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04.12.2005 General News

Emulate American Peace Corps- Dept. Minister

By GNA
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Techiman (B/A) Dec. 4, GNA - Mr. Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister has urged Ghanaians to emulate American Peace volunteers and accept postings to deprived rural areas. He wondered if the volunteers could leave the comfort of their country and come and work not even in the urban areas but in deprived areas of the country, why some Ghanaians should refuse to work in such areas. The Deputy Regional Minister was speaking in Techiman at the swearing in of 49 new American volunteers who had just completed a 10-week training programme to qualify as development volunteers for two years.

They have been posted to deprived rural areas throughout the country to help in small enterprises development, health, water and sanitation, environment and forestry, HIV/AIDS, gender and youth in development.

Mr. Baffour-Awuah expressed regret that this spirit of volunteerism exhibited by the American Peace Corps for the past 44 years in the country, the first in the world to benefit from the services of the volunteers, was lacking among Ghanaians. "If we refuse postings to such deprived places to contribute our quota to the government's development agenda, who else would go there?" he asked.

He said, notwithstanding the difficulties in such areas, the Americans had braced the odds and had quickly adapted to their new environments with ease. "Ghana is our dear and noble country and as our friends from the United States help us to develop it, we must ourselves gird up our loins and redouble efforts to supplement government efforts in pursuance of policies aimed at eliminating, especially poverty and deprivation from our midst, he said.

Mr. Baffour-Awuah stated that the government was vigorously pursuing special initiatives with the view of diversifying the economy, creating wealth and thus reducing poverty.

"The government has also committed itself to infrastructural development, rural development through modernized agriculture, human resource development, provision of social security and above all good governance", he added.

The Deputy Regional Minister stated that it was Ghanaians' obligation as a people "to contribute our quota towards the achievement of these noble objectives and we are happy to find partnership in the Peace Corps and the government of the United States of America".

Mr. Baffour-Awuah expressed gratitude to the volunteers "for their dedication and willingness to live and work in our rural communities, especially in areas where prominent Ghanaians hail from but would not allow their children to accept postings to".

He advised the volunteers to accept their new role as a big challenge, which required dedication, commitment and selflessness and be mindful of the cultural differences that exist between Ghana and the United States and live above reproach.

Madam Pamela Bridgewater, the US Ambassador, who administered the oath to the volunteers urged them to conduct themselves as the "best ambassadors" of their country in Ghana.

She thanked the government of Ghana for accepting the American Peace Corps for the past 44 years in efforts at helping the people to realise their aspirations and to the chiefs and people in Techiman Municipality for hosting the volunteers during their 10-week training. Certificates were presented to the volunteers as well as certificates of appreciation to the host families whom the volunteers stayed with.

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