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Opinions Sun, 16 Jun 2013

The Upside Of The GYEEDA Program

By Nana Kow Blankson


June 10, 2013


The Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Development Agency (GYEEDA), has gotten beat in the media lately, and as a result, many people are losing out of the beauty and the benefits that have inured to thousands of Ghanaians since the program was introduced in 2006.


As one of the many social intervention programs aimed at upgrading the status of the poor and vulnerable in the Ghanaian social strata, GYEEDA, has done its little bit by helping to curtail the rising rate of unemployment among the youth in the country.


For instance, the waste and sanitation unit of GYEEDA which started with barely 2,000 core staff has generated the highest number of employment for the youth with a project staff of over 43,000 people.

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Today, one will not miss out seeing workers of the waste and sanitation unit of the GYEEDA busily and assiduously sweeping public places, de-silting of chocked and stinking drains, weeding of bushy medians on major and minor highways, engaged in the collection of refuse from markets and other areas among others. If even you do not see anything good about GYEEDA, these are worthy tasks you cannot blink your eyes and pretend not to recognize.


No Ghanaian can run away from the fact that before GYEEDA came on stream, the sanitation issue in Ghana was nothing to write home about. In fact, we were all complaining while holding our noses as the sanitation issue in the country continued to deteriorate.


Even though GYEEDA has been fraught with some challenges, no one can run away from the fact that, the sanitation awareness in the country has been raised with many communities in the country doing their little bit by not only helping to improve sanitation in their locals but also creating awareness about the dangers associated with improper waste management.


It is important to note that before GYEEDA came on board, the country’s waste management was left in the hands of the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) who woefully lacked the needed capacity to adequately manage the amount of waste generated in the country.


As a result, the country was besieged with mountain heaps of refuse everywhere with buzzing flies, vultures and other animals. Until GYEEDA came to the rescue, simply put, it was a total eyesore.

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A simple technology introduced by Zoomlion with manual and motorized tricycles and “borla” taxis clearing heaps of refuse from vantage points has since played a major role in salvaging the deteriorating sanitation situation in the country.


Even though we are not there yet, by way of giving the all-clear that the management of sanitation in the country has reached the zenith improvement, we can all at least applaud GYEEDA for stopping the decay that reached explosive levels some eight years ago.


Another area worthy of mention is the promotion of good sanitary practices through concerted education. While many Ghanaians are today aware of their sanitary obligation by way of waste and refuse disposal, they are also very much aware of the sanctions that go with indiscriminate dumping of refuse.


Through the GYEEDA sanitation and waste management unit, we have all seen a remarkable improvement in the collection, haulage and composting/recycling of the waste to the landfill sites.


The GYEEDA was rolled out to serve as a temporary employment stop-gap program with the beneficiaries eventually being absorbed into mainstream permanent employment. Even though the GYEEDA has put in place an exit plan for the program, it has been besieged with some problems. Chiefly among the problems is the inability of ready created jobs to absorb the beneficiaries.

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It must however be noted that Zoomlion has absorbed some of the beneficiaries into Zoom Captains and drivers, while some districts have also employed some beneficiaries as tricycle supervisors. Others who started as sweepers now owe their own “Borla” Taxis as private service providers.


In order to make the program a lot more meaningful, Zoomlion has also introduced Zoom Captain Project which trains some of the beneficiaries in the operation of heavy duty machines. In addition, some female beneficiaries of the GYEEDA program who started as sweepers were sponsored to China for training and are now operating heavy duty machines such as bulldozers and excavators.


These are issues which Ghanaians need to know so that we do not kill the hen which is still laying its eggs. The GYEEDA may have some problems to contend with, but we should not lose sight of the fact that it has brought smiles to many youths who otherwise would have been roaming the country doing practically nothing.


nkowblankson@yahoo.com

Columnist: Blankson, Nana Kow