With funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Country Director of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH Ghana, Mrs. Regina Bauerochse Barbosa, launched the Food for Ghana’s Frontline Project.
The project forms part of the German Government’s effort to support Ghana in the on-going COVID-19 pandemic by providing hot meals that are prepared and delivered to frontline health workers and vulnerable groups. Additionally, the project helps to provide income opportunities for persons in the hospitality sector, who lost their jobs because of the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had many implications on the Ghanaian economy including the loss of jobs for cooks, kitchen staff and delivery persons working in the hospitality and transport industry. With the lack of existing opportunities such as “short-time work” in Ghana, these affected persons in these sectors were hard with some finding it difficult to feed their immediate family.
Furthermore, the Ghanaian health sector has been dealt a special situation in the health sector, where medical staff have been working overtime in the peak of the pandemic with no or very little time to cook or purchase healthy meals.
The Food for Ghana’s Frontline project offers a solution for these two exceptional situations affecting both groups: a temporary income for cooks until demand picks up again and they can be rehired or open their own restaurants, and, providing the medical ‘frontline’ staff with good and healthy food. The project also adds another feature where experienced chefs on the project will be engaged to train other chefs on different capacity building measures.
Currently, the project has successfully provided 100 packs of healthy hot meal, water and a drink daily for frontline health workers since 15th February 2021 to the Ghana Infectious Disease Control; provided jobs for 6 unemployed chefs currently and we are recruiting on a rolling basis.
Over a period of one year, the project seeks to provide at least 50,000 meals to frontline health workers. The plan is to extend the services to other COVID-19 treatment centres with financing realised from fundraising efforts.
In her welcome remarks at the project launch, the GIZ Ghana Country Director Regina Bauerochse stated that while the Food for Ghana’s Frontline Project has initial funding from the German government, it was imperative that the initiative is sustained to reach more facilities, more frontline health workers, and more people who are in need during this COVID-19 pandemic.
To enable support for this laudable cause, Ms. Bauerochse said, “fundraising platforms have been set up in partnership with Crowdfrica, to give everyone – from individuals to corporate agencies – the opportunity to partner or support the project with their donations. Donations can come in the form of needed goods or cash, which will directly reach the project.”
The Deputy Director General, Ghana Health Service Dr. Anthony Ofosu said, “an approach like this, which addresses both disruptions, the Ghana Health Service is very proud to be a part of.”
The Acting Director of the Ghana Infectious Disease Centre Dr Joseph Oliver-Commey, expressed his gratitude to the GIZ and Food for All Africa for the project and asked for more to be done to support other frontline health workers in other facilities. He said “we were very happy when GIZ approached us about feeding the workers because, we had been thinking about how to feed them. The cost of feeding the workers was become a little draining on the meagre resources that the health sector was providing so to some of us it was a welcoming relief”
Talking about how impactful the project has been to them, a head chef said: “Covid-19 affected me badly. I am the breadwinner of my family and I have three other siblings that depend on me. Schooling and everything of them solely depends on me. 29 February 2020 was when my wife delivered a beautiful baby girl. One week after the restaurant that I work that I got income from also closed because of COVID-19. Here I am again with a smile and happy family and with the help of GIZ. The kind of happiness GIZ has put my family in right now it will go a long way even to help my one-year-old daughter. I am grateful, and I am very happy to be part of this GIZ initiative”
Another chef on the project also said, “Before COVID-19, as a single mum, I had to take care of my son, who is in the Junior High School. Where I was working too was not functioning well. Then I got to know of this program. Now I can say am stress free because, I can provide for myself and my son. Thanks to the brains behind this program. Very grateful. Back on my feet again.”
In addition, other organisations currently partnering the project are Food for All Africa (operators of West Africa’s first community food support centre), Polaris Technology Limited, Labadi Beach Hotel, OkadaGH, and The Chop Bar, with support from Kasapreko Company Limited and Tilly’s Farm.