World Vision Ghana together with about 117,890 members of its savings groups countrywide and their dependents joined the United Nations to celebrate World Poverty Day last Sunday.
The day which falls on October 17 each year is set aside to raise awareness on the need to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by making choices and taking actions that help reduce poverty.
The day provides an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts and struggles of people living in poverty, a chance to make their concerns heard; and a moment to recognize those working assiduously with the poor and destitute to eradicate poverty whiles sharing the contributions and experiences of people living in poverty.
This year’s observation was on the theme “Building Forward Together: Ending Persistent Poverty, Respecting all People and our Planet’’ which underscores the need to do away with discrimination against people living in poverty and building on the moral and legal framework of human rights that places human dignity at the center of policy and action whiles transforming our relationship with nature.
The theme also reminds us to collaborate with, encourage and support people living in poverty to lead their own change.
Speaking at an event to mark the day at Zebilla in the Bawku West District of the Upper East region, Mr. Maxwell Amedi, Food Security & Resilience Technical Programme officer of World Visions Ghana said his outfit which is a Christian organization is always moved by the plight of millions of people especially children who are in an endless cycle of suffering as a result of extreme poverty, early marriages, violence, oppression, disasters, conflicts, child labor, loss of parents or caregivers through death, disability and HIV/AIDS.
He said, “our Christian identity compels us to work with people living in poverty to bring hope, and restoration to them. As part of our commitment to reducing poverty in this regard, World Vision Ghana has designed and promoted resilient livelihood interventions such as Savings for Transformation (S4T), which has empowered families, and communities to come out of poverty and economic hardship, improve their well-being to better care for their dependents.”
He continued, “On this day, 4,526 Savings for Transformation groups comprising 117,890 members (26,654 men, 91,236 women) cannot hide their joy on the decision made some years back to join a Savings for Transformation group in their community which has made them more economically resilient.”
Some beneficiaries of the scheme and their dependents shared their experiences as regards the impact the scheme has had on their lives:
According to 14-year-old Assibi from Zebilla the S4T group has helped her mother to take care of her. ”If not because of the group my mother would not have been able to provide my educational needs and I would have been a school dropout like my elder brother.”
To 39-year-old Vida of the Asakblis group in the Zoayaga community of Bawku West District, the decision to join the S4T has yielded good dividends. “Since joining the group in my community, my shea butter business has grown bigger and better and I am able to make more money to take care of my children. Previously I used to process less than 20kg of shea butter monthly but I have now accessed loans from my group which has enabled me to produce and sell more than 50kg of shea butter monthly.
"I raised some money from my S4T group to expand my maize farm and also buy agricultural inputs for production and this has increased my maize yield. I now boast of food for my children throughout the year. Life is becoming more meaningful,” said Madam Abiba from the Woloyili community in the Wa West district.
As World Vision Ghana and its beneficiary groups celebrate their achievements thus far, records from the Ghana Living Standard Survey Round 7 report, 2018 shows that poverty rate still stands at 23.4% with inequalities and disparities widespread in access to economic, social and institutional opportunities across the country with many people living on less than $1.25 a day.
Again the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), indicates that three-in-four children (73.4%) in Ghana are multi-dimensionally poor, facing at least three deprivations at the same time. With COVID-19, climate change, floods, unemployment and conflicts, more people including children have been pushed into extreme poverty making the progress on reducing poverty far too slow to meet the SDG 1 aspiration of ending poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030 (World Bank, 2020).
World Vision Ghana thus takes the opportunity offered by the occasion to advocate on behalf of most vulnerable children and their parents for; a more sustainable safety net programs in the country targeting the right people, increased investment in poverty reduction initiatives, protection of biodiversity to support sustainable livelihood for families, strong collaboration and co-ordination among stakeholders and a commitment by all to help end poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030.