Mr Samuel Afrane, Country Director of Hunger Project Ghana has called on communities to support community development projects with the same zeal they embrace the construction of churches since both were beneficial to them.
He said the government could not do it all considering the vast needs of the remote and deprived communities and urged communities to support any project geared towards improving their living standards.
Mr Afrane who made the comments at an Epicentre exiting ceremony at supriso in the Suhum municipality said there were several instances where community leaders and family heads had opposed the use of lands and spaces for the provision of needed facilities such as clinics and schools.
He noted that even in remotest communities people contributed to the construction of churches, based on their faith, and advised communities to show the same commitment to other projects since God was interested in their wellbeing.
The Country Director explained that the exiting strategy was an approach by the hunger Project to ensure that beneficiary communities owned the Epicentre and provided needed support to the relevant state institutions such as the Ghana Health Service, Ghana Education Service, and the District Assembly to integrate the facility into their operational system.
The Epicentre is a complete development enclave which consists of a clinic, a community bank, library, a Kindergarten, Nurses quarters, food bank and a KVIP toilets which serve about five to ten cluster of villages within a 10-kilometre radius, as a tool to alleviate poverty and deprivation of basic needs of communities especially women.
The Hunger Project Ghana, lead implementors of the Epicentre methodology, has about 45 such centres across Ghana with 38 of the Epicentres established in the Eastern Region alone.
The Country Director reiterated their commitment and vision to ensure empowered communities in which men and women work together towards eradicating hunger and poverty through self-initiated projects, using local resources and where not available having the confidence to access external resources to meet their felt needs.
The Surpiso epicenter established 13 years ago comprised of ten (10) communities including Supriso I, Supriso II, Dademanste, Abieteh, Apese, Ampa-Dwae, Oboatumpang, Adidiso, Asarekrom, and Zutsunor, however, there are other communities around that have also benefited from the intervention.
Mr James Nyarkotey, leader of the Supriso Epicentre noted that before the Hunger Project came with its integrated poverty reduction intervention program in the form of the Epicentre, the communities had no access to healthcare and education and had to travel to Suhum or Koforidua for healthcare whiles children could not start school early due to the long distances they had to cross.
He said the Epicentre clinic had now become a well-structured CHPS compound providing all the beneficiary communities with primary health care all year round coupled with other intervention programs such as the Women Empowerment Program (WEP), Agriculture improvement and Micro-credit facilities have improved the living conditions of the people.
Mr Nyarkotey indicated that the various women empowerment programmes under the Epicentre, such as the Microfinance programme had helped reduce the incidences of gender-based violence drastically since “most of our women are empowered to contribute to the welfare of the home”.
He was grateful to the Hunger project for coming to their aid and thanked chiefs and community leaders for their various support in establishing the epicenter and assured that sustainable plans had been put in place to ensure that whiles the Hunger Project exited in terms of management of the facility, it functions and benefits to the communities would not wane.