CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP REPORT

 

TRAINING WORKSHOP ON NETWORKING AND PARTNERSHIP BUILDING, COMMUNICATION AND ADVOCACY ON FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION

GHANA NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TEACERS HALL, CONFERENCE ROOM 28TH OCTOBER, 2015

 

 

Acronyms

 

AAHM              Alliance against Hunger and Malnutrition

AU                   African Union

DP                    Development Partner

ECOWAS          Economic Community of West African States

FAO                 Food and Agriculture Organization

FBO                 Farmer Based Organization

GOG                Government of Ghana

GPCAHM         Ghana Parliamentary Caucus against Hunger and Malnutrition

GHACCSUN      Ghana Coalition of Civil Society Organizations on Scaling Up Nutrition

GSS                  Ghana Statistical Service

HAG                 Hunger Alliance of Ghana

MOH               Ministry of Health (Ghana)

NAAP               National Alliance Partnership Programme

SUN                 Scale up Nutrition

WAAAHM        West African Alliance against Hunger and Malnutrition

WFP                 World Food Programme (UN)

 

Table of content

 

  • Introduction

 

1.1 Rational of the training

 

1.2 Workshop Objectives

1.3 Participants, Resource Person and Methodology

 

1.4 Capacity building workshop approach

 

1.5 Outcomes and the way forward

 

  • Welcome address by Executive Director of HAG

 

  • Presentation on Networking and Partnership Building and its importance for food security and nutrition

 

  • Discussions after presentation

 

5.0 Key Emerging Issues after Presentation

 

  • Presentation on communication and advocacy and its importance for food security and nutrition

 

  • Emerging Issues

 

8.0 Way Forward

 

9.0 Closing Remarks from the Executive Director of HAG

 

Annex.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Introduction

Hunger Alliance of Ghana is a food security and nutrition advocacy network that brings together civil society organizations to have a unified and common voice to fight against hunger, malnutrition and poverty in Ghana through advocacy, lobbying and knowledge sharing.

 

Hunger Alliance of Ghana was founded in 2005 and incorporated as a legal entity in 2008 under the companies code 1963 (Act 179). Hunger Alliance of Ghana has a seven member board and it is made up of NGOs, CSOs, faith-based organizations, farmer-based organizations, gender based organizations and community-based organizations.

 

The Alliance, comprising of 40 members, is implementing a five year strategic plan 2015/ 2019 on building a strong Alliance that influences policy, programme and practice on issues that impact on food security and nutrition in Ghana. It is against this background that HAG with funding from the National Alliance Partnership Programme of the US Alliance to End Hunger organized a capacity building workshop for its board, staff and some members in communication and advocacy and networking and partnership building. The purpose of the training was to strengthen their capacity in advocacy and partnership techniques that shall ultimately enhance the Alliance to continue to champion Ghana’s food security and nutrition issues at the national and community level.

 

 1.1 Rational of the training

 

Communication and Advocacy, networking and partnership building have become very powerful tools to influence policy directions in any country. The training of the HAG Board, staff and members was meant to equip them with skills and technical support that would be transferred into the Alliance’s activities to enhance effectiveness in communication and advocacy/ networking and partnership building. This is meant to serve the Alliance’s members and other stakeholders efficiently and effectively in and outside its secretariat.

1.2 Workshop Objectives

The main objectives of the training workshop were to,

  1. To build the capacity of members, board and staff in communication and advocacy/networking and partnership building in areas of food security and nutrition.
  2. To equip participants to understand advocacy and networking tools to enhance the national campaign for a hunger free Ghana

 

1.3 Participants, Resource Person and Methodology

The beneficiaries of the training included the five Alliance staff, Board and Members. The training was facilitated by Dr Noah Takyi. He is the Founder and Chair of Professional Farmers College (PROFACO) and Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture (KITA). Dr. Takyi has offered training to farmers including farmer’s organizations for more than 20 years. He is also a Board member of the Alliance and well versed in communication and advocacy as well as building partnerships. He ably guided and facilitated the training workshop for the day’s event.

 

1.4 Capacity building workshop approach

The training involved power point presentations on communication and advocacy as well as networking and partnership building. Discussions and deliberations were made followed by suggestions.

 

1.5 Outcomes and the way forward

At the end of the workshop, members, board and staff;

 

  1. Gained further insight into the current food security and nutrition situation in Ghana including the challenges and opportunities that shall help in the process for change.
  2. Were equipped with further understanding of advocacy and networking tools to enhance the national campaign for a hunger free Ghana.
  3. Understood the long term vision of the Alliance and its strategic plan that required members to work together to sustain its inclusiveness and ownership

 

  • Welcome address by Executive Director of HAG

Following a prayer by Alhaji Tetteh from the Ghana Muslim Mission, Nana Ayim welcomed participants to the capacity building workshop. He apologized for the delay in the commencement of the workshop and registered regrets from the Board Chairman Frank Mcavor who was unable to attend the workshop. Nana Ayim informed participants that the workshop was an in-house training as part of the National Alliance Partnership Programme. He noted that there was the need to build the capacity of Board, staff and members to effectively advocate and build partnerships to improve the country’s food security and nutrition situation.

He emphasized the need for the Alliance to broaden its membership base, by the end of projections by 2015. This will be an effective approach to embark on advocacy due to the increased numbers. The Alliance is succeeding in terms of its partnership building, currently it is partnering with the Ghana Muslim Mission and the Islamic Council for Development and Humanitarian Services on some rural agricultural projects in the Muslim communities. The Alliance is also partnering with the Hunger Project to see how to participate in the Zero Hunger Initiative (ZHI) of ECOWAS. He used these examples for members to emulate as far as networking and partnership building is concerned.

It is not easy to sustain a network, but there is the need to work harder. Participants should find it necessary to see how to network properly and increase its membership base for effective advocacy. He concluded with the hope that, the capacity building workshop will not be another workshop where things discussed will go waste but will be used to make positive impact to move Ghana’s food security and nutrition agenda forward.

 

Nana Ayim giving his Welcome Address

 

3.0 Presentation on Networking and Partnership Building and its importance for food security and nutrition (Mr. Fidelis Avogo, Technical Facilitator, HAG)

 

 

Mr Fidelis made a presentation on networking and partnership building and its importance for food security and nutrition. He started by thanking the Alliance for the opportunity given him. He explained that the presentation will be an interactive one and begged members to pen down questions to be discussed after the presentation. His presentation had the following outline;

  • An introduction and definition of networking and partnership building
  • Key elements in networking
  • What networking does
  • Types of networking
  • Importance of networking
  • Conclusion

Fidelis explained to members that, there is an old and new paradigm shift as far as networking and partnership building is concerned. In the past, (Old Paradigm shift/Industrial Age) organizations had features of stability, control, competition and uniformity. The current information age however encouraged more collaboration, empowerment, people and relationship and diversity. There was the need to nurture and cultivate partnerships if Non-State Actors were to succeed in areas of food security and nutrition. Networking consists of a web or relationships formed by people in order to get things done. Networking has many benefits including effective change, quality of decisions, effective leadership, innovation and synergy.

He concluded by saying that, today’s relationship either as individuals and or organizations are changing drastically due to the surge in information and proliferation of complex market systems. It therefore calls for a new approach to doing some of the old things to maintain and expand our status quo. This is where networking becomes the lubricant that oils and propels us to achieving positive results with the new paradigm shift.

Mr Fidelis Avogo presenting on networking and partnership building

 

4.0 Discussions after presentation

Participants were satisfied with the presentations made by Mr Fidelis Avogo. The overall goal of networking and partnership building was acknowledged as a step in the right direction. However, there were a few concerns raised. Mr Isaac Adjei, from the Hunger Project touched on the Alliance’s willingness to increase its membership base as projected by Nana Ayim in his welcome statement. He was of the view that, the fewer the members the better to manage, and that, the Alliance should not focus on just adding on to its membership base, but have a few resourceful ones to make the impact needed on food security and nutrition issues in Ghana .  His other concern was to find out if the Alliance had a strategic plan for members who would want to join to look at the programmes being run by the Alliance and compare it to theirs to fit in. He concluded that these should be looked at to avoid duplication of efforts, open up to better opportunities, better evidence from community members and lastly stronger donor involvement in the Alliance.

 

Nana Ayim said he envisaged that members would raise such concerns at the workshop. He assured members that the Alliance was capable of managing as many members as possible effectively. He stated that aside its membership base currently around 40, the Alliance set up a parliamentary caucus against hunger and malnutrition in Ghana which has been successfully managed effectively till date. He had confidence in the Alliance secretariat and prayed that they shall work even harder to include and manage more members. The Alliance has a strategic plan in place for 5 years, and he promised to share with members who are interested to guide their programmes and activities in order to guide members in programme planning.

 

Zeinab Nettey from the Ghana Muslim Mission after reading the concept note realized the high incidence of hunger and malnutrition in the northern regions compared to the southern zones. She was curious to know if the Alliance had plans to organize such workshops and the many forums in the north since they needed the awareness more. Nana Ayim in response said that indeed, the capacity building project was to build the Alliance’s strengths to advocate effectively for improved food security and nutrition. The Alliance has organized some workshops and seminars, as well as the 1000 days of the child concert all in the north. The Alliance hoped to do more after the capacity building project and will hope to partner with some of its members who are already on the grounds in the north.

 

5.0 Key Emerging Issues after Presentation

Key issues raised after the presentation on networking and partnership building.

