Accra, May 30, GNA – Four Australian volunteers were on Friday welcomed into the country by Ms Joanna Adamson, Australia High Commissioner in Ghana.
The four, who are in the country under the Australian Volunteers for International Development Programme (AVIDP), would be attached to host organizations including Africa Regional Technical Assistance Centre (AFRITAC)-West 2, Western Regional Network of NGOs (WERENGO), Cheerful Hearts Foundation and the Hunger Project for a year.
In an interactive session at her residence in Accra, Ms Adamson explained that the Volunteers would work to promote sustainable economic growth, and strengthen civil society activities by offering their skills in economic and statistical research, community engagement, as well as help in monitoring and evaluation of projects.
According to Ms Adamson, the AVIDP was fully funded by the Australian government through its Foreign Affairs and Trade, and it aims to provide a responsive and flexible way for its government to respond to development needs in selected developing countries.
She said the Australian government has since May 2010, funded 80 professional volunteers, supporting averagely 20 organisations per year, and that there was currently 25 Australian volunteers located across seven regions.
Ms Adamson said investment in volunteers has been a part of Australia’s larger strategy to support agricultural productivity, effective governance of mineral resources, and to promote shared long-term prosperity in Ghana.
This, she said, has led to a further strengthening of Australia’s partnership with Ghana.
Ms Adamson recounted some success stories of the programme, which include the support given by a volunteer through Care International, to promote equal educational opportunities for boys and girls in 70 cocoa-growing communities in the Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo Regions.
Other successes were through the use of interactive workshops and performances to engage, educate and support commercial sex workers in Old Fadama in Accra, to secure safer employments, and also promote the formation and support of a Shea-butter women’s organisation in Wa in the Upper West Region.
This Shea-butter organization is to empower the women to be able to negotiate for fairer prices and a boost in production to fulfil international contracts and improve their incomes and livelihoods.