General News of Tuesday, 18 December 2018
The Head of Community Development Unit of the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development, Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), says there is always a gap between efforts of government in bettering lives and real life-changing situations on the ground.
Mr. Felix Larbi Appiah says, “As a nation we haven’t really invested much into social interventions because when you get down to the grassroots, people are really suffering and people don’t get access to the basic things they need.”
He said this on Tuesday during a skills training programme organized by the Community Development Unit of the TMA to train women in powdered soap making and Batik and Tie and Die making at Tema Newtown.
He observed that the policies of government was not getting to the people who needed them because of the poor monitoring and evaluation culture in Ghana which had ensured that work done at the grassroots were not monitored to determine how well they were done.
Advising his colleagues in other local government agencies, Mr. Appiah said, “We shouldn’t rest on our oars; we shouldn’t think because the needed support is not coming we would rest, otherwise nothing would be done. We should use the limited resources available to impact in the lives of the people.”
He asked government to strengthen the public system by ensuring that the monitoring and evaluation ministry worked efficiently to bring everyone on their toes.
“There should be accountability; everybody that is put on a project should be accountable for what they are made to do, and if there’s efficient accountability, I think we’ll improve work done,” he stressed.
He observed that conducting skills training for community members was a yearly affair, and that the first programme this year which trained women in beads and soap making, was held during the International Women’s Day celebrations.
He informed that this exercise was a means of empowering women and they chose Batik and Soap making because their research showed that most of them wanted to acquire that skill but did not have the means to learn.
He added that, “We have done such programmes before but now we are looking at its sustainability. After training them, we’ll monitor those who are really serious and help them with funding or assist them to access funds. For those already working, it would be a second income stream to supplement what they were already earning.
The Unit Head informed that they would also educate them on financial management and entrepreneurship because most of the women were into businesses that were not profitable because they did not know how to manage their finances.
Mr. Appiah said they chose Tema Newtown because of the extent of poverty there with most of the residents unemployed, a situation which was also spiced by an alarming illiteracy rate with its attendant troubles.
“That’s why we are trying to lift them out of poverty and make them live better lives, “he said.