A total amount, GHC3,984,300 Ghana Cedis is being disbursed to 4,194 extreme poor people. They comprise 3,361 females and 838 males in 61 communities across the eight districts.

The beneficiary districts are: Bawku West, Talensi, Kassena-Nankana West, Garu –Tempane, Bongo, Nabdam, the Builsa North and the Builsa South.

The three-year Pilot Project dubbed, “The Ghana Support Rural Income Generation of the Poorest Pilot Project”, is a complementary income generation scheme for the beneficiary communities.

Speaking at separate functions in the Bongo, Garu-Tempane, Nabdam and Bawku West Districts, where the stipends were disbursed, the Regional Coordinator of the GSOP, Mrs Adwoa Asotia-Boakye, said the pilot project aimed of improving their incomes.

This would be done through the provision of skills development, extension and micro-finance support to empower them to manage their farm and non-farm activities more productively and sustainably.

Giving the background of the project, the Regional Coordinator explained that the JSDF Project would complement the implementation of the Labour Intensive Public Works programme and the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme under the GSOP.

The pilot project was implemented by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) through the Bolgatanga Regional Coordinating Office of GSOP and in close partnership with the National Coordinating Office of the GSOP.

She said the project would be scaled up if the pilot stage met its goal and urged the beneficiaries to put the grant to good use.

Dr Willy Kagurura, the Consultant from the World Bank on the JSDF Project, asked the beneficiary District Assemblies to undertake effective monitoring and supervision to ensure that the project achieved its set goals.

Mr Desmond Duametu, the National Capacity Building Specialist of GSOP, told the beneficiaries that they would have the opportunity to access the second tranche if they used the money for its intended purpose.

The Bongo District Chief Executive, Mr Alexis Ayamdor, challenged the beneficiaries to ensure that they used the monies judiciously to improve their living conditions and reduce poverty for the positive impact to pave the way for a larger project.

The District Directors of the Social Welfare and Community Development in the beneficiary districts also entreated families to support Persons with Disability who were beneficiaries in the income generation activities to succeed.

Ms Viola Naawiete Dasoberi, the Rural Enterprise Officer of the project, said the objectives of the JSDF Pilot project were to assist targeted poor persons who were beneficiaries of the LEAP and LIPW, with women constituting at least 50 per cent of the total number of beneficiaries.

She said the project had built the capacities of beneficiaries in small business management, technical and vocational skills and provided grants to individuals and women groups who exhibited the potential to engage in small income generation activities in their communities.

Some of the beneficiaries expressed gratitude for the help and said they would engage in sustainable businesses such as guinea fowl and small ruminant rearing, malt processing and brewing, soap making, shea butter processing, rope weaving, dawadawa sale and rice processing.

“I am very excited, this grant will help me expand my guinea fowl and pig rearing to boost my income level and enable me to take good care of my family, particularly in paying my children’s school fees and their National Health Insurance,” Mr Benjamin Adagwobgo Atambire, said.

By Samuel Akapule, GNA

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