NABOCADO facilitates Exchange Learning meeting for SILC Groups from Three Districts

Over 50 women from the Builsa North and Nabdam districts of the Navrongo- Bolgatanga Catholic diocese have successfully participated in an exchange learning meeting held in Bomgo-Soe.

The women were selected from farmers and Shea Butter producing groups who practice the Savings and Internal Lending Concept, SILC formed under the Strengthening of Smallholder Farmer’s Resilience towards a changing Climate ( SCRAS) program which is funded by Misereor of Germany and implemented in 16 communities by NABOCADO.

The meeting was to provide a common platform for inter-group interaction, knowledge sharing, and networking among the SILC groups across the various districts.

Having been established in 2012, and transitioned steadily into a nationally recognized Shea Butter producing and SILC group, the Bongo-Soe Tanmolga Asongtaaba Women group served as host to the traveling groups and shared learning experiences through presentations on Conflict Management, SILC funds management, Leadership, and Shea Butter processing and marketing.

Through the Savings and Internal Learning Concept, SILC, rural farmers, and Shea butter processors continue to practice local savings and loan schemes where they collectively save profits from product sales and also lend to themselves to reinvest and grow their trade.

The Exchange learning meeting was facilitated by the Gender Coordinator of NABOCADO, Patience Akankpanab, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Michael Ayamga, and our district officers of Bongo, Nabdam, and Builsa North.

Livelihood and Advocacy Directorate Holds Review Meeting for Community Animators

Over 50 community Animators from across the Diocese’s Districts took part in an annual review meeting organized by the Livelihood and Advocacy Directorate of the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Diocesan Development Organization, NABOCADO. 

This was part of the project dubbed Strengthening of Small Holder Farmers Resilience Towards a Changing Climate and Promotion of Environmentally Friendly Agriculture in the Diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga, implemented under the Diocesan Livelihood and Advocacy Programme, DiLAP, and funded by Misereor.

Animators are selected community representatives tasked with coordinating activities for effective understanding, participation and implementation of the project.

Participants (both old and New animators) were taken through presentations on

* Understandings Community animation for project sustainability
* Animators role in CAAPs implementation.
* Animators’ role in Gender related projects activities
* Animators Role in local innovations development and
* Data to be collected by Animators/ Reporting.

The meeting was facilitated by Director of the Livelihood and Advocacy Directorate, Mr Dominic Avea Aniah, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Micheal Ayamga and Gender Coordinator Patience Akapaanab.

Below are some pictures from the engagement. 

Catholic Church launches Sahel Peace Initiative phase II

The Catholic Church in Ghana has launched the Sahel Peace Initiative (SPI) phase II to help promote peace, social cohesion and raise awareness on violent extremism.

The SPI is a peace project being rolled out by the Church with funding from the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to create awareness on threats of terrorism, promote social cohesion through advocacy and build the resilience of communities affected by conflicts in the Sub-region.

It would also work with relevant stakeholders to find mitigating measures to resolving conflicts through mediation and dialogue and respond to humanitarian needs of people affected by the threats and conflicts.

The project is being coordinated by the National Catholic Secretariat (NCS) and being implemented by the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Diocesan Development Organisation (NABOCADO), a Faith development organization.

Speaking at the launch of the project in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional Capital, Most Reverend Philip Naameh, the President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, said currently, the Central Sahel region of West Africa was experiencing upsurge in violence due to increased extremism, weak national institutions and diminishing national resources.

He said poverty, high levels of unemployment, corruption and unequal access to capital had fostered a state of hopelessness, which had given rise to the series of conflicts in neighbouring countries and Ghana was no exception.
This, he said, had led to the migration of millions of people in search of security with women and children being the most affected.

The lack of comprehensive enabling environment for the citizens had made the people particularly the youth vulnerable to be recruited into terrorist groups to cause violence and conflicts, he added.

“Once we create this vulnerability for our youth and many of our citizens, then, we invite the conflict even without intending it.

“Evidence of this is the reported incidents of activities of extremists in some neighbouring countries like Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and along some border communities in Northern Ghana, giving widespread perception that governments in the Sahel are failing to provide political, social and economic services,” he said.

Most Reverend Naameh, noted that it was imperative for governments to work with local communities and civil society organisations including religious leaders, to rebuild trust in local and national institutions and rekindle civic participation.

Most Reverend Alfred Agyenta, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga, indicated that the project was timely considering the current instability in the Upper East Region, with many lives and properties being lost to ravaging conflicts.

“In her present state of vulnerability, the region is not only severely exposed to external threats of violence and insecurity but it is also the first point of call for the displaced and traumatised people of the neighbouring countries looking for safe haven,” he said.

