The Volta Regional Public Records and Archives Administration Department (PRAAD) has been re-opened six months after it was closed to the public for renovation works.
The work was facilitated by Professor Wazi Apoh, Development Archaeologist and Heritage Expert, Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, University of Ghana and Mrs Amy Pascalia Abrah Asimah, Assistant Librarian, Evangelical Presbyterian University College, Ho, with funding from Gerda Henkel Foundation, Germany.
Madam Thelmar Manye Ewosi, National Director of PRAAD, in a speech read on her behalf by Mr Maxwell Ampofo, said the role of PRAAD in national development cannot be underestimated.
She said information management and records management in particular, played a critical role in capacity building, administrative reforms, good governance and democratisation.
The Director said availability of reliable records was essential for good governance in any system, adding that the reliability and sustainability in the management of public records were key factors to achieving efficiency.
Madam Ewosi disclosed that the National Archives Department played a critical role during the maritime boundary dispute case between Ghana and Ivory Coast, and would continue to deliver on its core mandate for national security and development.
She said the strategic goals of the Department was a driving force, pushing them to strive and be recognised as one of a kind among national institutions capable of, not only providing cultural and historic records, but also being important in providing excellent support services in nation building through provision of authentic evidential materials.
The Director, however, lamented the deplorable conditions of archival repositories across the country, logistical and other challenges faced by the Department in spite of the vital role it played in national development.
“It seems that in spite of all the efforts, we keep making to draw the attention of the public and government to the deplorable conditions of the archival repositories across board, our efforts seem to yield little or no results, whiles our national treasuries in the form of rich archival documents keep losing their preservation capacities.”
She commended the facilitators and the Gerda Henkel Foundation for their support, saying the gesture could not have come at a better time, given the fact that “we are not in normal time” and was optimistic that the gesture would create opportunities for them for future engagements and cooperation in areas of common interest.
Madam Ewosi appealed to philanthropists, benevolent organisations, corporate bodies to support the Department in similar ways, so they could carry out their duties effectively to promote national development.
Professor Apoh in his remarks underscored the importance of archives in the country’s social, economic and political journey and said they should, therefore, not be underrated.
He said he became interested in renovating and refurbishing the facility after he visited the Department to carry out some research work, disclosing that the facility has lots of rich materials, and urged students to take advantage of these materials to enrich their knowledge on past and present events.
The Professor, who is also the Dean, School of Arts, disclosed that over 40,000 Euros was used to execute the project, adding that the re-opening of the facility would set a pace for “bigger things to happen” and urged managers to ensure proper maintenance of the facility and all the equipment.
He disclosed that some staff were also trained on record keeping, using modern technology among others, and a website had also been created for the Department for easy access to information as the world was gradually gravitating towards digitisation.
The Archaeologist called on relevant authorities to develop comprehensive measures to add value to the various archival repositories across the country as they helped significantly in the work of researchers and students and also to attract people to make use of them.
Professor Apoh said most of the archival repositories were obscured, making it difficult for people to know of their existence, resulting in low patronage of rich materials in these facilities, and therefore, called for conscious efforts to make the presence of these repositories felt to the public.
Mr Elorm Dodzo Dorvlo, Volta Regional Head of PRAAD, expressed appreciation to the facilitators and the Foundation for giving a facelift to the building and equipped it with desktop and laptop computers and other relevant equipment for smooth running of their activities.
Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, Volta Regional Minister, thanked the facilitators and Gerda Henkel Foundation for transforming the Department, and said the Regional Coordinating Council would provide the needed support to ensure the Department discharge its duties effectively and successfully.
A total of seven staff including the Regional Head were given a certificate for participating in records management training workshops on preservation, conservation, organisation and digitisation of archival records.