Tamale, May 9, GNA-- A forum on the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) has been held in Tamale to see how best they could help accelerate the pace of development and poverty reduction in the three Northern regions and the Savannah Belt of Ghana. The programme sought to address the welfare and the interest of women and children who are the most vulnerable and under-served in the poverty-prone areas of the three regions. The Institute of Policy Alternatives (IPA), a Tamale-based civil society organization organized the programme with women leaders and other civil society groups to discuss the process of engendering the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority and to establish a sound basis for preparing gender-based responses to the development challenges of the savannah belt.
Participants included representatives from District Gender Offices, leaders of the Women's Departments of the Ministry of Women and Children (MOWAC) in the three Northern regions, key NGO representatives from the regions as well as Regional Economic Planning Officers from the Regional Coordinating Councils of the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.
Discussing the overall strategy of SADA, the Technical Team Leader, Dr. James Jebuni, emphasized the need for a strong gender strategy to ensure that the vulnerable groups could be assisted to take advantage of economic policies intended to reduce poverty. Dr. Sulley Gariba, Executive Director of IPA addressing the stakeholders in a round table discussion stressed the importance of the establishment of SADA and that, it would address the poverty situation of the north to alleviate the plight of the people. He said it was important to begin processes towards the preparation of a long term comprehensive sustainable development strategy for Northern Ghana, and called for the need to identify key issues on gender and the core guiding principles for incorporating gender considerations in the SADA in order to propose relevant strategies and entry points for gender-based programming to address the gander gap in SADA. Madam Francisca Issaka, Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Sustainable Development Initiative (CENSUDI), a Bolgatanga-based NGO expressed happiness of the consultation process that preceded the development of SADA. She stressed the importance of engendering the principles of SADA, which was aimed at reducing poverty and to create assets among the poor and the vulnerable to ensure that gender inequity was eliminated. Participants appealed to the government to facilitate in the early implementation of SADA to address the development gap between the north and the south, which would also help in solving the numerous conflicts recurring in the place. Others who contributed said the economic development of Northern Ghana depended largely on making provisions for secure and equitable access to land and other productive resources by women to ensure that investments would benefit women and other vulnerable persons in society. 09 May 09