Mr Daniel Mumuni, the Country Representative, CRS, said violent extremism had increased the number of displaced persons by 40 per cent in the Subregion at the end of 2021 and the persistent communal conflicts in Ghana put the country at risk of being attacked.

He said the project aimed to empower the Catholic Church to take ownership and leadership in promoting peace and building cohesive society to ensure that individuals living in Ghana experienced greater levels of peace, social cohesion and resiliency and provide humanitarian services to people in crisis.

Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister, commended the Catholic Church in Ghana and its partners for their contribution to national development over years and said he was optimistic that the SPI would boost the efforts made so far to restore peace in the region especially in Bawku, Doba and Kandiga.

Government must address poverty, rising inequalities

Most Reverend Philip Naameh, the President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, has called on the government to address the rising poverty levels and discrimination in the distribution of state resources to avoid insurgency. 

He said: “Poverty and rising inequalities have fostered a culture of hopelessness in our Ghanaian communities, and this has contributed to the recruitment of many of the youth into violent activities, putting the country at risk of external attacks.” 

Most Rev Naameh underscored the urgent need for government to distribute development fairly among all groups to avoid widespread perception of discrimination and exclusion among the citizens, to strengthen the peace and social cohesion. 

Speaking at the launch of the Sahel Peace Initiative (SPI) Phase II at Bolgatanga, in the Upper East Region, Most Reverend Naameh who is also the Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale Catholic Diocese, noted that the high unemployment, corruption and unequal access to capital leading to unrest in some Sahelian countries also affected Ghana. 

He said there had not been a comprehensive agenda to create enabling environment, particularly for the youth to thrive and that had made them vulnerable to attempts by terrorists’ groups to be recruited to cause instability. 

“Once we create this vulnerability for our youth and many of our citizens, then, we invite the conflict even without intending it. 

“Evidence of this is the reported incidents of activities of extremists in some neighbouring countries like Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and along some border communities in Northern Ghana, giving widespread perception that governments in the Sahel are failing to provide critical social services,” he stressed. 

Most Rev Naameh said it was “a big scandal” for majority of the citizens to be discriminated against when it came to the distribution of development projects, adding that “leaders must be committed to the common good of all Ghanaians.” 

“While the majority are poor and struggling to get one meal a day, others can afford everything from the same Ghana, even primary school, they will send their children to Europe and America and this a big scandal which I call on those who manage our resources to address and do so immediately. 

“If there is hardship, let everybody living in Ghana experience it but if some are excluded from it and take a life which approaches more of a wealthy country, then I will say that it is not right,” he said. 

The archbishop commended government for efforts being made in the security and said it needed to make security presence visible in communities in Northern Ghana, especially those bordered by the countries which had experienced violence, to ensure that the country was protected. 

The SPI is a peace project being rolled out by the Catholic Church with funding from the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), to create awareness on threats of terrorism, promote social cohesion through advocacy and build the resilience of communities affected by conflicts in the Subregion. 

It would also work with relevant stakeholders to find mitigating measures to resolve conflicts through mediation and dialogue and respond to humanitarian needs of people affected by the threats and conflicts. 

The project is being coordinated by the National Catholic Secretariat (NCS) and implemented by the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Diocesan Development Organisation (NABOCADO), a faith development organization. 

Mr. Thomas Awiapo, the Executive Secretary, NCS, said the project which would involve women in the peacebuilding processes would build the capacity of communities especially the youth to enable them to identify early warning signals of activities of terrorism and help to combat them. 

 

Upper East Region is bleeding, government must step up security efforts – Bishop Agyenta

The government has been urged to step up security efforts to curb the incessant violence and conflicts in some parts of the Upper East Region, to protect lives and properties. 

Most Reverend Alfred Agyenta, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga, said, “the region is currently bleeding profusely” and demanded that the government took urgent steps to stop the destruction in the region.

The bishop was speaking in Bolgatanga at the launching of the Sahel Peace Initiative (SPI) Phase II, being implemented by the Catholic Church, with funding from the Catholic Relief Services (CRS). 

Currently, apart from the renewed protracted Bawku Chieftaincy conflict which had claimed countless lives and destroyed property worth huge sums of Gahan Cedis, the land dispute between the Doba and Kandiga was also contributing to destabilising the region.  

Describing the region as a weak link in the country’s security architecture, Most Reverend Agyenta, noted that the government needed to beef up security in the region taking into consideration the threats of extremists and terrorists in neighbouring countries. 

