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The Australian High Commission has launched the 2017-2018 edition of its Direct Aid Programme (DAP) with a training session for grant recipients on some of the requirements for successful implementation of the projects.

Mr Andrew Barnes, Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, who launched the program in Accra on Thursday, said the DAP programme was the Commission’s way of supporting the provision of life-transforming interventions for some of society’s most vulnerable people, including children, women, rural communities and people living with disabilities.

This, he noted, was done by funding and supporting the delivery of quality projects that empower people.

This edition of the DAP will see the Commission funding projects to the tune of one million Australian dollars (US$760,000).

About 20 organisations across seven African countries received the grants, including Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo.

The winning projects cover sectors such as environment, Disability, Child protection/Human rights, agriculture/Gender, Maternal health, WASH, Education, and extractives.

Mr Barnes noted that the High Commission’s success in supporting Australia’s aid program was due to the strong partnerships it developed with local organisations in the countries where they operate.

“As local organisations, you understand best the needs and challenges of your people. This makes you key players in Australia’s objective to ensure development benefits everyone, including people in remote, under-served communities,” he said.

He pledged the High Commission’s commitment to support the projects in order to maximise their impact and urged participants to take advantage of the training session as it was an opportunity to gain information, network and for grantees to connect with the High Commission, setting the tone for strong and positive partnerships.

Ms Phillis Muthoni, Resource Development Manager at World Vision, during the training session, stated that in order for non-profit start-ups to be successful, it was important that they paid attention to considerations such as competition, collaborations, giving value, telling their stories, sustainability and identifying their strategy, among others.

She advised the grantees not to see competition as a negative thing, especially as it was a reality in the non-profit sector due to low entry barriers, but to see competition as a challenge for them to stay relevant.

She urged them to be strategic about their collaborations with other non-profits rather than seeing collaboration as a reaction to demands of the moment, and to also be deliberate about telling their unique stories.

“Invest in telling your stories and telling it well,” she said.

Ms Vicentia Quartey, DAP Programme Manager, took grantees through the need to communicate their stories to the High Commission as well as to the public, and the specific requirements for use of High Commission’s brands, noting that communication had an important role to play in the achievement of the objectives of the DAP.

Ms Jillian Suggate, Second Secretary and Vice Consul at the Australian High Commission, took the grantees through the financial reporting requirements of the DAP programme, an important aspect of the grants.

She said this aspect of the grant was important because it was a requirement by the Australian government to ensure that public funds invested in projects were used accordingly and to help sustain funding.

They were also taken through the process of monitoring and evaluation of their projects by Dr Freda Asem, from the University of Ghana and a DAP grantee. Participants included representative of the grantee organisations from the various countries.

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