  • Isaac Adjei from the Hunger Project acknowledged the importance of the topic in the work of Non-State Actors like his organization. He said no individual NGO had all the resources both human and financial to make the desired impact. But his worry was that, in trying to network and build partnerships with other organizations, some organizations try to compete with each other and become very territorial. He pointed out to Fidelis to add challenges of networking and partnership building to his presentation so that it can be further discussed for a better solution. Mr Fidelis noted his contribution to add challenges to the topic presented.
  • Madam Wilhelmina Okwabi was worried why there should be competition among Non-State Actors if they were all working towards a common good. She said there should be harmonization to solve this challenge of competition.
  • Nana Ayim reiterated that Non-State Actors should examine their programmes so as to avoid duplication of efforts. He was disappointed that some members of the network don’t share the impact they are making in areas of food security and nutrition and allow government to take credit for them. He shared with members how surprised he was to know that Islamic Council for Development and Humanitarian Services, a member of the Alliance could drill over 500 boreholes in a year and there was no communication on that.
  • Fidelis said the issue of competition is a cultural mindset which needs to be changed by Ghanaians. There should be a defined approach to tackle the situation; there is no need to compete when organizations have different targets
  • Mr John Agyekum asked what was being done for farmers who considered themselves ‘poor’. Dr Takyi said his outfit was introducing 10 farming models to address farming systems in Ghana. Professionalizing farming, one of the models was a concept to make farming a real business thereby creating an interest from the financial institutions to invest.
  • Isaac Ampomah said, as an advocacy issue, the Alliance needs to look at climate change adaptation and its effects on agriculture. He suggested inviting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA climate change desk) to be a part of the Alliance. Dr Takyi proposed the farming with trees and farming without plowing concepts which he was developing. Scientific observations have proven that plowing destroys the soil when the top layer goes down and vice versa. This was well received by members.

SOME INVITEDPARTICIPANTS

 

 

  • Presentation on communication and advocacy and its importance for food security and nutrition (Mrs Wilhelmina Okwabi, Technical Facilitator, HAG/GHACCSUN)

 

Mrs Wilhelmina Okwabi presented on communication and advocacy and its importance for food security and nutrition. The objective was to increase the number of CSOs who act as advocates/champions for nutrition and conduct trainings and other activities among the groups they represent. She started with a reflection on the current challenges resulting from inadequate food intake and past episodes of under nutrition resulting to poor health conditions. She backed it up with statistics on current trends of hunger and malnutrition in Ghana

 

Current Trends of Hunger and malnutrition in Ghana

  • 3 million Ghanaians are food insecure
  • Under nutrition massively contributes to under-five mortality levels
  • 1 in 13 die before their 5thbirthday
  • 50% of child deaths are due to under nutrition
  • Chronic and acute malnutrition remains a widespread problem in Ghana
  • Reduction in prevalence of malnutrition has been slow
  • There is little understanding of the effects of malnutrition on society
  • There are few nutrition champions at any level
  • Poor intersectoral collaboration.

 

She stressed that, the progressive realization of the right to adequate food is a legitimate concern of the Government of Ghana, the international community and Non-State Actors. Communication and advocacy was therefore one of the most powerful tools to solve the issue of hunger and malnutrition in Ghana.

 

To support change, there is the need to

  • Increase investments in food security and nutrition
  • Ensure joint efforts
  • Scale-up effective interventions
  • Food security and nutrition should be a priority at all levels in Ghana society (i.e. individual, household, community, government, etc.)
  • A wide social movement is needed to rally support for food security and nutrition services and reposition nutrition as a public issue
  • Food security and nutrition champions are needed at each level – national, regional and local
  • Action planning for food security and nutrition is needed at the district and community levels
  • Strengthened intersectoral and intrasectoral coordination within the Government of Ghana is needed
  • Intensive communication to support improved diet and supplementation

 

In her presentation, she outlined those who directly and indirectly influence food security and nutrition who can be used as mediums for communication and advocacy.

 

Those Directly Influencing those Most Affected

  • Caregivers to children under 5 (including grandmothers and fathers)
  • Husbands/partners of pregnant and lactating women
  • Relatives of pregnant and lactating women and caregivers of children under 5 including siblings, in-laws and extended family
  • Neighbors and peers
  • Community media
  • Health workers
  • Traditional/Faith-based healers
  • Teachers
  • Community leaders including Chiefs and Queen mothers
  • Religious leaders

 

Those Indirectly Influencing those Most Affected

  • Media including journalists and gatekeepers (i.e. editors and producers in television, radio, print and online)
  • Policymakers
  • Politicians
  • Civil Society including associations of NGOs
  • Officials and Districts (MMDAs) and Regional (RCCs) levels
  • Food value chain including farmers, food processors, distributors and sellers
  • Development partners and large NGOs

 

Channels for Communication and Advocacy

  • Target association meetings (e.g. Farmers and Fishermen, Women Groups)
  • Seminars/stakeholder meetings with CSOs at the regional level
  • One-on-one meetings with targeted leaders and identified advocates within the CSO , at national, regional, district and community level
  • Targeted print materials
  • Workshops and trainings with commitment to action
  • Seminars/stakeholder meetings with CSOs at the national level

 

 

 

She concluded her presentation with a quote from the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan

“Hunger is a complex crises. To solve it we must address the interconnected challenge of agriculture, healthcare, adverse and unfair market conditions, weak infrastructure and environmental degradation”. Kofi Annan – PANI

 

7.0 Emerging Issues

  • At the household level where most NGO’s provide direct intervention, households should be empowered to change their farming and eating habits through effective communication and advocacy.
  • Madam Wilhelmina said there was too much focus on crops by farmers in Ghana, there was the need to focus on livestock also since they provide good nutrition for human growth.
  • Mr John Agyekum emphasized the need for the Alliance to advocate against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in Ghana. He felt the topic had been relegated to the background and challenged the Alliance to take up.
  • Madam Wilhelmina Okwabi said the government does not fund research enough to approve or disprove the reality behind GMO’s. If the Alliance should advocate against it, it needed a little bit of evidence to prove that GMO’s are not good for the country’s agriculture. She continued by saying that every year Ghana losses 30% of its foods produced and the Alliance should focus on post-harvest losses instead and advocate effectively for government to address it rather than GMO’s.

 

8.0 Way Forward

  1. The Alliance should organize a forum on sharing responsibilities to curb the integration gap of NGO’s especially in the North
  2. The Alliance and its members should research more into the debates about GMO’s since knowledge on it is scanty. This will enable effective advocacy for or against it.
  3. Ghana Food Sovereignty and the Crop Research Institute should be invited to a forum to educate Alliance members about GMO’s
  4. Member organizations should come out with a strategic plan with clear goals in order to foster better partnerships and to avoid duplication of efforts for maximum impact.
  5. Members should act as advocates and harmonize their interventions through proper planning.
  6. It is important for members to also train themselves for better service delivery and credibility.
  7. Members of the Alliance should document and share their interventions in areas of food security and nutrition which are making an impact.
  8. The need to have a composite plan including communication, advocacy, networking and all other plans in order to implement and monitor effectively to be able to tell where capacity was being increased or not.

 

9.0 Closing Remarks from the Executive Director of HAG

Nana Ayim thanked board, staff and members for attending the capacity building workshop. He called the training timely and enriching and was happy participants were very active in the discussions after both presentations.  It reaffirmed commitments of board, staff and members to be better advocates for food security and nutrition in Ghana through networking and partnership. He said agriculture is a priority area which should be taken very seriously by members of the Alliance and the country at large. He informed members of a forum the Alliance plans to organize to advocate for investments in nutrition interventions ahead of the budget hearing of the government of Ghana. He thanked participants again for attending the workshop concluded with a closing prayer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRAINING WORKSHOP ON NETWORKING AND PARTNERSHIP BUILDING, COMMUNICATION AND ADVOCACY ON FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION

GHANA NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TEACERS HALL, CONFERENCE ROOM

                                                          TUESDAY 28TH OCTOBER 2015, 9:00am-3:10pm

                                                   Agenda

Time Activity Responsibility
9:00am-9:10 am Opening Prayer Alhaji Tetteh( Regional Chairman, Ghana Muslim Mission)
9:10am-9:20am Introduction of participants  
9:20am-9:30am

 

 

Welcome Address

 

 

Nana Ayim Poakwah(Executive Director, HAG)

 

9:30am- 9:40am Overview of Hunger Alliance of Ghana’s capacity building for board members staff, and members. Facilitator
9.40am – 9.55am Expectations and ground rules of the workshop Facilitator
10:00am-10:30am Coffee Break  
10:30am-11:30 Presentation on networking and partnership building and its importance for food security and nutrition Mr Fidelis Avogo( Technical Facilitator, HAG)

 

11:30am-12:00pm First discussion/  Interaction All Participants
12:00pm-1:00pm Lunch Break  
1:00pm-2:00pm Presentation on communication and advocacy and its importance on food security and nutrition related issues Madam Wilhelmina Okwabi( Technical Facilitator, HAG)

 

 

2:00pm-2:30pm Second discussion/ Interaction All participants
2:30pm-2:40pm Wrap up

 

All Participants
2:40pm-3:00pm Closing remarks Nana Ayim( Executive Director HAG)
3:00pm-3:10pm Closing prayer Mr Abdallah Fari(ICODEHS)

 

 

 

 

 

HAG CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP REPORT

REPORT ON HUNGER ALLIANCE OF GHANA’S STAFF, BOARD MEMBERS AND REPRESENTATIVES OF SELECTED MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS TRAINING WORKSHOP ON NETWORKING AND PARTNERSHIP BUILDING, COMMUNICATION AND ADVOCACY

GHANA NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TEACERS HALL, CONFERENCE ROOM

 28TH OCTOBER, 2015

 

ACRONYMS

 

AAHM              Alliance against Hunger and Malnutrition

AU                   African Union

DP                    Development Partner

ECOWAS          Economic Community of West African States

FAO                 Food and Agriculture Organization

FBO                 Farmer Based Organization

GOG                Government of Ghana

GPCAHM         Ghana Parliamentary Caucus against Hunger and Malnutrition

GHACCSUN      Ghana Coalition of Civil Society Organizations on Scaling Up Nutrition

GSS                  Ghana Statistical Service

HAG                 Hunger Alliance of Ghana

MOH               Ministry of Health (Ghana)

NAAP               National Alliance Partnership Programme

SUN                 Scale up Nutrition

WAAAHM        West African Alliance against Hunger and Malnutrition

WFP                 World Food Programme (UN)

 

 

Table of content

 

  • Introduction

 

1.1 Rational of the training

 

1.2 Workshop Objectives

1.3 Participants, Resource Person and Methodology

 

1.4 Capacity building workshop approach

 

1.5 Outcomes and the way forward

 

  • Welcome address by Executive Director of HAG

 

  • Presentation on Networking and Partnership Building and its importance for food security and nutrition

 

  • Discussions after presentation

 

5.0 Key Emerging Issues after Presentation

 

  • Presentation on communication and advocacy and its importance for food security and nutrition

 

  • Emerging Issues

 

8.0 Way Forward

 

9.0 Closing Remarks by the Executive Director

 

Annex.

