Japan Fights Rural Poverty

The Japanese government, through its Japanese Social Development Fund (JSDF), is supporting the government of Ghana with an amount of over $ 2.7 million to run a pilot poverty reduction project in the Upper East Region, starting this year.

Eight districts in the region have been earmarked to benefit from the three year project dubbed: ‘Support For Rural Income Generation to Targeted Poor Persons In The Upper East Region’.

The Japanese government’s gesture is a response to a request made by the National Coordinating Office of the Ghana Social Opportunities Project (GSOP) through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to the World Bank for a complementary income generation support for the poor in deprived areas.

Following a successful launch, GSOP is mandated to start the implementation of activities under the project from 2015 to 2017.

Beneficiary districts are Bawku-West, Bongo, Builsa North, Builsa South, Garu-Tempane, Kassena-Nankana West, Nabdam and Talensi.

It is expected that the various district assemblies would play major roles in the implementation of the project, for which reason beneficiary district chief executives have been made to commit themselves to support the activities under the project.

A total of 3,150 targeted poor persons, with at least 50 percent being women, are expected to benefit from the project for the purpose of supporting the development of their households.

A Chief Director at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Charles K. Don-Dien, disclosed that the JDSF has come at a time the ministry is promoting the idea of people taking advantage of small business opportunities around them to improve on their revenue generation.

According to Mr Don-Dien, the fund would provide grants for activities mainly in the area of business management support and capacity-building for income generation activities in deprived areas.

The various district business advisory centres would assist in the selection and training of beneficiaries and also link them to prospective markets facilitates.

A representative of the Japanese government, Mayomi Kuyata, said her government is committed in assisting Ghana to reduce poverty and support rural people to create small scale economic ventures to improve on their livelihoods.

The objective of the JSDF, according to her, is to provide grant in support of community-driven development and poverty reduction programmes in rural areas to increase productivity and economic development.

Mayomi Kuyata hinted that the Japanese government had recently supported a skills development project for some 500 Liberians and Ghanaians beneficiaries at the Budunburam camp in the Central Region.

The project was to help them improve on their income generating activities to reduce poverty there. There have also been other poverty reduction projects in the Ashanti and Northern regions.

From Ebo Bruce-Quansah, Bolgatanga

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