Koforidua, Aug 14 GNA - Forty District Planning and Budget Officers drawn from the Eastern Region on Tuesday attended a day’s strategic planning workshop in Koforidua organized by The Hunger Project-Ghana (THP).
The workshop followed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Municipal and District Assemblies in THP operational areas to integrate THP’s epicenter community development strategy into the Medium Term Development Plans (MTDPs) of the Assemblies.
The workshop aimed to discuss and agree on modalities for providing the necessary technical support through the decentralized departments to ensure the integration and sustainability of the strategy.
Dr Naana Agyeman-Mensah, Country Director of the Hunger Project-Ghana, used the opportunity to thank the assemblies for their partnership and support in the implementation of community development programmes through which most communities had been mobilized and empowered to embark on sustainable and self-reliant development.
She indicated that partnership with Local Government was one of the key pillars of the Hunger Project’s Epicenter community development strategy.
“It is our belief that the long term sustainability of the Epicenter strategy depends on the collaboration and co-operation of the Assemblies, which are the planning and development authorities at the local level, as well as the extent to which the strategy is anchored within the
decentralized governance system”.
Dr Agyeman-Mensah noted that it was in line with that recognition that the Hunger Project-Ghana instituted the Municipal/District Assemblies Consultative Forum, which had been held annually since 2007, except 2010, with the aim of providing a platform for formalizing and strengthening THP’s partnership with the Assemblies.
She indicated that at the last consultative meeting, which was held in January this year, a MOU was agreed upon between the assemblies, Epicenter communities and THP-Ghana, which outlined the roles and responsibilities of the three parties.
Dr Agyeman-Mensah said the development and signing of the MOU was not intended to be an end in itself but the beginning of forging a long term and a more strategic alliance that committed the Assemblies, THP and the Epicenter communities to their respective responsibilities
and obligations in a transparent and accountable way.
“However, this objective is not likely to be fully achieved if the essential elements of the MOU are not mainstreamed into the Medium Term District Development Plans and budgets, which are currently the blueprints for district development in Ghana”.
She said it was therefore to achieve that end, that the workshop was organized to brainstorm on the best approach to integrating the MOU, and for that matter THP’s Epicenter strategy into the MTDPs.
Mr Isaac Baah Olesu-Adjei, Partnership Building and Resource Mobilization Officer, THP-Ghana, said through the MOU, the Epicenter agreed among others to ensure that the land allocated for Epicenter construction was fully demarcated and all user rights by the local communities
guaranteed before construction process starts.
The MOU was also to sensitize communities towards initiation of community development projects and mobilize local communities to provide local materials such as sand, stones, wood, labour and water towards project construction.