 

 

 

  • Introduction

Hunger Alliance of Ghana is a food security and nutrition advocacy network that brings together civil society organizations to have a unified and a common voice to advocate for improved food security and nutrition outcomes in Ghana and through lobbying and knowledge sharing, connects with all relevant stakeholders to build the necessary political will to end poverty.

 

Hunger Alliance of Ghana was founded in 2005 and was incorporated as a legal entity in 2008 under the companies code 1963 (Act 179). Hunger Alliance of Ghana has a seven member board and it is made up of NGOs, CSOs, faith-based organizations, farmer-based organizations, gender based organizations and community-based organizations.

 

The Alliance comprising of 40 members is implementing a five year strategic plan 2015 to 2019 which is aimed at building a strong Alliance that has the capacity to influence food security and nutrition policies, plans and programmes that can accelerate the process towards the attainment of a hunger- free Ghana. It is against this background that Hunger Alliance of Ghana with funding from the U.S Alliance to End Hunger and in line with US Government’s Feed the Future, organized the first training workshop for its board, staff and some member organizations in communication and advocacy and networking and partnership building. The purpose of the training workshop was to strengthen the capacity of the Alliance by equipping members of the Alliance with the necessary advocacy and partnership skills as well as the basic tools that shall ultimately enhance the overall capacity of the Alliance to continue to champion Ghana’s food security and nutrition issues at the national and community level. It was also aimed at inculcating in members and staff, the spirit of oneness, openness and inclusiveness which are the cardinal pillars or the foundation that is required for the establishment and the running of a successful Alliance.

 

 

 

 1.1 Rational of the training

 

Communication and Advocacy, networking and partnership building have become very powerful tools to influence policy directions in any country. The training of the HAG Board, staff and members was meant to equip them with the relevant communication and advocacy tools that could enhance the Alliance’s activity planning and implementation as well as its visibility.

 

1.2 Workshop Objectives

The main objectives of the training workshop were ;

1.To build the capacity of members, board and staff in communication and advocacy, networking and partnership building in order to advance the Alliance’s course to championing Ghana’s food security and nutrition agenda in a more effective way.

  1. To equip participants to understand advocacy and networking tools that can ultimately enhance the national campaign for a hunger free Ghana.

 

1.3 Participants, Resource Person and Methodology

 

The beneficiaries of the training included the five Alliance staff, Board and selected member organizations. The training was facilitated by Dr Noah Owusu-Takyi, board member of the Alliance and the Founding President of the Professional Farmers College and the Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture now Kumasi University College of Agriculture. For over 30 years of his career, Dr. Owusu-Takyi has offered training to farmers including farmer organizations and has done extensive research on model agriculture value chain systems that works for the small holder farmer. He was assisted at the training workshop by the Executive Director of Hunger Alliance of Ghana, Nana Ayim Poakwah.

 

 

1.4 Capacity building workshop approach

The training involved power point presentations on communication and advocacy as well as networking and partnership building. Discussions and deliberations were made by participants followed by suggestions. It was intended to be participatory and interactive and was grounded on solid facilitation process.

 

1.5 Outcomes and the way forward

At the end of the workshop, members, board and staff of the Alliance;

 

  1. Gained further insight into the current food security and nutrition situation in Ghana including the challenges and opportunities that would help in the process for change.
  2. Were equipped with further understanding of advocacy and networking tools to enhance the national campaign for a hunger free Ghana.
  3. Understood the long term vision of the Alliance and its strategic plan that required members to work together to sustain its inclusiveness and ownership.

 

  • Welcome address by Executive Director of Hunger Alliance of Ghana

Following a prayer by Alhaji Mohammed Tetteh of the Ghana Muslim Mission to commence the workshop, Nana Ayim Poakwah, Executive Director of Hunger Alliance of Ghana welcomed participants to the training workshop. He apologized for the delay in the commencement of the workshop and registered regret and apology from the Board Chairman, Dr Frank Mcavor who was unable to attend. The Executive Director informed participants that the workshop was an in-house training as part of the National Alliance’s strengthening process under the National Alliance Partnership Programme. He noted that there was the need to build the capacity of Board, staff and members of the Alliance to effectively advocate and build partnership to improve the country’s food security and nutrition situation.

He emphasized the need for the Alliance to broaden its membership base by its projection after 2015. This according to him would be helpful in its advocacy activities as a result of its numerical strength. According to the Executive Director, the Alliance had found a new path driven by partnership and networking by developing new projects with some member organizations such as the Islamic Council on Development and Humanitarian Services (ICODEHS) and the Ghana Muslim Mission. The Alliance was developing a new proposal with ICODEHS aimed at improving the nutritional status of Muslim women and children in the various Muslim communities in Ghana whiles supporting the Ghana Muslim Mission to establish model school farms in Islamic schools. According to him, the Alliance was also partnering with the Hunger Project in the implementation of the Alliance’s hunger-free Ghana project which is in line with the Zero Hunger Initiative of ECOWAS.

The Executive Director was optimistic that the workshop would further open opportunities for members to share ideas and strategize on how to move the Alliance’s programmes forward. He said through the workshop, members would also provide alternative ideas on the current structure, membership and leadership of the Alliance as well as inputs that could guide the Alliance in the development of the Alliance’s advocacy strategy.

 

                                 Nana Ayim Poakwah giving his Welcome Address

 

3.0 Presentation on Networking and Partnership Building and its importance for food security and nutrition (Mr. Fidelis Avogo, Technical Facilitator, HAG)

 

Mr Fidelis Avogo made a presentation on networking and partnership building and its importance for food security and nutrition in Ghana. He thanked the Alliance management for the opportunity given him. He said the session would be an interactive one and asked members to pen down questions to be discussed after the presentation. His presentation had the following outline;

  • An introduction and definition of networking and partnership building
  • Key elements in networking
  • What networking does
  • Types of networking
  • Importance of networking
  • Conclusion

Mr. Avogo explained that there was an old and new paradigm shift regarding networking and partnership building. In the past (Old Paradigm shift/Industrial Age) organizations had features of stability, control, competition and uniformity. Current information age however encouraged more collaboration, empowerment, people and relationship and diversity. There was the need to nurture and cultivate partnerships if Non-State Actors want to succeed in areas of food security and nutrition. Networking consisted of a web or relationships formed by people in order to get things done. Networking had many benefits including effective change, quality of decisions, effective leadership, innovation and synergy.

He concluded that today’s relationship either as individuals or organizations is changing drastically due to the surge in information and proliferation of complex market systems. It therefore called for a new approach to doing some of the old things to maintain and expand the present status quo. That is where networking becomes the lubricant that oils and propels CSOs to achieving positive results with the new paradigm shift.

             Mr Fidelis Avogo presenting on networking and partnership building

 

4.0 Discussions after presentation

Participants well received the presentations made by Mr Avogo. The overall goal of his presentation on networking and partnership building was acknowledged as a step in the right direction. However, there were a few concerns raised.

  • Mr Isaac Adjei, from the Hunger Project talked about the Alliance’s willingness to increase its membership base as indicated by the Executive Director in his welcome statement. He had a view that the fewer the members the better to manage therefore the Alliance should not focus on adding to its membership base, but have a few resourceful organizations that can make an impact on food security and nutrition in Ghana . His other concern was to find out if the Alliance had a strategic plan for its members who would want to join. This would encourage appropriate synergies and avoid duplication of efforts.
  • The Executive Director assured members that the Alliance was capable of effectively managing as many members as possible. He said aside the Alliance’s membership base currently over 40 organizations; it has set up a parliamentary caucus against hunger and malnutrition in Ghana which has been successfully managed till date. He had confidence in the Alliance secretariat and prayed that the team would work even harder to include and manage more members. The Alliance has a five year strategic plan and he promised to work with member organizations that wanted to align their programmes with the plan to ensure effective harmonization.
  • Zeinab Nettey from the Ghana Muslim Mission realized that there was high incidence of hunger and malnutrition in the northern regions of Ghana compared to the south. She asked if the Alliance would organize some workshops in the north to bridge the gap. The Executive Director mentioned that indeed the training workshop was meant to build the Alliance’s strength in order to advocate effectively for improved food security and nutrition in Ghana as the current arrangement indicated. The Alliance has organized some workshops and seminars, as well as the 1,000 days of the child concert all in northern Ghana and hopes to do more.

