowering partners in 49 epicenter communities to end their own hunger and poverty. Through its integrated approach to rural development, the Epicenter Strategy, The Hunger Project is working with partners to successfully access the basic services needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and lead lives of self-reliance.
Scaling-Up the Epicenter Strategy
Ghana is the first country in which The Hunger Project is scaling up its Epicenter Strategy to provide coverage to a set geographical area and reach significantly more people. In July 2006, The Hunger Project received a US$5 million investment to scale up Hunger Project work in the Eastern Region of Ghana. By the end of the five-year commitment, The Hunger Project-Ghana aims to have mobilized enough epicenter communities so that each villager in the Eastern Region is within walking distance to an epicenter building.
By the end of the second year of its scale-up program, The Hunger Project-Ghana had successfully completed construction of 12 epicenters. Scaling up has presented a number of challenges to The Hunger Project-Ghana, such as acquisition of land and the mobilization of construction materials. Our staff, however, is equipped with the training and skills to continue to mobilize partners to end their own hunger in the Eastern Region.
The Hunger Project-Ghana has pioneered the Women's Empowerment Program (WEP), which empowers women to become strong leaders in their households and communities. The WEP is a series of workshops that focus on legal, civic and reproductive health rights as well as leadership skills for selected women. The trained women, also known as "animators," then carry out community-based educational activities using drama, mini-lectures and discussions. These animators are also trained to provide counseling and distribute non-prescriptive contraceptives.
Through its Microfinance Program in the first half of 2012, The Hunger Project disbursed loans totaling $290,955. Partners in Ghana deposited $133,907 in savings during the year. Of the epicenters that are operating in Ghana, three have government-recognized Rural Banks.