“The Upper East Region is in turmoil, experiencing violence and armed conflicts centre, left and right.  

“In her present state of vulnerability, the region is not only severely exposed to external threats of violence and insecurity but also the first point of call for the displaced and traumatised people of the neighbouring countries looking for safe haven,” he said. 

The bishop explained that violence had never solved any human problem in history and urged the people of the region, especially those involved in the conflicts to embrace peace to ensure sustainable development.  

“Through the Sahel Peace Initiative, the Church in accordance with her moral duty will continue to advocate peace, to speak to those who have the conscience, but we also expect and indeed we demand that the government live up to her constitutional responsibility to restrain the heartless from destroying innocent lives and property in our region,” Bishop Agyenta added. 

Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister, noted that currently there was relative peace in Bawku, Doba and Kandiga and the government was working hard to ensure lasting peace for accelerated development. 

He regretted that because of the conflict, some institutions and development partners including investors were moving out of the region which was worrying and noted that the Sahel Peace Initiative would complement the government’s efforts to restore sustainable peace and social cohesion. 

The SPI which is being coordinated by the National Catholic Secretariat and implemented by the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocesan Catholic Development Organisation (NABOCADO) to create awareness of threats of terrorism, promote social cohesion through advocacy and build the resilience of communities affected by conflicts in the Sub-region. 

It would also work with relevant stakeholders to find mitigating measures to resolve conflicts through mediation and dialogue and respond to the humanitarian needs of people affected by the threats and conflicts. 

Church project strengthening communities’ resilience to fight violent extremism

Bunkpurugu (U/E), Sept 27, GNA – A project to build the resilience of border communities against threats of terrorism and violence extremism in the Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri District of the North East Region has begun. 

Dubbed, “Strengthening border communities’ resilience for violence prevention”, the 10-month project would empower border community stakeholders to promote social cohesion and help prevent the infiltration of violent extremists and terrorists.  

It is also targeted at using local knowledge and resources to identify and harness shared values and beliefs and to build local and community structures that would promote peaceful coexistence and inclusive development among diverse people and communities threatened by activities of violent extremists.  

It is being implemented by the Good Governance, Justice and Peace Directorate of the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Diocesan Development Organisation (NABOCADO), a faith-based organization, with funding from the European Union through the support of Coginta Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation.  

At a stakeholder capacity-building workshop towards the implementation of the project, Mr Joseph Bangu, the Director, Good Governance, Justice and Peace Directorate, NOBOCADO, noted that the threats of terrorism in Ghana were real, considering happenings in the neighbouring countries.  

He said apart from the political instability in some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, countries in the Sahel region such as Niger, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso had experienced terrorist attacks, thereby putting Ghana at risk.  

He said the project which would be implemented in 15 border communities would build and strengthen district and community level structures to create an interface for a proactive response to issues of violent extremism.  

Mr Bangu said the project would also ensure that stakeholders such as the religious and traditional authorities, local authorities and community members worked closely with the security agencies to prevent any spillover from the neighbouring countries.  

“We started capacity building training for community peace agents, which cuts across, including women, natives and non-natives and the youth and we have also formed and trained school peace clubs in nine schools in the border communities to help in the campaign through durbars and drama among others.  

Mr Bangu said Ghana’s borders were porous and there was a need for major stakeholders to work with the security agencies to ensure that suspected characters were reported for investigation and action.  

“We want the chief, religious leaders and assembly members to understand the role of the security services and vice versa for them to work together for there to be social cohesion so that in the event of any reporting, the structures are laid out for the security to act.   

“The essence is to prevent the activities, recruitment, radicalisation of people along these border communities,” he added.  

Mr Joseph Louknaan, the District Chief Executive for the Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri, noted that the district had 25 border communities and the insecurity in neighbouring countries put residents in those communities in danger.  

He said the district over the years had experienced chieftaincy and land disputes, resulting in the imposition of a curfew for the past six years and noted that terrorists could take advantage of such a situation to recruit people to commit a crime.  

The DCE said it was imperative for members of the communities, especially those living along the border, to be sensitised to resist the temptation to be recruited and report suspiciuos characters to security for investigations.  

 

Conflict prone communities urged to promote peace

Dr Joseph Ayembilla, Human Development Coordinator, Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Diocesan Development Organisation (NABOCADO) says peace is a panacea to achieving Ghana’s socioeconomic development agenda to improved livelihoods.

He therefore called on all stakeholders, particularly those in conflict prone communities to work towards promoting peace and security to ensure the protection of human lives and dignity.

This, he said, would contribute to achieving food and nutritional security through increased agriculture production among others for the vulnerable.