 

5.0 Key Emerging Issues after Presentation

Key issues raised after the presentation on networking and partnership building included the following:

  • Isaac Adjei acknowledged the importance of the topic in the work of Non-State Actors like his organization. He said no individual NGO had all the resources both human and financial to make the desired impact. But his concern was that some organizations try to compete with each other and become very territorial when a partnership arrangement is proposed. He asked Mr. Avogo to add challenges of networking and partnership building to his presentation.
  • Okwabi was worried about competition among Non-State Actors if they were working towards the common goal. She encouraged harmonization in NSAs activities to solve the challenge of competition.
  • The Executive Director reiterated that Non-State Actors should examine their programmes so as to avoid duplication of efforts. He was disappointed that some members of the Alliance do not share the impact they are making in areas of food security and nutrition and allow government to take credit for their effort. He shared with members how surprised he was to know that Islamic Council for Development and Humanitarian Services, a member of the Alliance could drill over 500 boreholes in a year and there was no report on that in the media.
  • Avogo called the issue of competition a cultural mindset which needed to be changed. A defined approach should be employed to tackle the situation.
  • John Agyekum from Hunger Alliance of Ghana asked what was being done for farmers who considered themselves poor. Dr. Noah Owusu-Takyi from Professional Farming College mentioned that his outfit was introducing ten farming models to address farming systems in Ghana. Professionalizing farming, one of the models was a concept to make farming a real business thereby creating an interest from the financial institutions to invest in farming. This would lift farmers out of poverty.
  • Isaac Ampomah of Concern Health said the Alliance needs to look at climate change adaptation and its effects on agriculture. He suggested that the Alliance should invite the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA climate change desk) to be part of the Alliance. Dr. Owusu-Takyi proposed farming with trees and farming without plowing concept which he was developing as a solution for climate change.

                         Some Participants at the workshop

 

 

  • Presentation on communication and advocacy and its importance for food security and nutrition (Mrs Wilhelmina Okwabi, Technical Facilitator, HAG)

 

Mrs. Wilhelmina Okwabi made a presentation on communication and advocacy and its importance for food security and nutrition in Ghana. The objective was to increase the number of CSOs who acted as advocates/champions for nutrition and conduct trainings and other activities among the groups they represented. She started with current statistics on hunger and malnutrition in Ghana.

 

Current Trend of Hunger and malnutrition in Ghana

  • 3 million Ghanaians are food insecure
  • Under nutrition massively contributes to under-five mortality levels
  • 1 in 13 die before his or her fifth birthday
  • 50% of child deaths are due to under nutrition
  • Chronic and acute malnutrition remains a widespread problem in Ghana
  • Reduction in prevalence of malnutrition has been slow
  • There is little understanding of the effects of malnutrition on society
  • There are few nutrition champions at any level
  • Poor intersectoral collaboration.

 

She said the progressive realization of the right to adequate food is a legitimate concern of the Government of Ghana, the international community and Non-State Actors. Communication and advocacy was therefore one of the most powerful tools to solve the issue of hunger and malnutrition in Ghana.

 

To support change, there is the need to

  • Increase investments in food security and nutrition
  • Ensure joint efforts
  • Scale-up effective interventions
  • Food security and nutrition should be a priority issue at all levels in Ghanaian society (i.e. individual, household, community, government, etc.)
  • A wide social movement is needed to rally support for food security and nutrition services and reposition nutrition as a public issue.
  • Food security and nutrition champions are needed at each level – national, regional and local.
  • Action planning for food security and nutrition is needed at the district and community levels.
  • Strengthened intersectoral and intrasectoral coordination within the Government of Ghana is needed.
  • Intensive communication to support improved diet and supplementation.

 

In her presentation, she outlined stakeholder who directly and indirectly had influence on food security and nutrition and could be used as agents for communication and advocacy.

 

Those Directly Influencing those Mostly Affected

  • Caregivers to children under 5 (including grandmothers and fathers)
  • Husbands/partners of pregnant and lactating women
  • Relatives of pregnant and lactating women and caregivers of children under 5 including siblings, in-laws and extended family
  • Neighbors and peers
  • Community media
  • Health workers
  • Traditional/Faith-based healers
  • Teachers
  • Community leaders including Chiefs and Queen mothers
  • Religious leaders

 

Those Indirectly Influencing those Mostly Affected

  • Media including journalists and gatekeepers (i.e. editors and producers in television, radio, print and online)
  • Policymakers
  • Politicians
  • Civil Society including associations of NGOs
  • Officials and Districts (MMDAs) and Regional (RCCs) levels
  • Food value chain including farmers, food processors, distributors and sellers
  • Development partners and large NGOs

 

Channels for Communication and Advocacy

  • Target association meetings (e.g. Farmers and Fishermen, Women Groups)
  • Seminars/stakeholder meetings with CSOs at the regional level
  • One-on-one meetings with targeted leaders and identified advocates within the CSO at national, regional, district and community level
  • Targeted print materials
  • Workshops and trainings with commitment to action
  • Seminars/stakeholder meetings with CSOs at the national level

 

7.0 Emerging Issues

  • Households should be empowered to change their farming and eating habits through effective communication and advocacy.
  • Wilhelmina Okwabi said there was too much focus on crops by farmers in Ghana. According to her there was the need to focus on livestock also since they provide good nutrition for human growth.
  • John Agyekum emphasized the need for the Alliance to advocate against Genetically Modified crops (GMOs) in Ghana. He felt the topic had been relegated to the background and challenged the Alliance to take it up.
  • Okwabi said the government does not fund research enough to approve or disprove the reality behind GMOs. If the Alliance should advocate against it, it needed a little bit of evidence to prove that GMOs are not good for the country’s agriculture. She continued by saying that every year Ghana losses 30% of its produce at the farm gate so the Alliance should focus on post-harvest losses instead and advocate effectively for government to address it rather than GMOs.

 

8.0 Way Forward

  1. The Alliance should organize a forum on sharing responsibilities to curb the integration gap of NGOs especially in Northern Ghana.
  2. The Alliance and its members should research more into the debates about GMOs since knowledge on it is scanty.
  3. Member organizations should come out with a strategic plan with clear goals in order to foster better partnerships and to avoid duplication of efforts for maximum impact.
  4. Members should act as advocates and harmonize their interventions through proper planning.
  5. It is important for members to also train themselves for better service delivery and credibility.
  6. Members of the Alliance should document and share their interventions in areas of food security and nutrition where they are making impact.
  7. The need to have a composite plan including communication, advocacy and networking in order to be able to determine where capacity was really needed.

 

9.0 Closing Remarks from the Executive Director of HAG

The Executive Director thanked board, staff and members for attending the training workshop. He mentioned that the training workshop was timely and was happy participants were very active in the discussions after both presentations. The active participation of the staff and board members of the Alliance again confirmed the commitment of the board, staff and members to the cause of the Alliance as they sought to be better advocates for food security and nutrition in Ghana by learning from each other. He said agriculture is a national priority development sector which should be taken very seriously by members of the Alliance and the country at large.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRAINING WORKSHOP ON NETWORKING AND PARTNERSHIP BUILDING, COMMUNICATION AND ADVOCACY ON FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION

GHANA NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TEACERS HALL, CONFERENCE ROOM

                                                          TUESDAY 28TH OCTOBER 2015, 9:00am-3:10pm

                                                   Agenda

Time Activity Responsibility
9:00am-9:10 am Opening Prayer Alhaji Tetteh( Regional Chairman, Ghana Muslim Mission)
9:10am-9:20am Introduction of participants  
9:20am-9:30am

 

 

Welcome Address

 

 

Nana Ayim Poakwah(Executive Director, HAG)

 

9:30am- 9:40am Overview of Hunger Alliance of Ghana’s capacity building for board members staff, and members. Facilitator
9.40am – 9.55am Expectations and ground rules of the workshop Facilitator
10:00am-10:30am Coffee Break  
10:30am-11:30 Presentation on networking and partnership building and its importance for food security and nutrition Mr Fidelis Avogo( Technical Facilitator, HAG)

 

11:30am-12:00pm First discussion/  Interaction All Participants
12:00pm-1:00pm Lunch Break  
1:00pm-2:00pm Presentation on communication and advocacy and its importance on food security and nutrition related issues Madam Wilhelmina Okwabi( Technical Facilitator, HAG)

 

 

2:00pm-2:30pm Second discussion/ Interaction All participants
2:30pm-2:40pm Wrap up

 

All Participants
2:40pm-3:00pm Closing remarks Nana Ayim( Executive Director HAG)
3:00pm-3:10pm Closing prayer Mr Abdallah Fari(ICODEHS)

 

 

 

 

 

REPORT ON ROUND TABLE DIALOGUE ON SUN POST 2015 FINANCING

 

REPORT ON ROUND TABLE DIALOGUE ON SUN POST 2015 FINANCING

COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS

2ND DECEMBER, 2015

 

ACRONYMS

AU                   African Union

DAs                 District Assemblies

DCE                 District Chief Executive

DP                    Development Partner

ECOWAS          Economic Community of West African States

FAO                 Food and Agriculture Organization

FBO                 Farmer Based Organization

GOG                Government of Ghana

GPCAHM         Ghana Parliamentary Caucus against Hunger and Malnutrition

GHACCSUN      Ghana Coalition of Civil Society Organizations on Scaling Up Nutrition

GHS                  Ghana Health Service

GSS                  Ghana Statistical Service

HAG                 Hunger Alliance of Ghana

MOH               Ministry of Health

MOFA              Ministry of Food and Agriculture

MOF                Ministry of Finance

NAAP               National Alliance Partnership Programme

NDPC              National Development Planning Commission

SUN                 Scaling up Nutrition

UNICEF           United Nations Children Fund

WAAAHM        West African Alliance against Hunger and Malnutrition

WIAD              Women in Agriculture Development

WFP                 World Food Programme (UN)

 

1.1 Introduction

Politically, Ghana has demonstrated commitment to addressing her food security and nutrition challenges both locally and internationally. For instance Ghana is a signatory to a number of international declarations endorsing the right of its citizens to adequate food and nutrition. Policies, programmes and strategies to address food insecurity and under nutrition over the years  include the national breast feeding policy (1995), the infant and young child feeding strategy (2008), the vitamin A policy (1998), the food and drugs law amendments on universal salt iodization (1995), the National Nutrition Policy (2014-2017). Ghana also joined the SUN movement as an early riser country in 2011. The 1992 constitution of Ghana also acknowledges the right to good nutrition as a fundamental human right. It is however unknown how these acknowledgements and commitments are translated into investment in nutrition. It has emerged that the implementation of food security and nutrition policies and programmes has been plagued with inadequate financial commitment by government over the years. Analysis of previous national budgets and the 2016 budget of the government of Ghana shows that nutrition has never been given a clear budget line and allocations for nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive sectors have also been fluctuating over the years. It has also emerged that the chunk of the budget allocation for nutrition specific and sensitive sectors has been largely influenced by donor support

 

In pursuit of its objective of making nutrition a development priority given adequate funding in the national budgets, the Ghana Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Scaling Up Nutrition (GHACCSUN) through the Hunger Alliance of Ghana organized a round table dialogue on nutrition financing Ghana on the 2nd of December 2015 to shed more light on these issues in the 2016 national budget.

