World Vision Ghana has urged residents in the Nkwanta South Municipality to protect and preserve its pro-poor interventions made for the municipality over the past twenty-eight years.
In 1995, the non-governmental organisation entered the municipality to make interventions in twenty-three communities in the areas of education, health, water and sanitation.
It also looked at savings and how to improve the generality of life for the people.
The various intervention programmes catered for 63,200 vulnerable families in 36 communities. Through this, the organisation also adopted some pupils at the time who have now assumed responsible positions in various fields of endeavour.
World Vision Ghana in its statement at an event to mark the 28-year anniversary said: “Through a range of implemented technical programmes including WASH, Primary Health Care, Nutrition, Education, and Community Engagement, the NGO has made significant strides in creating lasting positive impacts on health, education, access to safe water, improvement in sanitation, hygiene, livelihood and the overall well-being of community members including the most vulnerable".
At the inception of the Nkwanta Area Programme, the district lacked proper access to clean water. People depended on rivers, streams, and ponds, but water quality and availability dropped during the dry season.
A survey in April 1997 by the Nkwanta District Health Management Team found that the main water source, River Decheibo, was contaminated with parasites causing both urinary and intestinal bilharzia infections.
Healthcare was limited, with only a few government and private facilities serving a population of over 152,000 people.
Communicable diseases were a major concern, particularly malaria, which made up around half of all outpatient visits. Diarrhea was common, and diseases like bilharzia and guinea worm were also prevalent.
The Nkwanta District Health Services Report in August 1999 highlighted high levels of malnutrition among mothers and children under five years old. Child Rights and Protection issues were a significant challenge.
Cases of child abuse, including physical and sexual abuse, were widespread. Many children dropped out of school due to teenage pregnancies, child marriages, or being forced to work. Additionally, a large number of children under 18 lacked birth certificates.
These challenges therefore underscored the importance of the Nkwanta Area Programme. By addressing water access, healthcare, and child protection, the program aimed to make a positive impact and create a better future for people in the district especially the most vulnerable and children.
In the midst of the issues such huge deficits in social amenities, insecurities and recently the COVID 19 pandemic, the Nkwanta Area Programme's pursuit of progress faced unprecedented challenges affecting the well-being of families.
Despite these setbacks, World Vision Ghana insists that "our program has exhibited remarkable resilience, by swiftly responding to crises and advocating for essential support. With continuous dedication, the Nkwanta Area Programme remained steadfast in its commitment to reshaping lives and forging a brighter tomorrow for children, their families and communities as a whole.”
For almost 3 decades, the Nkwanta AP has supported the development of the Nkwanta South and North districts in the areas of education, health, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Livelihood, Child Protection and Advocacy. When the Area Programme (AP) began operations in January 1995, most basic schools were in dilapidated classrooms built with mud and roofed with thatches.
Accommodation for teachers in communities outside the district capital was scarce and therefore most professional teachers refused postings to the district. Government-recommended textbooks for teaching and learning were in short supply in most schools.
However, since the advent of the AP, the municipality has seen a major improvement in education delivery. Access to educational infrastructure has greatly improved.
As at the beginning of the programme in 1995, only 18% of basic schools had suitable infrastructure to support learning.
This has however increased to 96% in 2022 (Nkwanta AP Basic Schools Monitoring Report, 2022) largely due to World Vision's contribution of 35 school blocks of various kinds within the period. Furthermore, learning outcomes among basic school children have improved.
Through World Vision's Reading Improvement and Skills Enhancement interventions, many children like 10-year-old Rosaline, who hitherto could not read age-appropriate reading materials can now read fluently with comprehension.
“Before I joined World Vision After-School-Reading club, I could not read my books, but now it is amazing how I am able to read my class books with much ease,” Rosaline, who is 10 years and a class 4 pupil of the Dadiase DA Basic School said.
The AP through its various education projects has been working towards the attainment of the global impacts and set goals.
Since 2016, the AP has been working towards SDG 4: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
At the closing ceremony, the chiefs and people of the area pledged their commitment to ensuring that various interventions would be safeguarded.
Nana Kennewu Addo Cheddere II, Djodjane of Challa, the chief of Ntrobo Traditional area, the chief of Adele Traditional Area, Bonakye Wura and the paramount chief for Akyode traditional area have all in their messages pledged to maintain the intervention programmes over the years.
They have also asked for more support for the area as the municipality still lags behind in other facets of development.
The Member of Parliament for the area, Geoffrey Kini also urged the beneficiary communities to protect investments made by the organisation in the lives of the rural folks.
“World Vision as a non-governmental organisation has impacted a lot of people in Nkwanta South. They have made a lot of interventions in the health sector, education and a whole lot but it is sad that today marks the climax of their stay here. It would be very prudent of us to take good care of them, make sure we maintained them very well so that they can come back some day to add more if they have the capacity. Their departure should be a signal for other NGOs to come and help,” he added.
Also speaking, the Area Programme manager, Irvine Aboagye said “In collaboration with the district assembly we have formed committees that would take care of these resources. They should contact the assembly as and when they need any support. We have also asked the communities to do community based funds to help maintain these facilities. We believe that with the various measures put in place, the communities would protect these projects to last a life time.”
Chinderi in the Krachi Nchumuru district is the next beneficiary community in the Oti region under the next phase of their intervention programme.
Madam Akua Mensah delivered the closing speech on behalf of the country director, Laura Cristina Delvalle.
Meanwhile, some volunteers were also awarded for their dedication to the course of the organisation. They received a double deck refrigerator and citation each.
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