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21.09.2005 General News

Italian Ambassador inaugurates school for refugees

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Accra, Sept. 21, GNA - The Italian Ambassador in Ghana Mr Fabrizio De Agostini on Tuesday inaugurated a new 72,000 dollars school block at the Buduburam Refugee Settlement.

The Italian Embassy in consultation with the Ministry of Finance provided 62,885 dollars with the remainder being provided by Ricerca E Cooperazione, an Italian non-governmental organisation, and the refugee community.

The project was born out of an initiative by a group of Liberian refugees with a non-profit organisation called Children Better Way, a statement from United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Accra said on Wednesday.

The project formed part of a comprehensive programme by UNHCR and its partners to provide quality education for the Buduburam community. Under the programme UNHCR has vigorously pursued various efforts, including educational surveys, support to effective instructional delivery, infrastructure development and introduction of life skills and peace education.

The statement said: "Within the framework of the on-going voluntary repatriation of Liberian refugees, who form the core population in Buduburam, efforts like these are critical to support UNHCR's goal of ensuring well-prepared and sustainable refugee return. "Empowering refugees in the country of asylum with education and other transferable skills is a key investment in peace and stability for Liberia and the Sub-Region.

The statement said: "In this regard, UNHCR has built five additional six-classroom blocks with a teachers' resource centre. In addition, it has facilitated the training of some 400 primary and nursery teachers as well as provided teaching aids including 5,379 dual desks, 350 teachers' tables, 500 teachers chairs, some 500,000 exercise books, 30,000 textbooks, stationery, mimeographing machines, photocopiers and typewriters.

"Further, UNHCR worked closely with the Ghana Education Service to take inventory of and assess the available educational facilities in Buduburam. This exercise provided a map of areas that require immediate attention and it is in this vein that the Italian Embassy in consultation with the Ministry of Finance has provided the bulk of the funding for the project."

The project, which is dubbed: "The Enhancing Primary Education Project", seeks to utilise strategies such as participatory learning, capacity-building, collaborative management and gender sensitivity for effective implementation.

"In co-operation with the donors, beneficiary communities and the Government, emphasis is placed on a broad-based integrated community development approach. This will ensure a dual gain for both refugee children and Ghanaian children in the area, the statement said.

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