 

  • Rational of the dialogue

The rationale of the dialogue was to determine the extent at which the previous and 2016 national budgets are nutrition sensitive. It was also to determine the exact budgetary allocation provided in the budgets for nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive sectors in order to understand the progression of budgetary allocations for nutrition since 2014.

 

  • Objectives of the dialogue
  • To inform participants about the government of Ghana’s financial commitment to scale up nutrition.
  • To call on government of Ghana to recognize nutrition as a development priority issue.
  • To help stakeholders understand and adapt strategies to influence government to increase investment in nutrition

 

1.3 Participants, Resource Person and Methodology

Participants included CSO representatives, UN Agencies, representatives from Development Partners, Academia, the private sector, nutrition champions and advocates. Others included representatives from Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology and Innovation, Ministry of Health, National Development Planning Commission and Ghana Health Service. The dialogue was facilitated by Dr. John Nene Azu. The dialogue involved welcome address and statements from key stakeholders followed by a power point presentation. Discussions, deliberations and suggestions followed. The round table dialogue was participatory and interactive and was grounded on solid facilitation process.

2.0 Chairpersons opening remarks (Dr. Edith Tetteh)

The event started with a prayer by Amen Amen Reynolds Amen followed by an introduction of the Chairperson by the facilitator in the person of Dr. Edith Tetteh, a Commissioner of the National Development Planning Commission. Dr. Tetteh was happy about the timing of the round table dialogue since it was just after the country had presented its national budget to parliament. She reiterated how important nutrition was and needed adequate funding in the country’s budget to scale it up as a priority area. She hoped that participants would bring out better strategies to advocate for increased investment in the national budgets for nutrition moving forward. She wished participants fruitful deliberations and encouraged everyone to partake in the discussions.

 

3.0 Welcome Address- (Dr. Frank Mcavor)

Dr. Frank Mcavor, Chairman of the Ghana Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Scaling Up nutrition (GHACCSUN) in his welcome address explained that nutrition was a multi-sectorial issue and emphasized how pressing nutrition issues were to the overall development of the country. He said as Civil Society Organizations under the umbrella of GHACCSUN, more was expected to put pressure on government for increased financial commitments in nutrition sensitive and specific sectors in the nation’s budget. According to Dr. Mcavor policies have been adopted, advocacies have been embarked upon since the government joined the Scaling Up Nutrition movement in 2011, however there was no clear budget line for nutrition in the national budget to date. He saw the dialogue to be a good opportunity to come out with practicable strategies to advocate for financial commitment to nutrition and urged participants to contribute their ideas to solving this challenge.

 

 

4.0 Statement on behalf of the Ghana Parliamentarians Against Hunger and Malnutrition Caucus) (Honorable Kwabena- Appiah Pinkrah

Honorable Kwabena Appiah-Pinkrah, Member of Parliament for Akrofuom constituency and also the Co-Chairman of the Ghana Parliamentarians Caucus against Hunger and Malnutrition made a Statement on behalf of the Caucus on the role of Parliament in influencing the allocation of adequate funds for nutrition sensitive sectors in national budgets. He emphasized that nutrition was a very sensitive area that needed adequate attention. He supported the call for a nutrition agency to be placed under the Presidency, advising the civil society organizations to start early lobbying to ensure that nutrition issues got a high budgetary allocation. He also explained that before the budget comes to parliament for approval, it goes through a number of processes. Civil Society should not wait till it has come to parliament for approval before making a case out of what has been allocated to nutrition specific and sensitive sectors that would be too late. He commended the alliance for organizing the round table dialogue and pledged his support and that of the caucus in parliament for the continued lobbying to making nutrition a national priority issue supported with adequate funding.

Honorable Kwabena Appiah Pinkrah giving his statement at the dialogue

 

5.0 Presentation on the analysis of budgetary allocation for nutrition

Mr. Fidelis Avogo, a Resource Person made a presentation on the  analysis of budgetary allocation for nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive sectors in national budgets from 2014 to 2016. He also presented the country’s nutritional situation to stakeholders and pointed out that seven out of 10 children in Ghana suffer from vitamin A deficiency, seven out of 10 children under age five were anaemic and two out of five women were anaemic. Investing in nutrition could save 3,000 lives by preventing underweight and 2,500 children by decreasing vitamin A deficiency. It could also help prevent permanent brain damage in 50,000 children by decreasing iodine deficiency while saving the lives of more than 4,500 mothers by decreasing maternal anaemia. Mr. Avogo said even though Ghana had demonstrated political commitment to scale up nutrition, there seem to be no clear effort at enhancing food security and nutrition interventions through the provision of budgetary support. He called on government to show a lot more commitment towards improving nutrition in the national budgets moving forward. Some details of his presentation are below:

 

THE COMPLEX MIX OF NUTRITION

 

WHY MUST WE INVEST IN NUTRITION

  1. We are all human beings and eat food
  1. We all can be affected by either-under nutrition or over-nutrition
  1. Consequences of nutrition challenges:
  2. Increased Infections
  3. Impaired Physical Growth
  4. Impaired Mental Development
  1. Investing in nutrition will achieve the following targets in one year:
  • Save 3,000 lives by preventing underweight
  • Save the lives of more than 2,500 children by decreasing vitamin A deficiency
  • Prevent permanent brain damage in 50,000 children by decreasing iodine deficiency

Save the lives of more than 4,500 mothers by decreasing maternal anaemia

 

 GHANA’S BUDGETARY ALLOCATIONS FOR NUTRITION SPECIFIC AND SENSITIVE SECTORS

Sector 2014 Budget 2015 Budget (Ghs) Variance 2014 – 2015 2016 Budget (Ghs) Variance 2015 – 2016
MoH 3,353,707,814 3,068,244,628 (285,463,186) 3,386,762,864 318,518,236
MoFA 306,891,987 411,821,430 104,929,443 501,501,708 89,680,278
MLGRD 239,851,160 290,983,971 51,132,811 605,039,658 31,405,587
Gender 91,038708 43,631,694 (47,407,014) 49,520,377 5,888,683
MoE 5,816,315,034 6,740,437,383 924,122,349 6,532,352,029 208,085,354
MoWWH 531,389,023 463,103,420 (68,285,603) 1,418,584,338 955,480,918
NDPC 6,548,479 6,173,672 (374,807) 4,993,001 (1,180,671)
MEST 245,955,307 243,399,833 (2,555,474) 274,215,152 30,815,319

 

SOME OBSERVATIONS MADE IN THE NUTRITION SPECIFIC SECTORS

MOH MOFA POLICY
  1. Nutrition is a department under GHS with no specific budgetary allocation
  1. Over concentration on developing cash crops instead of Food Crops

 

  1. Ghana’s constitution guarantee the right to food and nutrition but there seem to be no clear effort at food security and nutrition

 

  1. The whole GHS has no budget line  all come under MoH
  1. No thought given to fruits and vegetables development

 

2.      Development of strategic and national long-term development plans including GSGDA II,  National Medium term Dev’t framework etc

 

  1. No effort at promoting

nutrition awareness as a

national agenda by

resourcing the nutrition

department.

  1. No commitment to developing the poultry industry except to provide vaccines

 

3.      Training selected committees on M & E system

 

 
  1. Lack of attention for

extension and      research

 

4.      No mention of NDPC as National Focal point for Nutrition
 
  1. Women in agriculture empowerment very superficial

 

 
 
  1. Livestock production

dwindling

 

 
 
  1. Not meeting the  CAADP budgetary requirement  and or Maputu agreements

 

 
 
  1. Promotion of agriculture taking away land from subsistence  farmers thereby increasing poverty

 

 

 

 

6.0 Comments from presentation

Participants appreciated the presentation made on the budget analysis from the Resource Person. The Facilitator then gave participants the opportunity to ask questions regarding issues they may have identified from the presentation.

