26.09.2005 Regional News

Fifty attend poverty reduction workshop in Bolgatanga

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Bolgatanga, Sept. 26, GNA - Representatives from the five Catholic Diocese in the northern sector of the country began a three-day workshop at the weekend to discuss ways of helping to reduce poverty in the area. The workshop, which had as its theme, "Good Governance and Poverty Reduction in Northern Ghana", attracted 50 participants from the Tamale Ecclesiastical Province to train people in their various communities on poverty reduction strategies after completing the workshop. They would do this with the objective of reducing over-dependence on others, guiding them in ways of accessing government funding and helping them to be more committed to self-development.

Topics treated included Existing Government Funds for Poverty Reduction and Opportunities for the poor in Northern Ghana, Management and Poverty Reduction, and Building the Capacity of Rural Communities to access existing government funding facilities for poverty reduction. Addressing the participants, Miss Agnes Gandaa, Co-ordinator of the Tamale Ecclesiastical Pastoral Provincial Conference (TEPPCON), said corruption and dishonesty in the system was the cause of increased poverty among the population.

"If we learn to manage and plan with the little we have, we will be better off than cheating and stealing to get rich," she said.

Miss Gandaa asked political party members who contributed to support their parties during elections not to unduly demand compensation when their parties won, as the money they intended to get from the government would be at the expense of all tax paying Ghanaians. She urged politicians to see power as a shared responsibility for the common good of all and not an opportunity to amass wealth. Participants appealed to the government to upgrade health and educational institutions in the northern sector to standards that would meet the needs of the people so that they would not have to go to Kumasi or Accra for medical treatment or better education.

They expressed concern at the poor state of feeder roads in the area, especially the road linking the Upper the East and Upper West regions.

The three-day workshop was organised by TEPPCON, an organisation established by the Bishops of the three northern regions under the theme: "Mission Justice, Peace and Development." It aims at providing a forum for discussions on the socio-economic, political, cultural and pastoral issues affecting the people in the area.