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Development Partners’ Heads of Cooperation Group Tour Northern Ghana

Development Partners’ Heads of Cooperation (HoC) Group in Ghana, under the leadership of Philip Smith – Chair of Heads of Cooperation Group and DFID Country Director, have embarked on a study tour of the Northern Region of Ghana. The purpose was to explore and abreast themselves with the development challenges in Northern Ghana in the context of Ghana beyond aid. The tour, held on Wednesday 29th May 2019 was strategically scheduled to precede the official opening of the maiden Northern Ghana Development Conference in Tamale on 30th May 2019.

Members of Heads of Corporations Group on the trip in a group photo


The Northern Ghana Development Conference was co-hosted by the five Regional Coordinating Councils in Northern Ghana (Northern, Savanna, North-East, Upper East and Upper West). The event, which was held on the theme: `Accelerating the sustainable development of Northern Ghana in the context of peace, security and Ghana Beyond Aid` was supported by STAR Ghana Foundation with funding from UKAid, EU and DANIDA; USAID and Care International.

Members of Heads of Corporations Group interact with Northern Regional Minister ahead of the tour


The Northern Regional Minister, Hon. Salifu Sa-eed, welcomed the team on behalf of the five Regional Ministers, as well as the Chiefs and people of the North ahead of the tour. He described the brief period of engagement as an opportunity to share the challenges and prospects of Northern Ghana with the team. He bemoaned the poverty gap and inequality between the north and south of Ghana and called for synergy to mitigate the challenges.

Hon. Salifu Sa-eed, Northern Regional Minister

"We need synergy, the synergy would have to come in by pulling the human resources, expertise and financial resources so that we can holistically approach the developmental challenges in our part of the country”


AVNASH Industries Ghana Limited

The Team visited the AVNASH Industries Ghana Limited, a diversified foodstuffs producer currently trading in edible oils, soap, and rice. The large-scale private sector investor provides opportunities for smallholder farmers in the northern part of Ghana.

Ranjan Ghushal, Northern Head of AVNASH received and welcomed the visiting team to the facility. He shared information on the work of the firm and indicated that the firm no longer has the challenge of unavailability of quality paddy (rice), thanks to the DFID funded MADE programme.


Some members of the Heads of Cooperation Group touring the rice processing factory

“People here never considered that paddy (rice) could give them economic earning, so they used to grow lady finger' (okro) and pumpkin in irrigated lands... Now after a while of engagement they have started to grow paddy, that is a good sign, land is increasing for paddy and people are understanding” 

He was however quick to add that some challenges hinder the operation of the firm. These include: the relatively high expectation of farmers in terms of remuneration for the paddy they produce due to their relatively high cost of production particularly around cost of input. He also mentioned the lack of patronage of local rice among Ghanaians as the current biggest challenge of AVNASH.

"We have the plant, but we are unable to process the paddy, because after processing you have to sell the rice in the market… our price is the lowest in the market but still it is not moving, the reason behind that is  imported rice is cheaper... imported Vietnam or Thailand rice is GHS20.00 cheaper for every 50kg.”

Ranjan Ghushal, Northern Head of AVNASH leads the visiting team on a tour of the rice processing factory


He called for the Government of Ghana’s support in purchasing their produce – under the School Feeding Programme to avert a possible shut down of the factory. This he believes will save the economic livelihood of about 9,000 farmers they are connected to in Northern Ghana.


Visit to Sankpala T.I. Primary School - Complementary basic education (CBE)

The visiting team visited one of the Complementary Basic Education (CBE) schools at Sankpala in the Central Gonja District of Ghana. The team was received by Fred Birikorang of the Ghana Education Service. After a moment of exchanging pleasantries, members of the HoC Group interacted with some parents, teachers and children who are direct beneficiaries of the CBE programme.

Fred Birikorang of GES welcoming the team to the CBE school at Sankpala in the Central Gonja District of Ghana


The Complimentary Basic Education (CBE) was a £27.9 million second-chance education programme which ran from June 2012 to November 2018. The programme supported 247,888 out-of-school children aged 8-14 years, who had never been to school or who had dropped out from primary school to learn and transition into the formal school system and contribute to breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty. On completing the programme, children were supported to enter formal primary schools at the appropriate class level, enabling children fast-track their schooling years and catch up with their peers.

Some beneficiaries of the CBE Programme in their classroom


Mr Birikorang in his presentation indicated the CBE programme’s lack of financial resources to compensate facilitators of the CBE programme as its biggest challenge. As a result, the Programme hires non-professional teachers as facilitators. He was however hopeful that the situation could change for the better. This is because the programme had succeeded in arranging for National Service Personnel to take over the teaching/facilitation, a situation that will no longer present the pressure of remuneration for facilitators/teachers as National Service Personnel receive their allowances directly from the Government of Ghana.

Philip Smith, expressed his appreciation of the commitment of the Government of Ghana to the programme and described it as a perfect example of `Ghana beyond aid.`


“… this is an example of Ghana beyond aid because the Ghana Education Service has agreed to take on what was a DFID/USAID funded programme. The Minister of Education has committed 1% of the basic education budget to the complementary Basic Education Programme (CBE) so he’s committed to continuing that work to get out of school children in Ghana, particularly in Northern Ghana back in school. That’s a live example of Ghana beyond aid.” he said.


Demonstration of Child Protection Toolkit at Guunayilli community

The visiting team ended the tour at Guunayilli community within the Tamale Metropolis where they observed a practical demonstration on the use of a child protection community facilitation toolkit. The team was welcomed with a colourful display of culture. This was after the team had paid a courtesy call to the chief of the community, who later joined a well organised durbar where the demonstration of the tool kit was held.


Demonstration photo: depicting the skewed household responsibilities of boys and girls and how it could affect their progress in life


Members of the HoC Group together with the Chief and People of the Guunayilli pledged to protect children from abuse. The team members interacted with the community folks and asked questions on the main protection issues among children in the community.

The Child Protection programme in Ghana is supported by Canada, DFID, KOICA, USAID, Norway, European Union, and the Netherlands Committee for UNICEF.

Chief (middle) and some Elders of Guunayilli Community pledging to protect children from abuse




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