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02.07.2002 General News

Annan Centre to train economically challenged kids

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A centre to train young children between 14 and 17 years who come out of school but do not have a hope of continuing their education because their parents cannot pay their school fees, has been commissioned at Ajumako-Afranse in the Central Region.

The centre, Kofi Annan Technical and Vocational Centre, named after the UN Secretary-General, is also to help “young rural boys and girls who are roaming aimlessly in the urban or large rural towns” as well as those who do not have any skills but are willing to have a second chance of learning experience.”

In an address, the General Secretary of the Construction and Building Material Union of the Trade Unions Congress (CBMWU/TUC), Brother Pius Quainoo, observed that in Ghana, women are under represented exploited , and their efforts under-valued in the construction sector even though they are an important force for bringing new ideas and a new energy in the national development effort .He therefore said “prior consideration will be given to young girls' enrolment, starting from twenty percent upwards steadily rising until parity in gender in enrolment becomes the norm.” This, he noted, is because his Union believes that creating avenues for the girl child means creating the conditions for the nation to make use of all its assets which all stand to benefit.

He said that CBMWU/TUC resolved in its last National Delegate Conference held in August, 2000 that it would play more proactive role to enhance the skills of people in geographical areas where the poor reside most so that they could join the construction sector and contribute meaningfully towards the alleviation of poverty in order to create wealth and improve their living standard.

“It came out as a coincidence that we entered into social contract with one of the most deprived areas in the country, Ajumako district. In selecting Ajumako-Afranse, the CBMWU/TUC found out that the economically active people have deserted the village and migrated to the cities and towns and that the permanently residents inhabitants were traditional peasant farmers engaged in subsistence farming with primitive tools of hoes and cutlasses. He noted that the main reasons females shied away from construction trades were because gender discrimination is practised and encouraged in their up-bringing and that occupational segregation was enforced through formal education and in employment. He was sure that the females would be encouraged to branch into fields traditionally considered to be male jobs to earn higher remuneration.

“The strategic intervention we settled on was to prioritize technical and vocational education as a means to empower the youth of the area to acquire skills and careers that could create jobs to be able to arrest the rural-urban drift,” Quainoo stated.

He quoted Kofi Annan who said that 'poverty begins with even one child denied his/her education,' adding “the near state of helplessness for the parents and their children which was a result of social neglect could and should be reversed for education and universal literacy should be a right and provided by society for all without discrimination.”

The chief of Ajumako-Afranse, Nana Kwa Numa IV, expressed similar gratitude and assured the gathering of his people's willingness to contribute direct labour and in kind to ensure the completion of the project .He urged the youth of the area to avail themselves of the facilities when the project is finished. The Central Regional Minister, Isaac Edumadze was full of praise for the Dutch sponsors of the project and assured the people that the regional administration will continue to assist with any facilities to realise the project. The facilities, according to him, include the extension of the electrical power grid to the communities within some months and the provision of qualified personnel to run the centre.

Youth and Sports Minister, Osei Kwaku said the centre would be adopted as the youth Leadership and Employable skill s Training Centre for the Central Region so that the youth in the region could be prepared for the future. He pledged ¢100 million cedis towards the maintenance of the centre. Jan Schullar , Leader of the Dutch Philanthropists' Group urged the youth of Ajumako to consider the project as their own and nurture it as they wished.

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