The Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) has presented start-up kits and cash amounts to 131 poor people from some selected communities in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region.
The GH¢ 77,335.67 forms part of efforts made in reducing poverty among the poor in rural Ghanaian communities.
The JSDF is a social intervention programme funded by the Japanese Government and the World Bank in partnership with the Government of Ghana and implemented by the Ghana Social Opportunities Programme [GSOP].
The target communities are those who were once beneficiaries of other pro-poor programmes implemented by the state such as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty [LEAP] and GSOP.
The Bongo District Chief Executive [DCE], Mr Peter Ayinbisa Ayamga, in his remarks at a brief presentation ceremony held in Bongo, said the Government of Ghana had resolved to reduce poverty levels drastically in the coming years and indicated that the JSDF was a strategic partner.
He recalled the JSDF entry into the district in 2016, where several hundreds of rural folks including persons with disabilities benefited from technical training in weaving, shea butter extraction, animal farming and soap production among others.
Mr Ayamga noted that the judicious use of the assistance given to the people of Bongo would help to off-load the burden on government in the areas of employment and job creation as these beneficiaries were expected to become masters over time and also engage others in their businesses.
The DCE explained that, the implementers arranged with suppliers for the items making up the start-up kits so that the moment beneficiaries received their cash, they turned to the suppliers and purchase the items under the observation of the JSDF desk officers and GSOP officials. The reason, he added, was to avoid the situation where people receive these monies and go to misapply them.
He hinted that the JSDF would wean off its beneficiaries by August 2018 and advised the beneficiaries to live up to expectation so that Government could justify its bid in making a case for a possible extension and expansion of the intervention.
Desk Officer in charge of the JSDF/GSOP at the Bongo District Assembly, Mr. Sibaway Ahmed in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) disclosed that the day’s presentation was the second batch of beneficiaries. He added that few months ago they presented cash and kits to the tune of GHc263, 097.00 to the first batch of the beneficiaries.
Mr Ahmed said prior to the disbursements, the beneficiaries who were carefully selected based on a criterion of either being poor or disadvantaged among other considerations, were taken through several weeks of skills and vocational training under collaboration between GSOP and the Assembly with technical support from other stakeholders.
He said the Assembly constituted a three-member team comprising chiefs, a women leader and religious leaders for each beneficiary community to assist in verifying applicants who truly qualified to receive the support.