28.05.2005 Regional News

Zabzugu Vocational Training School gets UNICEF assistance

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Zabzugu (N/R), May 28, GNA - The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has provided 75 hand sewing machines and 30 textile hand weaving looms with accessories worth 142.5 million cedis to the Zabzugu Vocational Training School.

The donation is to ease the financial pressure on parents who would have to provide these materials to help their wards for the completion of their courses and graduation.

Madam Alice Attah, Acting Project Director of Buchwater Memorial Competence Centre (BUMCO) announced this at the graduation of 68 girls of the Assemblies of God Relief and Development Services (AGREDS) Vocational Training School at Zabzugu in the Zabzugu/Tatale District on Friday.

The girls are the first batch of trainees to undergo skills training in dress making in the district.

Madam Attah said one of the problems facing developing countries like Ghana was the inability of their economies to generate and sustain employment for the youth.

Mr Ivan Gam, Zabzugu/Tatale District Coordinating Director said the provision of vocational skills to make the youth self-employed was the surest way to reduce poverty and increase income levels in the rural communities.

He said it was in view of this that the government had geared its policies and programmes towards the provision of vocational skills training for the people to enable them to meet their basic requirements such as payment of school and medical fees and the provision of food and shelter.

The District Coordinating Director advised the graduands to form groups to be able to source credit from NGOs, micro-credit institutions and District Assemblies to promote their businesses. Mr Gam announced that the District Assembly would benefit from the Rural Enterprises Project this year.

He said under the programme, a business development centre would be established to give training and build the capacities of small and medium scale enterprises to enhance their business. He commended AGREDS and UNICEF for their collaborative efforts in getting the Vocational School established in the area and assured them of the Assembly's continued support and cooperation.

Mr Martin Alfa, Head of Programmes of AGREDS said, in 1994 a study was commissioned to find out the root causes of unemployment and the mass exodus of the youth, particularly girls from Northern Ghana, to the cities in the South to become head porters, popularly called "Kayayee". He said following the study an intervention project was designed in 1997 to train street girls in Accra.

He said the programme had since been expanded to cover Yendi, Nanumba, Zabzugu/Tatale, Gushiegu/Karaga and Saboba/Chereponi Districts, all in the Eastern corridor of the Northern Region where about 60 per cent of the 25,000 street girls in Accra were known to come from. Dr Elias Massesa, the UNICEF Resident Programme Officer said beginning from January next year, the Fund would start another country programme of cooperation between the government of Ghana covering education, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, as well as child rights protection.

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