?A Japanese Social Development Fund (JSDF) has been launched in Bolgatanga to support 3,000 poor households from eight districts in the Upper East Region to improve income generating activities.A woman holds 03 July 2007 in Accra a wa

The $3 million fund is expected to be piloted in Garu-Tempane, Bawku West, Nabdam, Talensi, Bongo, Kassena Nankana West, Builsa North and Builsa South districts for three years to improve both existing and start-up businesses.
The launch attracted District Chief Executives from beneficiary districts and their decentralized department heads and community leaders.
The project is complimentary of interventions the labour intensive public works initiated under the Ghana Social Opportunities Project (GSOP).
Mr Charles Dondieu, Chief Director, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) who launched the fund, said the project was closely linked to MLGRD core strategic direction of changing lives through small and micro enterprise development and social housing.
Mr Dondieu said MLGRD sought to encourage local economic development programmes to assess economic needs of people and encourage establishment of competitive advantage business programmes.
He said MLGRD was committed to empowering people in the districts to overcome unnecessary burden of poverty and expressed the hope that lessons learnt from the pilot project would help scale up to other parts of the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.
He said the fund aimed to support the poorest of the poor to establish sustainable income generating activities through capacity building and entrepreneurial skills training and would be implemented by the District Assemblies in partnership with local NGOs and to be supervised by the Regional Coordinating Council.
He reminded the assemblies of their roles to improve lives of their people and hoped the fund would be well managed to ensure its replication in other communities.

Ms Mayumi Kunorna, the Japanese Representative at the launch, said the project would promote community driven projects and improve living standards of the poor to bridge the poverty gab between the northern parts of the country and south.
Mr James ZuugaTiigah, Upper East Regional Minister, said JSDF project was important to the people of the region and expressed the hope that ideas generated at the launch and sensitization would enrich the smooth implementation of the project.

GNA
HAN/HAO

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