24.03.2004 Regional News

Sensitisation workshop on HIPC opens

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Kumasi, March 24, GNA- A two-day sensitisation workshop on the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) sponsored by Social Enterprise Development (SEND) Foundation of West Africa, opened in Kumasi on Monday.

About 40 representatives of various Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations from various districts in the Ashanti region are attending the workshop.

It aims at educating the participants on the content of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) and more importantly to equip them with the skills to be able to examine the content of the document from the perspective of the poor and the voiceless.

Addressing the participants, Mr Charles Sakyi, Deputy Director of the Centre for Development of People (CEDEP), a human development organisation in Kumasi, said under the Ghana HIPC Initiative, financial savings accruing to the country would be used to support programmes and projects approved within the context of the GPRS programme.

He said one way of ensuring the success of the GPRS programme was to support the government's commitment to public accountability in the use of the HIPC funds through grassroots participation, monitoring and reporting on poverty and HIPC related revenues and expenditures.

Mr Sakyi therefore, hoped that the workshop will put the participants in a position to develop a checklist on the basis of key indicators for monitoring and evaluating HIPC funded projects.

Mr John Kwadwo Owusu, Chairman of the Ashanti region Network of NGOs and Co-ordinator of the workshop, was grateful to SEND Foundation for its active involvement as well as collaboration with other civil organisations in supporting the country's process of democratisation. He observed that the policy of participatory democracy has instituted a lot of measures to create an enabling environment for the involvement of other organisations in the development process. Mr Owusu said this places onerous responsibilities on NGOs particularly to effectively support programmes and policies, which go to enhance the development of the communities.

Mr Kuupiel Cuthbert, Advocacy Programme Manager of SEND and Mr Mohammed Issah, Trade Research and Advocacy Officer of SEND, in different presentations, said the foundation sees the GPRS as an important document, which every individual and organisations must know what it entails and their roles to achieve the national goal of reducing poverty.

Mr Jonathan Azasu, a resource person from the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), said the NDPC has set various targets for each of the areas of identified problems and strategies to address them.

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