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19.03.2009 Regional News

Kassena-Nankana District in Focus

By William N-lanjerborr Jalulah - Ghanaian Chronicle

THE KASSENA-NANKANA District Assembly is one of the nine (9) assemblies in the Upper East Region. The District shares boundaries to the North with Kassena-Nankana West District and Burkina Faso, to the East with Kassena-Nankana West district and Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly, to the West with the Builsa District and South by the West Mamprusi District (in the Northern Region).

The population of the Kassena-Nankana District is estimated to be 92,188 with a population density of 92 persons per square kilometer.

Agriculture is the mainstay of the local economy and accounts for about 68% of the employable population. The remaining 32% is made up of public servants, traders, food processors and small-scale artisans.

A substantial number of the people become underemployed during the agricultural off-season, resulting in some of them migrating out of the district thus minimizing labour availability for communal work during the period of emigration.

Before exiting office recently, the then District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr. Emmanuel Chegeweh, also known as 'Focus', told Upper East File that his district was one of the best in the country in terms of governance, accountability and high performance.

He said some of the areas that the assembly has spent so much on were education, health, agriculture, good governance, roads, water/sanitation, electricity and roads.

On education, Mr. Chegeweh said a good number of schools have been put up since he came into office in 2005 as the former DCE. Most of these structures were sited in the deprived areas where there were no proper structures to accommodates students/pupils.

Presently, there are 37 functioning primary schools throughout the district. Junior High Schools are 20 with only 6 Senior High Schools and 2 Vocational Training Institutions, 22 Day Care Centres, one Teacher Training College, and the Navrongo Campus of University for Development Studies (UDS), all located in the district.

Some of the primary and Junior High Schools were built during the tenure of office of Focus. Some of them included the construction in 2006 of 1 No. 3-Unit class room block with an office and store each at Pungu, Pinda and Navrongo respectively.

Mr. Chegeweh also mentioned some of the ongoing school blocks as 3-unit classroom block for Gia and Tedam JHSs at Gia and Paga respectively, 6-unit classroom block for Gayingo primary school at Gayingo, 1 6 classroom block for Mirigu primary at Mirigu.

Others included 1 1-6 classroom block and 2. 2-seater KVIP toilet at Yua-Gingringo, construction of 1 3-unit classroom block at Nayagnia and rehabilitation of 3 School blocks at Amengo-Etego, Abulu, and Paga-Bonia. Still on education, Focus observed that the introduction the School Feeding Programme and Capitation Grant have contributed to immense increment of enrolment at the basic school level.

He also acknowledged the contributions of the District Wide Assistant Project (DWAP), the World Bank, Ghana Educational Trust Fund (GETfund) and HIPC Fund in the construction of educational infrastructures.

Brilliant but needy students at basic levels and about 100 Nurse Trainees, as well as Teacher Trainees were also supported. The assembly was now also supporting some of the Medical students with the hope that they may come back to serve in the district upon their completion.

Touching on health, Mr. Chegeweh said the assembly, with the assistance of District Assembly Common Fund (DACF), DWAP and JICA, was able to put up about 40 health centres, accommodation and solar facilities.

War Memorial Hospital at Navrongo was also supported with money to procure bed nets, chairs and other facilities to establish HIV/AIDS Centre and a Blood Bank.

The Member of Parliament for the area, Mr. Joseph Adda, also assisted the assembly to provide electricity to some of the rural communities and street lights at War Memorial Hospital, and some parts of Navrongo. Meanwhile, Rural Electrification Project was supplying electricity to the rural folks.

The then DCE disclosed that the assembly procured 13 tractors to address key challenges in agriculture. These machines operated at 20% of commercial rates to make it affordable for farmers to expand their scales of farming. These tractors have also aided farmers to cultivate and harvest their crops early enough to before the rainy season ended. They also used them to cart their farm produce to the market centres and homes. He said five of the tractors were given out to the newly created Kassena-Nankana West District for similar purposes.

Mr. Chegeweh said the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the assembly supported farmers with water pumps, rice seeds, fertilizers and other inputs which have boosted their yields over the years.

Five dams at Manyoro, Kayoro, Kandiga, Pungu and Vnania were rehabilitated to boost dry season farming and also serve as source of drinking water for livestock.

On roads, Focus said since 2005 to 2008, major roads in the district were reconstructed. Some of them were; Kandiga-Bembiisi, Navrongo-Kajelo, Nyangua-Navio, Sirigu-Yua, Nabango-Gumingo, Katiu-Kayoro, Nakolo Junction to Nakoloto-Nakolo, Nayagnia to Mirigu, Paga to Sirigu (with several culverts) among others.

On water/sanitation, Mr. Chegeweh said 100 wells have been fitted with rope pumps, disclosing that an order had been placed for another 100 more to be supplied. About 90 boreholes were also drilled. Meanwhile, the district sanitation unit has been supported by the assembly annually, to procure cleaning materials.

While 90 Kumasi Ventilated Improved Pit (KVIP) toilets were put up by the assembly, a solid and liquid waste disposal site was also acquired for proper disposal of waste.

Touching on good governance, Focus revealed that pavilions were provided for all the 10 paramount chiefs in the district. Public Address System was purchased by the assembly, furnishing of DCE's bungalow, and regravelling and compacting of administrative Court Yard.

By dint of hard work, dedication, commitment and resilience, Mr. Chegeweh won a national award in 2008 for his contribution to reducing child labour in the country. For him, the best way to address the district and the nation's problems was for good strategies to be developed and used effectively in agriculture.