  • Paulina Addy, Deputy Director of Women in Agriculture Development (WIAD) under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture commended the presentation as a good one and suggested that the Agenda 2063 under NEPAD should have been added to the presentation. She further suggested that there was the need to critically look at agencies that are coordinating food security and nutrition interventions and the ones that are actually implementing to find out their clear roles and responsibilities. In conclusion she tasked the Resource Person to add the Ministry of Fisheries to the nutrition frontline sectors outlined in the presentation.
  • Isaac Ampomah from Concerned Health Ghana said it was imperative to know how much of the national budget was being funded by Development Partners and what was being funded by Civil Society Organizations to really assess the role CSOs play in support of nutrition. He gave an example that SEND Ghana contributes financially to government’s budget and this should be factored as a contribution from the CSO front. Mr. Ampomah added that aside the budgets, there was the need to analyze actual releases to show the actual commitment of government.
  • Victor Ngongalah from UNICEF said examining the budget allocations is very important and only the budget statement is not enough. MDA’s should be open to give CSOs information on the exact allocations in their district common funds since implementation takes place at the grass root level. He added that the National Development Planning Commission also required a high level of commitment and expertise to coordinate the Scaling Up Nutrition in Ghana, there was the need to critically look at that before committing resources to NDPC.
  • Edith Tetteh, Commissioner of the NDPC said 2014 was a challenging year for Ghana. This was because most of the allocations in the national budget were not released till the end of the 3rd quarter of the year. This made it very difficult to work since releases were not timely. It was then not enough to talk about allocations and not focus too on the actual releases of those allocations. There was the need to reexamine that aspect too.
  • Ngongalah again said there is no document in Ghana to show the actual commitment of the government of Ghana. There was the need to push for the promulgation of the National Nutrition Policy which was still before cabinet else in his view nutrition can never have a clear budget line in the subsequent national budgets. He added that CSOs are not publicizing their work on nutrition enough to receive the needed attention. CSOs should find ways of documenting their work to show their commitment.
  • Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa, the National Scaling Up Nutrition focal person said having a Nutrition Policy will not cure the malnutrition situation in Ghana. Policies have been passed and are not being used in the country. He said lobbying at the district level in his view was the solution. CSOs should be involved in the district planning process and the things that inform cabinet memo and the legislative instruments. He asked participants to assume that there was no policy on nutrition whereas high proportion of stunting and wasting was affecting the country’s growth, if participants had influences in the district levels, he did not see why channels like that could not be used to solve the problem. He stressed that the policy shall come however there was the need to start with the practicability of it and show the politicians what is actually happening in the communities. There was the need for CSOs to step out of their comfort zones and use radio opportunities to advocate for improved nutrition by enlightening District Chief Executives to know that nutrition is the bedrock of development.
  • Siapha Kamara, CEO of SEND Ghana asked how a nutrition budget could be developed and linked to the district assemblies. He said 2016 is gone there was the need to look at what CSOs can do to make nutrition reflective in the 2017 national budget and beyond. Communication should be intensified. Another critical area to be looked at was research to provide unquestionable data for nutrition planning and budgetary allocations.

 

 

 

                                    Participants at the dialogue

7.0 Proposed strategies

The Facilitator asked participants to come out with strategies and recommendations for joint action to advocate for increased investment in nutrition. Some of the recommendations were;

  1. The budget structure should be well understood by stakeholders’ especially civil society organizations before it goes to the district assemblies.
  2. There is the need to differentiate between actual coordination and implementation to identify what has to be dealt with. There is the need to look at specific challenges in the districts to find specific interventions that suit those challenges in each district.
  3. There is the need for NDPC to have a separate budget for nutrition or for SUN so that planning can help coordination.
  4. The mid-year review of the 2016 budget will present an opportunity for CSOs to still influence nutrition allocations.
  5. CSOs should advocate for the timely release of funds so as to effectively run nutrition programmes.
  6. A statement should be crafted for a Member of Parliament who can read it in parliament and also at the district assemblies. District assemblies should put up plans with resources beside it. They should not focus more on their district common funds. Some can generate enough resources from internally generated funds to fund nutrition interventions. This should be encouraged and be made part of the development planning process.
  7. There should be a sizable number of Members of Parliament advocating for increased budgetary allocation for nutrition.
  8. CSOs should collectively develop tactics to achieve one agenda in nutrition advocacy.
  9. CSOs who are investing in nutrition should document their experiences and impact to show their commitment to nutrition funding to also encourage government to invest more in nutrition.
  10. The one size fits all mentality should be demystified, each district should be profiled to see the nutrition gaps and what intervention to be designed for it.
  11. Budget analysis should be embarked upon at the upstream level.
  12. CSOs under the leadership of the Hunger Alliance of Ghana should plan a national nutrition conference hopefully in April and invite key Ministers and the President of the Republic of Ghana to discuss issues around nutrition.

 

8.0 Closing remarks

Dr. Edith Tetteh, the Chairperson of the round table dialogue was happy about the success of the dialogue and thanked participants for the zeal and enthusiasm in coming out with the numerous strategies outlined. In her closing remarks, she stressed that the ideas gathered from the deliberations should not be shelved but there should be a translation of all that into meaningful actions. Advocacy should not be only at the policy level, the grass roots level should not be left out. There was the need to also come out with innovative approaches to get finances of nutrition scaled up. She wished participants well in their efforts. The dialogue came to a conclusive end at 2:00 pm.

 

STAKEHOLDERS FORUM REPORT

                                                                “National Alliance Capacity Building in Ghana”

                                                                   (4TH MILESTONE)

REPORT ON A STAKEHOLDERS’ FORUM ON FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION IN GHANA

BRITISH COUNCIL, ACCRA.

26TH JANUARY, 2016

ACRONYMS

DAs                   District Assemblies

DCE                   District Chief Executive

DP                    Development Partner

ECOWAS          Economic Community of West African States

FAO                 Food and Agriculture Organization

FBO                 Farmer Based Organization

GOG                Government of Ghana

GPCAHM         Ghana Parliamentary Caucus against Hunger and Malnutrition

GHACCSUN      Ghana Coalition of Civil Society Organizations on Scaling Up Nutrition

GHS                   Ghana Health Service

GSS                  Ghana Statistical Service

HAG                 Hunger Alliance of Ghana

MOH               Ministry of Health

MOFA              Ministry of Food and Agriculture

NAAP               National Alliance Partnership Programme

NDPC               National Development Planning Commission

SUN                 Scaling up Nutrition

WAAAHM       West African Alliance against Hunger and Malnutrition

WIAD               Women in Agriculture Development

WFP                 World Food Programme (UN) 

Table of content

 

  • Introduction

 

1.1 Rational of the forum

 

1.2 Objectives

1.3 Participation, Resource Persons and approach.

 

  • Welcome address by Honorable Appiah-Pinkrah( Co-Chair of the Parliamentarians caucus against hunger and malnutrition)

 

  • Statement on the current status of Ghana’s food security situation(Honorable Yakubu Alhassan, Deputy Minister in charge of crops, Ministry of Food and Agriculture)

 

  • Statement on the essence of promoting national inclusiveness and political commitment to scale up nutrition in Ghana (Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa-National SUN focal person).

 

  • Emerging issues, discussions and suggestions

 

  • Highlight of the contributions of Civil Society Organizations (GHACCSUN) towards the realization of SUN objectives in Ghana (2013-2015).

 

  • Way forward

 

  • Closing remarks( Honorable Appiah-Pinkrah)

 

 

  • Introduction

Hunger and malnutrition have become major developmental issues confronting Ghana. Food security has declined dramatically in Ghana in recent reports. World Food Programme 2014 estimates that more than 3 million Ghanaians remain food insecure, making food security the country’s greatest challenge over the years.  Provision of enough food to feed the entire population has escaped many governments over the years despite policy measures to tackle the situation. The Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA II) is the medium-term national development policy framework of Government. It provides a consistent set of development policy objectives and strategies to guide the preparation and implementation of medium-term and annual development plans and budgets at sectorial and district levels. The medium term development vision of the GSGDA II is “a stable, united, inclusive and prosperous country with opportunities for all”. It is stated that the attainment of this vision requires a rise in agricultural productivity among other developmental goals while contributing to food and nutrition security for a sustained reduction of hunger and malnutrition.

 

The GSGDA II vision is further illustrated in the Health Sector Medium Term Development Plan (2014-2017) and the Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (2011-2015). Ghana’s nutrition objectives are to reduce child malnutrition, prevent and control Vitamin A, iron, and iodine deficiencies, ensure household food security, and reduce infant, child and maternal mortality.

 

Ghana is one of the few countries in sub-Sahara Africa that has achieved the Millennium Development Goal one of halving extreme hunger and poverty. However greater efforts should be made to consolidate the gains if Ghana is to succeed. For the current and future generations, further improvements in economic growth, agriculture, education and health will depend on how malnutrition and hunger challenges are addressed today. The Ghana Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2011 revealed startling indicators on child malnutrition in Ghana. Under nutrition contributes to about 50% of deaths among children under five in Ghana. Due to underweight, 12,000 children under five years die a year. Vitamin A deficiency will further cause the death of about 110,000 from 2011-2020.

 

According to Ghana Health Service reports, 14% of children under 5 years are under weight and 9% are wasted. Ghana has however made a considerable progress in reducing stunting by 8% from 28% according to the 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health survey report.  Attempts have also been made to make agriculture policies and plans nutrition sensitive. Further progress shall require concerted effort by stakeholders to ensure that Ghana achieves its target of attaining a zero hunger society by 2025(in reference to the ECOWAS Zero Hunger Initiative target).

 

Stakeholders’ fora on food security and nutrition then becomes relevant at all levels as it encourages broad based consultation on Ghana’s food security and nutrition challenges and also provides the medium to challenge government to muster the necessary political commitment to make food security and nutrition a national developmental issue. It is against this background that the Hunger Alliance of Ghana under the National Alliance Capacity building Porgramme(NAPP) organized a stakeholders’ forum  on food security and nutrition at the British Council, Accra on the 26th of January 2016.

