Bolgatanga, Dec. 30, GNA - BONABOTO, an elite pressure group of citizens from Bolgatanga, Nabdam, Bongo and Tongo in the Upper East Region on Thursday, officially began its fourth annual congress with emphasis on mapping up strategies to ensure that, education is given the ultimate priority in the area.
The congress themed: "Education For All In The BONABOTO Area, Myth or Reality", is being attended by delegates from all over the region. Mr Mahami Salifu, Upper East Regional Minister, who opened the congress, prevailed on the delegates to use their expertise to mend the cracks in some sections of the society arising out of political differences and party affiliations, adding, "we must come out of the election euphoria more united than before."
He further called on the delegates to extend their expertise to educate the people to initiate development projects relevant to their needs before looking up to government to fill the missing gaps. The minister said, the one time voluntary spirit in the region is fading off and needs to be revitalized, adding that, projects such as those sponsored by the European Union and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are demand-driven and require community commitment before they can be executed.
He said the implications are that communities that lack the self-help spirit would forego such development projects that seek to reduce poverty thereby bringing untold hardships to the people, who are already stricken by abject poverty.
On education, Mr Salifu said it still remains at the top of the agenda of his administration and said the assemblies have been directed to make available the necessary incentives to attract teachers to accept postings to rural areas. He called on the membership of BONABOTO to scout for such teachers and encourage them to accept postings to rural communities in the region.
The Minister charged the congress to give priority to environmental issues and deliberate extensively on the issue to ensure that there is a drastic change in the attitude of the people on bush burning in the region, especially the BONABOTO area.
The Catholic Bishop of the Navrongo-Bolatanga Diocese, The Most Reverend Lucas Abadamloora, who delivered the keynote address, urged the congress to include non-formal education in their deliberations in their bid to look at education in the area in its totality.
Bishop Abadamloora noted that, the region especially the BONABOTO area was a heterogeneous one, made up of people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, and urged the congress to make decisions that would also take into consideration the needs of all.
He prayed for a successful congress and appealed to the leadership of BONABOTO to consider the growing population of street children and women, and to explore solutions to curb the situation adding that, the church is doing its part, despite the financial constraints. The National Chairman of BONABOTO, Mr Vitus Azeem, reiterated the importance of education in development and said the area is far behind as compared to other places in the country. He said it was the people of the area themselves who could bridge the wide gap.
He expressed concern at the lukewarm attitude of members towards contributions to the Association's educational fund and called on them to show commitment to ensure that the less privileged in the area got access to education.
BONABOTO aims among other things to bring development to the area and serves as a pressure group in the Gurune speaking areas of the Upper East Region.