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27.11.2005 Regional News

NGO support benefits elite than the poor - Dep Minister

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Gushiegu, (N/R), Nov. 27, GNA - Mr. Mohammed Amin Adam, Deputy Northern Regional Minister, has noted that NGO activities tend to benefit the elite and middle class rather more than the poor in the region.

He said the "Voices of the Poor" a study by the Institute for Policy Alternative (IPA) an NGO on public perception about NGOs in the region indicated that the poor on whose wings the NGOs derived their financial support were alienated.

Mr. Adam raised these concerns at the 10th anniversary of the School for Life (SFL), a Danish NGO involved in the promotion of education in the Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions at Gushiegu, The SFL organises functional literacy programmes for children between the ages of eight and 14 years in rural communities who otherwise would not have had any access to education. It has provided functional literacy to 63,607 out of school children, 70 per cent of whom had been integrated into the formal school system.

One major factor that has contributed to the success of SFL is the use of the "mother tongue" as both the literacy language in the class and as the language of instruction, which had proved to be most efficient in teaching.

Mr. Adam, however, was quick to say that other studies on the issue had proved contrary that some NGOs including the SFL had been found to be true friends and savers of the poor in the region.

He commended SFL for its good work and for showing faith with the people, especially in the areas of education and conflict-resolution. Mr. Adam also commended the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), which had been the main financer of the SFL programmes over the past years and appealed to other NGOs to support the programme, which had now been extended to the Upper East and Upper West Regions. Mr. Mahama Abukari, District Chief Executive of Gushiegu, said the District had witnessed a significant improvement in educational infrastructure in the communities SFL operated, which had helped reduce the burden on the District Assembly.

He said SFL classes had also helped to improve the participation of the people with NGOs to initiate development projects while there had been a significant increase in the number of women playing leadership roles, especially in the areas of community development and water and sanitation.

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