He said: “Development requires more than paper, it requires more than policy documents, it requires more than just speaking out nice intentions during workshops and conferences. It requires action.”
Speaking at the launch SNV’s Voice for Change Partnership (V4CP) Programme in Accra, Dr de Jager expressed the need for stakeholders to take action together on implementing the project to the benefit of the larger society.
He said civil society organisations has been instrumental in inducing change on important issues by raising their voices on issues such as the working conditions of textile industry workers in Bangladesh and food safety issues in the west and in China, as well as in various areas in Ghana.
Ghana, he noted also has a number of developmental challenges that the programme seeks to address issues in the areas of food security, women cooking under harmful circumstances, lack of access to clean water and sanitation services as well as untapped opportunities in off-grid energy sources, among others.
“The challenges require change, either at the policy level with institution of rules and regulations or at the private sector level as well as from development organisations themselves.”
He noted that the principle of the V4CP’s advocacy would be based on discussion with evidence and not on confrontation and called on stakeholders to collaborate in the implementation of the programme.
Mr Eric Banye, Project Coordinator of the V4CP programme said the five-year programme, which would be implemented in partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It aims at strengthening CSOs to advocate an enabling environment for government and businesses to provide good and affordable services for low-income segments in the society.
The programme covers three main areas: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene ; which seeks to increase access sustainable and affordable sanitation services, Food and Nutrition security to create ensure the creation of an enabling environment by government and private sector for access to sufficient, affordable and nutritious food and energy.
It would use three main pillars: capacity building, evidence gathering and implementation to address issues in these sectors and to empower CSOs, influence agenda-setting and enhance government and private sector accountability.
Mr Thierry van Helden, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands said his country is reinventing its relationship with Ghana from a development relationship to one focused on trade, thus the focus on mutually beneficial areas such as health, agriculture and energy.
He noted that the programme would run from 2016 to 2020 with a global annual budget of 185 million Euros.
He expressed the need for government, CSOs, private and knowledge organisations to collaborate in order to grow the economy.
Dr Ben Nyamadi, CEO of the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority, who launched the programme on behalf of the Minister of Food and Agriculture, lauded SNV and EKN for the programme, which he said was essential for holding duty bearers to account.
He said it is important to explore the use of off-grid electrification for productive use, such as for irrigating farmland and other activities along the value chain of food production.
Stakeholder at the launch, including CSOs, and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies lauded the project and expressed the need for all parties to work together to implement the project in order to achieve the outcomes.
Source: GNA/News Ghana