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USAID SUPPORTS IMPROVED PLANNING EFFORTS IN FIVE (5) WESTERN REGION DISTRICTS

By Henry Seyram Boachi

Five (5) Western Region Districts – Sefwi Wiawso, Prestea Huni Valley, Bibiani Anhwiaso Bekwai, Tarkwa Nsuaem and Shama – are benefiting from IT equipment, software and training support, from USAID's Local Governance and Decentralization Program, to aid better planning of their towns and communities.

The plotters, invertors, state of the art laptop and desktop computers with accessories, scanners, printers and GPS equipment, as well as software, are worth US$240,000.00.

Through the Program, USAID has also invested US$15,344 in aerial photographs for these districts to help them spatially identify the locations of various structures within their respective areas.

Staffs from the Districts' Town and Country Planning Departments (TCPD) are also being trained in a four-module course to assist them become familiar with the use of the equipment and software for spatial planning. Trainees are getting practical exposure to use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to, among other things, operate handheld Geographical Positioning Systems (GPS) to geo-reference scanned maps, name streets, and assign unique identification and issue development permits for specific parcels of land.

The trainees are being taught to use mapmaker, the nationally accepted software for spatial planning. The data generated in planning towns and cities in the 5 districts will complement Ghana's quest to build a national database.

USAID is expecting that this support will also lead to the districts increasing their internally generated funds. With the new GIS system, the districts can easily identify property and business owners from whom they should collect property rates and business operating fees, to aid development.

At the presentation ceremony to the Shama District, Chief Executive, Enoch Kojo Appiah, thanked USAID for the equipment and promised that the district will take the best care of it.

The IT equipment has already been installed at the offices of the other four (4) districts.

About the Program
USAID's US$10million Local Governance and Decentralization Program (LOGODEP) has three main focal areas, namely:

• Expanding public participation in local governance

• Increasing internally generated funds of targeted local districts

• Achieving comprehensive development planning for local districts

It is being implemented by Management Systems International with technical assistance from the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV)

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