“Stand up and Take Action,” a campaign against poverty and inequality has been launched by the Christian Council of Ghana to impress upon governments and policy implementers to redouble efforts towards halving poverty by the year 2015.
The campaign, which is in support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), is to further remind governments of their promises to end poverty and achieve the stipulated goal by the set date of 2015.
Launching the campaign in Accra last Thursday, Right Reverend Robert Aboagye-Mensah, the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Ghana, said though a lot had been done to reduce poverty in the country, there was still more to be done.
“Though we have gone past the halfway mark to 2015, the target for achieving the MDGs, there is still a long way to go in some parts of Africa and time is running out,” he said.
The campaign, which would run from October 17 to 19, 2008, would afford all Ghanaians the opportunity to be involved in the process of realisation that time is running out and be involved in eradicating poverty through self-education.
Rt. Rev. Aboagye-Mensah explained that the scope of action on attaining the MDGs was broad and depended on what was relevant for each national context.
Therefore, he said, the campaign group would develop petitions, SMS campaign, phone calls to local government representatives, hold face-to-face meetings with parliamentarians as well as local and national leaders.
The Presiding Bishop noted that education was key to eradicating poverty and ensuring equality among the population.
Rt. Rev. Aboagye-Mensah said soon Ghana would need great expertise including skilled labour in managing its oil extraction, which could bring great wealth to those, who embraced the challenge and took advantage by seeking further education in that direction.
He said developing countries were being called to implement time-bound MDGs based on national development strategies, plans and budgetary allocations to improve implementation and delivery mechanisms with a strong focus on poor and excluded groups, particularly women and produce concrete plans.
“Strategies to create and implement plans for increased transparency, accountability and fighting for corruption are also paramount,” he said.
He said the Council had had a series of consultations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank where both agreed on the importance of poverty eradication through education.
Rt. Rev. Aboagye-Mensah urged school dropouts to enrol in skill training programmes to enable them to develop their potentials so that they would live a self-sufficient life.
Mr Nicholas Amponsah, a representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) called on the media to be committed to the publications of articles on the MDGs to further educate the public on various achievements so far and other strategies towards poverty reduction.
He also reiterated the importance of education to ensure a timely attainment of the set goals.
Mr Kofi Asare of the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) however expressed regret over the current poor state of education in the country, saying the student-teacher population was nothing to write home about.
He said the number of school dropouts was increasing at such an alarming rate that if care was not taken to halt the situation, it would derail other important programmes.
He urged government to critically look at the state of formal education and make maximum effort to correct the numerous problems such as inadequate number of trained teachers to correspond the student population, teaching manuals as well as text books.