The National Service Scheme (NSS) has deployed a total of 50,069 personnel to undertake their national service duties in areas such as education, health, agriculture, local government for the 2010/11 season.
Out of the figure, 32,375 were deployed to the education sector to teach in schools without teachers, an additional 2,360 were also posted to support education delivery at the tertiary level in the form of teaching and research assistants, 5,135 to the health sector and 200 to various districts to identify and document potential tourism sites for development.
Other sectors where personnel were deployed include the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, which received 10,278, private institutions attracted 2,281.
Other initiatives such as afforestation, improvement of services for the vulnerable and disabled persons, support to chieftaincy institutions and improvement in road construction, took the remaining personnel numbering 1,170.
This was announced by Mr Vincent Senam Kuagbenu, Executive Director of the NSS at a press conference held at one of the scheme’s farms at Papao, near Haatso in Accra on Wednesday.
Mr Kuagbenu said the personnel “shall start accessing their postings on the website of the NSS (www.nssghana.org) from October 1, and enrol officially on October 15”.
He said the decision that personnel should officially enrol on October 15, was to allow them to participate in the on-going National Population and Housing Census, which the NSS is a major stakeholder.
He reminded prospective service personnel that “national service is not a matter of choice, but an obligation they owe to the Republic of Ghana under section 7 of Act 426” and called on them to consider it as a national call to duty.
He also urged prospective employers to take note of the provisions of the Act.
“In the event of the launch of the National Youth Policy, and the inclusion of volunteering as a key component, we are collaborating with our major partner-VSO (Volunteer Services Organisation) Ghana to identify ways in which we can work with various MDAs and in this regard the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and most importantly attain Universal Primary Education” Mr Kuagbenu said.
He therefore, appealed to user agencies to support the efforts of the NSS to provide decent accommodation and other incentives to ensure the comfort of the personnel.
Mr Kuagbenu also spoke about other projects the NSS is embarking upon to deepen its mobilisation drive, which include the construction of a 700-acre maize farm at Ejura in the Ashanti Region, which is currently being harvested and is expected to yield (3000) 50 kilograms bags.
He said as part of the expansion drive, the Ejura Agriculture Project had been extended to cover additional 500-acre, which was also cultivated during the minor farming season adding “construction of kraals and pens will soon commence to house between 50-100 cattle as a start”.
He said the NSS had earmarked GH¢264,000 to procure 20 tractors to add up to the five tractors it acquired last year, to accelerate the Youth in Agriculture Projects.
“Again, with the support of the Ministry of Education, and other stakeholders, four pick-up vehicles and about 30 motorbikes will be acquired to support the smooth implementation of the project activities,” he said and thanked the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for its support and collaboration.
Mr Kuagbenu said the Scheme’s Papao Farm, which was a mixed farming project involving piggery, poultry and fish, is also undergoing expansion, adding that the fish pond had been restocked with 18,000 fingerlings, layers expected to produce beyond the 30 crates daily to 40 crates, and the housing capacity of piggery also increased from the current 100 to 300.
He said to increase participation of service personnel in community service drive, the NSS had acquired lands at Wenchi, Anyaboni, Afram Plains and Komenda in the Brong Ahafo, Eastern and Central regions, which would be cultivating during the next farming season.
He added that the NSS would soon start a vegetable irrigation farming project at Dawhenya in the Greater Accra Region (GAR).
He said the NSS is also constructing a Water Treatment and Bottling Plant at Medie in the GAR, which was 90 per cent complete, adding that Management had earmarked GH¢282,716 towards its completion to boost the financial standing of the Scheme. He said the Scheme would improve on its Borehole Unit programme to drill and fix more of such facilities for communities to help build healthy relationships with them.
Mr Kuagbenu commended the 2009/2010 year group of the National Service Personnel Association for their enthusiasm in volunteering to ensure the success of the projects.