Dr Ayembilla said this at Pusu-Namongo in the Talensi District, Upper East Region, at an internal reflection on the Integrated Peacebuilding for Food and Nutrition Supply (INPEACE) project, being implemented by the Good Governance, Justice and Peace Directorate of NABOCADO and sponsored by MISEREOR.

 

The three-year project is being implemented in 16 communities in three administrative districts in the diocese, Bawku Municipal in the Upper East Region, and Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri and Yunyoo-Nasuan Districts in the North East Region.

The goal of the project is to support local structures at the grassroots level to carry out peace building activities through non-violence approach and identify early warning signs as well as support the Assemblies to mainstream peace building activities into their medium-term development plans.

Dr Ayembilla noted that conflicts was a bane to development, bringing all activities to a standstill and exposing people especially the vulnerable to extreme poverty and food and nutritional insecurity.

He called for an end to the conflicts in the regions, particularly Bawku, Doba and Kandiga.

 

Very Reverend Father Lawrence Azure, Vicar General, Catholic Diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga, said conflicts had the tendency to expose people to extreme hunger as productivity would be reduced.

Citing the Russia-Ukraine conflict as an example, the Vicar General noted that the world was going through tough times in terms of increase in the prices of fuel and food at the international market and the situation was impacting negatively on livelihoods of developing countries like Ghana.

Similarly, he said the protracted Bawku Chieftaincy conflict and the Doba-Kandiga land dispute which had claimed many lives and property was worsening the plight of the people in the region and threatening their livelihoods.

He said since the reemergence of those conflicts, many people had been displaced while others fled their communities in search of non-existing jobs in the cities.

“As we enter into this rainy season, we are wondering how effective agriculture activities can be carried out in these communities which are predominantly farming areas,” he lamented and called for collective efforts to promote peace.

Mr Joseph Bangu, the Director, Good Governance, Justice, and Peace, said the project employed the community peace building approach in which community peace agents, school peace clubs and the traditional authorities were established to play critical roles in identifying early warning signs to collaborate with the Assemblies to prevent conflicts.

He said over the period through the project, several warning signs had been picked up and given to the Assemblies to act on which helped to prevent conflict.

The participants from the beneficiary districts were to reflect on the role of the project in preventing conflict in their areas and strategise to improve upon peace building efforts.

Peace, panacea to Ghana’s socioeconomic development – NABOCADO

Pusu-Namongo (U/E), June 1, GNA – Dr Joseph Ayembilla, Human Development Coordinator, Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Diocesan Development Organisation (NABOCADO) says peace is a panacea to achieving Ghana’s socioeconomic development agenda to improved livelihoods.

He therefore called on all stakeholders, particularly those in conflict prone communities to work towards promoting peace and security to ensure the protection of human lives and dignity.

This, he said, would contribute to achieving food and nutritional security through increased agriculture production among others for the vulnerable.

Dr Ayembilla said this at Pusu-Namongo in the Talensi District, Upper East Region, at an internal reflection on the Integrated Peacebuilding for Food and Nutrition Supply (INPEACE) project, being implemented by the Good Governance, Justice and Peace Directorate of NABOCADO and sponsored by MISEREOR.

The three-year project is being implemented in 16 communities in three administrative districts in the diocese, Bawku Municipal in the Upper East Region, and Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri and Yunyoo-Nasuan Districts in the North East Region.

The goal of the project is to support local structures at the grassroots level to carry out peace building activities through non-violence approach and identify early warning signs as well as support the Assemblies to mainstream peace building activities into their medium-term development plans.

Dr Ayembilla noted that conflicts was a bane to development, bringing all activities to a standstill and exposing people especially the vulnerable to extreme poverty and food and nutritional insecurity.

He called for an end to the conflicts in the regions, particularly Bawku, Doba and Kandiga.

Very Reverend Father Lawrence Azure, Vicar General, Catholic Diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga, said conflicts had the tendency to expose people to extreme hunger as productivity would be reduced.

Citing the Russia-Ukraine conflict as an example, the Vicar General noted that the world was going through tough times in terms of increase in the prices of fuel and food at the international market and the situation was impacting negatively on livelihoods of developing countries like Ghana.

Similarly, he said the protracted Bawku Chieftaincy conflict and the Doba-Kandiga land dispute which had claimed many lives and property was worsening the plight of the people in the region and threatening their livelihoods.

He said since the reemergence of those conflicts, many people had been displaced while others fled their communities in search of non-existing jobs in the cities.

“As we enter into this rainy season, we are wondering how effective agriculture activities can be carried out in these communities which are predominantly farming areas,” he lamented and called for collective efforts to promote peace.

