MMDAs urged to sustain gains in the RING project

Tamale The United States Agency for International Development (USAID-Ghana) has urged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in northern Ghana to support and sustain the interventions and gains made through the Resiliency in Northern Ghana (RING) project.

Mr Steve Hendrix, the Deputy Mission Director of USAID-Ghana, said this would help improve the livelihoods of the citizenry as well as strengthen the decentralisation processes for sustainable development.

He said this on Thursday in Tamale at a stakeholder engagement to climax the five-year implementation of the RING project.

It was on the theme: “Lessons Learnt from Strategic Partnership with Local Government and Community Stakeholders to Build Resilient Families”.

RING is a five-year project that contributes to the efforts Ghana and the United States to sustainably reduce poverty and malnutrition.

USAID established the RING project in 2014, in partnership with the Northern Regional Co-ordinating Council (NRCC) and some other 17 MMDAs to provide integrated and cross-sectoral programmes.

This is aimed at improving the livelihoods and nutritional status of vulnerable households in the 17 MMDAs.

Mr Hendrix said the USAID RING project had supported districts to build their public financial management and monitoring and evaluation systems.

“In 2018, one of the USAID-RING districts; Nanumba North, received the second highest national score of 98 per cent in the District Performance Assessment, conducted by the Ministry of Local Government. As a result the District received GH 1.2 million to implement district priorities,” he said.

The project had also supported the NRCC to develop the Northern Regional Management Information System to provide data on health, education, agriculture, and welfare among others for policy makers and stakeholders to drive decisions.

It had helped to improve on outcomes in nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), agriculture, and government activities among others, Mr Hendrix said.

Touching on the nutritional outcomes, he said under weight babies had decreased from 13 per cent in 2015 to four per cent in 2017, adding that since 2014, 535 new communities in northern Ghana had been certified “Open Defecation Free”.

Mr Andrew Levin, the Technical Director for Food Security and Agriculture for Global Communities, said the Global Communities, as the Technical Assistance Contractor for RING, had effectively guided the project to ensure successful implementation in all its focus areas to support the most vulnerable households in finding their pathway to resilience.

He said interventions such as the Village Savings and Loans Association, implemented by RING, had built social cohesion among families and supported them to expand access to savings and credit, especially in most remote communities.

Hajia Alima Mahama, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, in a speech read on her behalf, said the RING project, through capacity training and logistics support, had brought services of the decentralized system much closer to the people at the grassroots.

She gave the assurance that the MMDAs would transfer the skills and practices they had acquired to support other government initiatives like the Planting for Food and Export.

Mr Solomon Boar, the North East Regional Minister, commended the USAID for complementing government’s efforts and called on more donor agencies to support northern Ghana to achieve sustainable development.

Source: Ghana News Agency