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In the pursuit to reduce poverty in Africa, six countries have been selected to strengthen effective collaboration between research, advocacy and media in order to deliver pro-poor policies for the continent.
The project, to be implemented in Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa, Malawi, Kenya and Uganda, has a financial support from Southern Africa Trust through Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In Ghana, the project is initiated by SEND Ghana, a non-governmental orgnaisation.
It has Ghana News Agency (GNA), Public Agenda, Ecumenical Association for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development, Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation Food Research Institute and the Water Research Institute in addressing Aflatoxin in maize in the Techiman Municipality and high cyanide and arsenic concentration in water in the Tarkwa Municipality.
Speaking to the GNA, Mr Siapha Kamara, Chief Executive Officer of SEND Ghana said the collaboration between these institutions would mmaximise poverty reduction and improved evidence based advocacy for policy change, transparent and accountable governance.
He explained that the intended short-term and medium-term effects of the proposed project would increase demand and market access for local maize produced in Techiman Municipality in the Brong Ahafo Region.
It will also increase quality of water for domestic use in Tarkwa Municipality in the Western Region.
Mr Kamara noted that there was a weak partnership existing between the media, research and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) in support of pro- poor development in the area of promoting food security and improving water and sanitation in Ghana.
“The current weather being experienced in agriculture or water sector, will demand that these selected institutions do not work in the isolation and unsystematic use of the media by research and CSO will lead to limited impact on poverty reduction.”
For Techiman, there would be a production and dissemination of educational materials and policy brief distributed targeting farmers and Ministry of Food and Agriculture on how to control Aflotoxin in maize.
There will also be a community mobilisation, sensitisation and training on the causes and extent of water pollution in Tarkwa and Aflatoxin control in maize in the Techiman Municipality.
Mr Kamara explained that the project would specifically address poverty reduction and hunger, food security, improved sanitation and hygiene specifics of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS).
“Ghana’s performance towards MDG 7 is very low, therefore, empowering communities to demand access to clean and safe drinking water is a contribution to national priority needs,” he added.
Mr Kamara noted that mining companies are polluting water bodies in Tarkwa whilst the Water Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research have undertaken a number of researches on the causes and the extent of water pollution in the area with the findings showing high arsenic and cyanide concentration in water.
SEND Ghana held a day’s orientation workshop on Gender Orientation, Evaluation and monitoring for 15 participants from the implementation institutions.
It was aimed at getting partners to collectively develop and agree on a framework on how their projects will remain gender sensitive in all its activities and agreed on gender indicators and guidelines on gender representation and reporting.