Mr Joseph Bangu, the Director, Good Governance, Justice, and Peace, said the project employed the community peace building approach in which community peace agents, school peace clubs and the traditional authorities were established to play critical roles in identifying early warning signs to collaborate with the Assemblies to prevent conflicts.

He said over the period through the project, several warning signs had been picked up and given to the Assemblies to act on which helped to prevent conflict.

He said over the period through the project, several warning signs had been picked up and given to the Assemblies to act on which helped to prevent conflict.

The participants from the beneficiary districts were to reflect on the role of the project in preventing conflict in their areas and strategise to improve upon peace building efforts.

Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Diocesan Youth council embark on peace forum mission

The Youth group under the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Dioceses has embarked on a Peace Forum Mission in the Upper East region.

The programme is anchored on the theme “Covid-19: Ensuring conflict- Sensitive Response”. It seeks to promote peaceful coexistence within and outside the Diocesan family. The forum is also to mobilise and unite diverse youth groups as well as key state institutions and opinion leaders in various communities in the region.

The Diocesan Youth council stated that a survey that was conducted by the Council points to the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively affected many young people in communities. According to the survey, the impact of the pandemic on the youth has affected their businesses forcing some of them to engage in bad activities.

Speaking to A1News, Rev. Father, Clement Ajongba who is the Diocesan Youth Chaplain, said, the Diocesan Youth Council finds it necessary to embark on this mission in order to have effective peaceful coexistence among the teeming youth regardless of their political or religious affiliation in the various communities.

“The peace forum is for all youth groups with diverse backgrounds. It is organised by the Diocesan Youth Council and sponsored by CRS Ghana. The essence is to bring young people from diverse backgrounds together to promote peace”.

“The more young people interact with each other, the more they share ideas and the more they see themselves as one. That will bring social cohesion. So the essence is simply to bring young people from diverse backgrounds such as; religious, political and other minority groups together to discuss issues affecting them”

Rev. Father. Ajongba noted that the mission his outfit has embarked on does not in any way discourage youth from belonging to any political party or religious group or any social groups but they are only encouraging the youth to be respectful of the opinion of others.

Opinion leaders, Assembly Members and Heads of Institutions, and leaders of youth groups across the Upper East region who were at the programme were all applauded Diocesan Youth council for the initiative.

According to them, it will go a long way to help foster unity that will lead to the development of the region and beyond.

Timely, Regular Flow Of Capitation Grants Important – NABOCADO

The Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Diocesan Development Organisation (NABOCADO), has called on the government to ensure timely and regular disbursement of the capitation grants, to promote effective administration of schools.

It said government’s inability to release capitation grants on time and on regular basis over the years, was adversely affecting quality academic work and other activities as schools could not expand development nor provide teaching and learning materials for the students.

It said for the past two years, schools had not received their entitled capitation grants, “the government owes almost all the schools, it has now prioritised and given them in bulk which does not reflect capitation grant as it was supposed to be per head, adding that and this does not meet the needs of the schools.”

This was contained in a communique read by Dr Joseph Ayembilla, the Human Development Coordinator, NABCADO, at the end of a wider stakeholder engagement in Bolgtanga, Upper East Region.

The engagement was part of an advocacy plan being implemented by the Good Governance, Justice and Peace Directorate of NABOCADO, with financial support from the Hungary Helps of Hungary.

The project was aimed at improving access to health and education delivery in North East and Upper East Regions especially schools and health facilities within the diocese.

It attracted stakeholders from health and education in both regions including community health committees and school management committees.

The communique, noted that the project being piloted using the social accountability mechanism in 11 health facilities and 13 schools in the diocese, identified various gaps hindering quality education and health delivery especially in the rural areas.

The communique further revealed that most of the schools did not have adequate infrastructure while other schools were learning under trees and urged the government to expand the infrastructure base of schools to improve upon teaching and learning and increase enrollment.

“On inadequate and timely supply of logistics, we urge the Minister of Education to follow up on his promise on provision of basic but critical logistics such as textbooks.

“We are also asking the management of the Ghana Education Service to ensure equitable posting of teachers and ensure teacher retention,” it added.

On health, the communique stated that apart from inadequate infrastructure deficit that impeded quality health care especially in the rural areas, there was the need for stronger collaboration to ensure that special incentives were designed to motivate health staff to stay and work in rural communities.

It added, “Government must commit to the contractual agreement of three months reimbursement period and ensure regular reimbursement of the National Health Insurance Scheme claims to provide effective and efficient quality health care, prioritising rural health facilities that are without alternatives.”