By Dipo Olowookere
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Ghana Mission Director, Mr Andrew Karas, travelled to northern Ghana from September 14-18, 2016, to visit projects that work to advance USAID’s goals to improve agricultural governance, increase educational outcomes, and strengthen access to health services.
While in the north, Mr Karas met with the Northern Regional Minister and the Upper East Regional Peace Council.
Additionally, he met with the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to discuss collaboration efforts to improve development outcomes in the SADA zone.
During his visit, the USAID, along with the Ghanaian government and a consortium of non-profits, launched the Northern Ghana Governance Activity on September 15.
The aim of the project, through Feed the Future, the US government’s global hunger and food security initiative, is to promote and enhance responsive governance for improved agricultural development in Ghana and support local Ghanaian institutions.
At the launch, Mr Karas remarked, “This project exemplifies the ideals of USAID. It will increase the participation of all community members, especially women in agricultural governance. It is partnering deeply and across sectors to maximize impact.”
Through USAID’s Partnership for Education: Learning Program with the Ministry of Education, Mr Karas handed over books to the Regional Director of Education in Wa East district on September 16.
The handover is part of Learning’s distribution of more than 4 million books in English and local Ghanaian languages to public primary schools in all 216 districts.
During the handover ceremony, Mr Karas stated, “These books will help children improve their reading skills in both English and their native languages. Through Learning, we aim to improve the reading skills of 2.8 million pupils.”
On September 17, Mr Karas visited the Ghana Health Service’s Navrongo Health Research Centre (NHRC), where USAID’s Preventing Maternal and Newborn Deaths project works to track all maternal and neonatal deaths across four districts in Ghana’s three Northern Regions.
This project trains NHRC field workers to geocode the location of homes in relation to neighbouring health services, traditional healers, and other facilities.
The objective of this project is to identify social and cultural factors influencing maternal and neonatal mortality. The research findings will be used to inform programming at the community level to address these challenges.
The majority of USAID/Ghana’s work targets the most vulnerable populations in Ghana’s three Northern Regions to reduce poverty, enhance agricultural productivity, and improve research and development.