The US Agency for International Development (USAID) on September 4, 2012 signed separate agreements with the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (NRCC) and two District Assemblies in the Northern Region of Ghana to transfer funds for the first three months to kick start a $60 million project in the area.

The two District Assemblies are Saboba and Chereponi.

The programme, Resiliency in Northern Ghana, is a $60 million USAID-supported initiative that seeks to improve the livelihoods and nutritional status of those most in need (with an emphasis on women of child-bearing age and children under five years).

District Coordinating Directors of Saboba and Chereponi, Mr. Evarist Dery and Mr. Issaka B. Basintale respectively signed for their districts with the Northern Regional Minister, Moses Mabengba and USAID/Ghana Mission Director, Ms. Cheryl Anderson signing on behalf of the Regional Coordinating Council and the US government respectively.

A statement issued by the US Embassy in Accra said Saboba and Chereponi are the first two districts in 12 District Assemblies in the Northern Region to start implementation of the Resiliency Programme and the agreement with the Northern Regional Coordinating Council is to ?enable the Council provide technical, monitoring and supervisory role to the two districts?.

This first stage of the Resiliency Programme will enable the two district assemblies to educate the beneficiary communities on the objectives of the programme, and begin to identify low income families, the target of the intervention, the statement indicated.

Officials say over 367,000 people in the Northern Region will benefit from the initiative which is expected to help increase food security, encourage the consumption of diverse quality food, and improve nutrition, especially among women and children. This initiative will assist these low income families to improve health and enable them to better cope with natural disasters such as droughts or floods, and fluctuating food prices.

In June 2012, the US Government, represented by USAID, and the Government of Ghana represented by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP), signed a Basic Implementation Letter in Accra to transfer an initial $11 million of funding for Resiliency in Northern Ghana programme activities.

Under this agreement, the US will also provide up to $28 million directly to the Government of Ghana, through the MoFEP, to be disbursed to the 12 targeted District Assemblies and the NRCC.

By Ekow Quandzie

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