 

1.1 Rational of the forum

In the framework of promoting and protecting all human rights, the progressive realization of the right to adequate food is a legitimate concern of the Government of Ghana, the international community and civil society. Recent development in food security and nutrition in Africa and in the West African sub-region provide additional opportunity for Political Leaders to make significant contributions towards the attainment of a hunger –free society at the regional and national level. Ghana has made valuable efforts to reach this target. However there remains more to be done to achieve the target while looking at the quality of the investments accruing from the budgetary allocation to Agriculture. If the solution for hunger and malnutrition is to be found, then political commitment and strong leadership are required. This stakeholders’ forum was held to;

  • To identify and discuss the challenges in food security policies, plans and implementation processes in Ghana and how to contribute towards its solution as stakeholders.
  • To share ideas on how to effectively advocate for a paradigm shift in policy implementation processes in Ghana in order to boost Ghana’s food production and to enhance the nutritional status of Ghanaians.

 

1.2 Objectives

The forum had three main objectives:

 

  1. To renew stakeholders’ commitment to the fight against hunger and malnutrition in Ghana through cross learning and fruitful deliberation on the current food security and nutrition situation in Ghana.
  2. To inform participants about the level of political commitment of government of Ghana in taking decisions that can ultimately improve food security and nutrition outcomes.
  3. To help stakeholders come up with an advocacy plan to challenge government to invest more in food production and nutrition.

 

1.3 Participation Resource persons and approach

Participants for the forum included CSO representatives, UN Agencies, two representatives from USAID, the Deputy Minister of agriculture in charge of crops and the national Scaling Up Nutrition Focal Person. Others were representatives from Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, National Development Planning Commission and Ghana Health Service. The forum involved a welcome address from the co-chair of the Ghana Parliamentarians against hunger caucus, a statement from the Deputy Minister of agriculture in charge of crops, statement from the national Scaling Up Nutrition Focal Person and some power point presentations. Discussions and deliberations followed. The forum was grounded on solid facilitation process by Dr Nene Azu from Africa Lead.

 

  • Welcome address by Honorable Appiah Pinkrah( Co-Chair of the Parliamentarians caucus against hunger and malnutrition)

The forum commenced at 9:30am with a prayer by Amen Amenreynolds Amen, Director of Amen Amen Institute followed by a welcome address by Honorable Appiah-Pinkrah. He was pleased to be called upon to chair such an important forum that brought together stakeholders’ who could influence Ghana’s food security and nutrition agenda. He reiterated the fact that much was needed to be done to get the desired impact. Efforts should be made to sensitize law makers in Ghana for increased political commitment to ensure a hunger and malnutrition free society. He wished participants fruitful deliberations and urged them to come out with workable solutions to move the agenda forward.

 

  • Statement on the current status of Ghana’s food security situation(Honorable Yakubu Alhassan, Deputy Minister in charge of crops, Ministry of Food and Agriculture)

 

Dr Yakubu Alhassan, Deputy Minister in charge of crops at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, started by thanking the Alliance for the opportunity to make a statement on Ghana’s food security situation. He stated that it was the responsibility of the ministry to coordinate the sector in a way as to make food available, accessible and affordable to every Ghanaian.  The foremost objective was food security for all as captured in government’s policy agenda for the sector. In fulfillment of this policy, governments over the years have worked hard to keep Ghana relatively food secured. He agreed totally with the Hunger Alliance of Ghana that hunger and malnutrition have become major development issues confronting every government globally. The ever increasing population must be continuously fed with adequate quality food produced with dwindling resources and unpredictable environment in the wake of climate change.

 

He continued saying that Ghana was relatively food secured, however, the Ministry was monitoring the food supply situation very carefully in view of the bad rainfall performance in the 2015 farming season.

Ghana (in 2014) was food secured in the production of most staple foods like, cassava, yam, cocoyam, plantain, maize, sorghum, groundnut and cowpea. However, there is a deficit for rice, millet and soybean as well as domestic meat and fish production. Dr Alhassan said food availability was linked to the cropping season with seasonal rainfall; therefore, food prices were often not stable as pricing was linked to the availability of harvest.

He said policies like the introduction of protected cultivation in our agricultural production system were being implemented among other options to help make available some important vegetables like tomatoes all year round.

The Deputy Minister concluded by pledging government’s commitment to ensure that the people of Ghana remained safe from hunger and would continue to work with stakeholders to realize and sustain Ghana’s food security.

Honorable Deputy Minister in charge of crops making a statement at the forum

  • Statement on the essence of promoting national inclusiveness and political commitment to scale up nutrition in Ghana (Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa-National SUN focal person).

 

Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, the National Scaling Up Nutrition Focal person, expressed worry about the 42.5 per cent of Ghanaian children who are still malnourished despite the drop from 50%. He asked how many adults had transited from malnutrition from the cost of hunger study conducted and that there was the need to confront the situation together as a country. He expressed disappointment that locally grown foods which were rich in nutritional content were sidelined for organic ones. It is said that Ghana has achieved MDG 1 but at times there was the need to challenge such methodologies of such studies because in his view malnutrition still continued to exist if one was to take a trip to some rural settings and see for what was actually happening. If this continued, some Ghanaians would be marginalized through no fault of theirs.  He urged the Hunger Alliance of Ghana and other civil society groups to work with people at the grassroots to ensure that nutrition issues were taken more seriously.

 

Again, he said this time around, political leaders are becoming more and more conscious of the responsibility to lead the fight against hunger and malnutrition at the regional level and these efforts must be sustained by more determined political leaders to realize this vision at the national level. But one very important aspect stakeholders were not paying much attention to was the district levels where interventions were needed the most. He proposed one ladle of beans in the diet of children could solve this challenge and wondered why this was so difficult to do. He concluded by saying that if the country failed to take good care of its children, ill-health and non-productivity would drain the national scarce resources.

 

Professor Badu Akosa, National SUN Focal Person making a statement

 

  • Emerging issues, discussions and suggestions

Stakeholders were happy with the powerful statements delivered by the key resource persons in the helms of affairs as far as food security and nutrition was concerned. However some expressed worry that indeed many conferences and forums like these were held and the impact was not felt because the district levels where the impact could be greater were not involved at the policy planning processes.

  • Alhaji Tetteh from the Ghana Muslim Mission asked why it was so difficult to implement the one ladle of beans to the meals of children as proposed by Professor Akosa. He also asked what the government was doing to make agriculture very attractive to the youth. Honorable Yakubu Alhassan answered that over the years, government has worked with partners (private sector, donors) to build the capacities of stakeholders, introduce new technologies, develop infrastructure such as irrigation facilities, roads, storage structures and processing facilities among others to service the sector. These are all efforts to make agriculture very attractive to every Ghanaian. The one ladle of beans was also under consideration for implementation from the district levels.
  • Mr Kwesi Anin from Amen Amen institute asked if lands were made available for farmers to pursue large scale agriculture. Honorable Pinkrah answered saying that indeed lands are available for agriculture but there is a huge challenge in Ghana. Some people have branched into mining instead of using the land to farm because they find natural resources like gold and diamond more lucrative with quick returns. Also in Ghana when a land is given out to citizens who would want to venture into agriculture, because of its capital intensive nature and the lack of credit faculties to start some farming on the land, the land is left bare for years and then is taken over by some chiefs since most of these lands are stool lands.
  • Ms Paulina Addy, Director of Women In Agriculture Development (WIAD) under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture said WIAD was working with the stakeholders to add more locally grown foodstuff and crops to the School Feeding Programme. This would ensure that the children get adequate nutrition from the food. She said the locally grown foods are very nutritious and healthy for consumption and consuming them will also help farmers to avoid post-harvest losses. She said there was a high malnutrition rate in children, especially children under five and there was the need to educate parents on the need to feed their children with locally grown foodstuff and crops to deal with malnutrition especially in children.
  • Mr Sydney Bampoe Addo, Deputy Director of Statistical Research, Innovation and Development at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture said the main issue in Ghana was ignorance. When adults are well informed of the realities on the ground, they become good crusaders on best practices concerning food production as well as nutrition.
  • Mr Lambert from the Hunger Project Ghana asked what was needed to be done at the district levels to improve nutrition indicators. Some members said everything should be started from the grassroots and there was the need to inculcate certain values in children because once children become adults, it becomes very difficult to educate them for the desired results.
  • Honorable Appiah- Pinkrah said there was the need for institutional framework and set up; the structure must be put in place in districts across the country. Moving forward people are needed at the same districts to sensitize communities continuously.
  • Mr Isaac Ampomah from Concerned Health Ghana stressed that efforts must be seen as a multidisciplinary issue driven by group action. He urged all to play an active role if anything was to be achieved in the country’s’ food security and nutrition agenda.
  • Mrs Juliana Pwamang from USAID was worried about the National Nutrition Policy still at cabinet level and asked why it had not been passed till date. Honorable Pinkrah in response said the policy was not enough to be passed by parliament. Strategies together with a costed plan were still being developed in addition before the policy could be passed.
  • As an addition Ms Addy from WIAD said after institutional frameworks have been set up concretely, persons charged with sensitizations of communities at the district levels should have clear mandates and targets to check performance through proper monitoring and evaluation. There is also the need to hold people accountable to ensure districts do the right thing.

Participants deliberating at the forum

  • Highlights of the contributions of Civil Society Organizations (GHACCSUN) towards the realization of SUN objectives in Ghana (2013-2015) (DR Frank Mcavor).

The Ghana Coalition of Civil Society Organization on Scaling Up Nutrition (GHACCSUN) hosted by the Hunger Alliance of Ghana has been very instrumental in championing the Scaling Up of Nutrition in Ghana since its formation in 2011. It has under its umbrella many organizations working together to make nutrition a major developmental issue in Ghana. As part of the forum, Dr Frank Mcavor, the Chairman of the Hunger Alliance of Ghana highlighted some success stories of GHACCSUN from 2013-2015.

