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The Australian High Commission has announced AUD300,000 (GH¢600,000) funding for various social intervention projects in deprived communities in Ghana and other West African countries under its 2013/2014 Direct Aid Programme (DAP).
A total of 14 poverty alleviation projects in education, healthcare and agriculture will receive support under the programme.
One-third of the total budget has already gone into six projects in the country so far, including the construction of a disability assessment clinic in Tamale and a computer laboratory in the Bosome Freho district of the Ashanti Region.
Other countries to benefit from the programme are Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
Speaking in Accra, High Commissioner Joanna Adamson said her country is pleased to be partnering with 14 local and international organisations to make a direct and tangible improvement in the lives of rural-based Ghanaians and other West Africans.
“I’m delighted the Direct Aid Programme is building on the strong links between Australia and other countries in the region. The programme primarily seeks to reduce poverty in remote communities through the provision of social intervention projects. We hope that through this initiative the High Commission will help to better the lives of rural folks in Ghana and other beneficiary West African countries,” she said.
She added that the programme is covering a broad geographic spread this year, to reach out to more beneficiary countries with poverty issues. In Ghana the DAP is, among others, supporting the Bosome Freho District Assembly, in partnership with a non-governmental organisation, to construct a computer laboratory to support teaching and learning at Kokofu Anhwiaso Primary School.
The High Commission is also working with alumni of the Australia Awards programme in Côte d’Ivoire to train disadvantaged and disabled women in Abidjan.
The Direct Aid Programme is a flexible, small grants scheme for development activities administered by the Australian High Commission in Accra. Grant amounts vary from AUD5,000 to AUD30,000.
The emphasis of the programme is poverty reduction, including in the sectors of health, water and sanitation, rural development, sustainable income generation, education, and basic human rights.
Organisations in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo are currently the only West African countries that are eligible to apply.
The programme is Australia’s way of forging productive and beneficial partnerships to address development challenges in West and Central Africa.