7.0 Way Forward

  1. Increase public service programmes in the districts through forums, workshops and especially through the media because lack of information was identified to be a key challenge.
  2. Stakeholders should look at the quality of information being disseminated. There should be a clearing house to gather accurate information through proper research before dissemination.
  3. Committees should be set up in the districts to start working on food security and nutrition interventions
  4. Stakeholders should listen more to the needs of farmers and the grassroots people than policy makers who do not really understand what is happening on the ground. The people at the grassroots level understand their challenges better than policy makers.

 

  • Closing Remarks

Honorable Pinkrah concluded by saying that stakeholders’ participation was very valuable and information given shall be used. He urged all participants to work together towards a bright future for Ghanaian children and to the world at large. A closing prayer was said by Alahji Tetteh from Ghana Muslim Mission. Forum closed at 12:30pm

 

 

 

                  PROGRAMME FOR THE  STAKEHLODERS’ FORUM ON FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION


26TH JANUARY, 2016   BRITISH COUNCIL AUDITORIUM   

                                                    Agenda

Time Activity Responsibility
8:30am-9.20 am Registration  
  Opening  prayer Amen Amenreynolds Amen
9.25am – 9.40am Chairman’s opening  statement  Honorable Kwabena Appiah -Pinkrah, Co-Chair, Ghana Parliamentarians Against Hunger and Malnutrition Caucus.
9:40am-10:10am Statement on the current status of Ghana’s  food security situation Honorable  Yakubu Alhassan, Deputy Minister in charge of crops(MOFA)

 

10:10 am-10:30 am Snack break  
10:30 am-10:50 am Statement  on the essence of promoting national inclusiveness and political commitment to scale up nutrition in Ghana Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa-National SUN focal person
10:50am-11:10am Statement on the current nutrition situation in Ghana and efforts by government to improve nutrition outcomes. Mrs Esi Amoaful, Ghana Health Service.
11:10am-11:30am Highlight of the contributions of Civil Society Organizations (GHACCSUN) towards the realization of SUN objectives in Ghana (2013-2015) Dr Frank Mcavor, Chairman Hunger Alliance of Ghana
11:30am-12:00pm Open discussion Participants
12:10pm Departure  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REPORT ON FBO training

     “National Alliance Capacity Building in Ghana”

                                                                               (MILESTONE 4)

  REPORT ON FARMER BASED CAPACITY BUILDING PROGRAMME PHASE II

KWABENG, ATIWA DISTRICT

13TH JANUARY, 2016

ACRONYMS

DAs                 District Assemblies

DCE                 District Chief Executive

DP                    Development Partner

ECOWAS          Economic Community of West African States

FAO                 Food and Agriculture Organization

FBO                 Farmer Based Organization

GOG                Government of Ghana

GPCAHM         Ghana Parliamentary Caucus against Hunger and Malnutrition

GHACCSUN      Ghana Coalition of Civil Society Organizations on Scaling Up Nutrition

GHS                 Ghana Health Service

GSS                  Ghana Statistical Service

HAG                 Hunger Alliance of Ghana

MOH               Ministry of Health

MOFA              Ministry of Food and Agriculture

NAAP               National Alliance Partnership Programme

NDPC              National Development Planning Commission

SUN                 Scaling up Nutrition

WAAAHM       West African Alliance against Hunger and Malnutrition

WIAD              Women in Agriculture Development

WFP                 World Food Programme (UN)

 

 

1.0 Introduction

In many African countries like Ghana, agriculture is dominated by smallholder farmers growing food for their own consumption with extra production sold on a small scale. These set of farmers produce crops using traditional methods and low resource technologies. In spite of their limitations, the smallholder farmers have contributed to the promotion of sustainable agriculture in Ghana. Food security has been galvanized by Farmer Based Organizations (FBOs).

FBOs serve effectively as the grassroots pillars of agriculture development in Ghana. In recognition of this fact, the Hunger Alliance of Ghana who has its membership consisting of mostly FBOs have built the capacities of its FBOs at the community level through the Farmer – based organizations Capacity Building Programme. The programme has covered ten (10) farmer based organizations currently and has benefited over 300 farmers already. The first phase of the project ended in June 2014. Hunger Alliance of Ghana worked with District Extension Officers and Agriculture Directorate from 2011-2012 to build the capacity of FBOs in four areas namely,

  • Extension training
  • Policy Advocacy
  • Office Secretariat management
  • Improved FBOs management practices

 

As a follow up to previous training workshops for FBOs, the Hunger Alliance of Ghana under the National Alliance Partnership Programme(NAPP) organized a second phase of the FBO training workshop to assess what has actually been achieved in terms of successes, challenges and opportunities and how the gap between the proposed and what was actually on the ground could be bridged. With a slight change of focus, emphasis of the training workshop was on FBO leadership, governance and administration.

 

 

  • Rational of the Training workshop

The capacity building workshop was aimed at equipping FBOs representatives with new farming models. The training workshop was also expected to enhance productivity and bring out vibrant FBOs working and sustaining their farming programmes.

 

  • Objectives of the workshop
  • To promote cross learning experiences and also provide opportunity for FBOs to access credit from local banks to expand their farms
  • To introduce new farming modules to farmers

 

  • Participants, Resource Person and Methodology

Participants included over 40 representatives from each of the beneficiary FBOs in Atiwa district, two Extension Officers from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, four HAG technical team members, and one resource person from the Atiwa Rural bank. The training workshop involved a welcome address by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture District Director and three power point presentations. Discussions, deliberations and suggestions followed. The training was participatory and interactive. The language used was twi which was widely spoken by the farmers for the purposes of understanding.

 

  • Proceedings

The Alliances’ technical team visited some of its members at an FBO office it established at Atiwa in 2011 before the commencement of the workshop. Most of the farmer’s expressed joy concerning the second phase of the FBO capacity building training workshop and waited in anticipation to hear of its benefits to them. Nana Ayim, Executive Director of the Alliance met the chairman of the Atiwa FBO exchanged pleasantries and proceeded to the venue to start the training.

                                Nana Ayim with some FBO members at the FBO secretariat

2.0 Chairman’s welcome address (Madam Akosua Brago, Atiwa district MOFA Director)

After a short opening prayer to commence the workshop at exactly 10:00am, a welcome address was given by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture Director in the Atiwa district. She was happy about the Alliances’ efforts in the past to equip its Farmer Based Organizations in the district with the necessary skills to improve agriculture productivity whiles also contributing to Ghana’s food security in the larger context. She revealed that many at times, policy makers ignore the grassroots levels that in fact form the very foundation to the success of any policy implementation process. FBOs that form the grassroots foundation of Ghana’s agriculture should be very much involved with capacity building training opportunities from organizations like the Hunger Alliance of Ghana if Ghana’s food security agenda is to be achieved. She was certain that her agriculture extension officers had worked with farmers in the district over the years and had seen significant improvements because of the benefits of such training events to equip farmers on best practices in agriculture. She was optimistic about the phase 2 of the capacity building workshop being held by the Alliance in her district and encouraged participants especially the farmers to pay particular attention to the presentations that were to be made. She concluded by thanking the Alliance for their presence in their district and pledged the support of her directorate to the training process and beyond.

3.0 Introduction to FBOs capacity building workshop Phase II-(Nana Ayim Poakwah)

Nana Ayim, the Executive Director of the Hunger Alliance of Ghana introduced the Phase 2 of the FBO capacity building training workshop. He stated that indeed FBOS continue to play tremendous role in ensuring Ghana’s food security agenda. He reminded participants of the first phase of the capacity building training held in 2011, and the second phase was to assess the gains made so far to see how challenges encountered could be tackled moving forward. He reiterated the fact that agriculture was fast becoming nutrition sensitive and this called for innovative ways of farming by FBOs to also contribute to the growing phenomenon. He assured the FBos that the phase two of the training workshop was not only to build their capacity as farmers, but the Alliance was going to provide farm inputs for FBOs who need them to expand their farming. He wished them fruitful deliberations as the programme commenced.

4.0 Presentation on best farming modules for FBOs (Dr Noah Owusu-Takyi)

Presentation on best farming modules for FBOs was presented by Dr Noah Owusu-Takyi, a board member of the Alliance and also a Founding President of the Professional Farmers College and the Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture now Kumasi University College of Agriculture. Dr. Owusu-Takyi has offered training to farmers including farmer organizations and has done extensive research on model agriculture value chain systems that works for the small holder farmer for over 30 years. He expressed excitement about meeting the FBOs again for their second capacity building workshop. He said agriculture unknowingly was a huge investment which should be approached seriously as a business. He likened farming to professions like banking, nursing and teaching and there was the need to sustain agriculture with the same mindset for future generations. He said many at times the youth complain of unemployment but are unwilling to venture into agriculture because there were no standards set to make it look like the professions he had mentioned. The dream of the Hunger Alliance of Ghana was to make farming so attractive that one would require an application letter before being accepted to pursue the profession. In view of that, the Hunger Alliance of Ghana was making efforts to set standards in agriculture to make it a professional business, the reason for the workshop. Dr Takyi stated that in doing so, the Alliance is considering a number of measures to bring this to fruition. He outlined a couple of them.

  • The Alliance and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) shall hold discussions to start this new farming model in Atiwa district to serve as a module which shall be replicated in other districts.
  • Marketing of farm produce was a key area the Alliance was tackling because once there was no ready competitive market for farm produce; it affected the standards of agriculture outputs.
  • Dr Takyi stated strongly that hence forth farmers should register their farms in order to have a farm and district certificate. This could facilitate an individual farmer or even FBOs to open an account with a bank to access credit facilities.
  • A new concept called contract farming shall be introduced to the FBOs by the Hunger Alliance of Ghana where a final buyer of farm produce shall arrange with a particular famer to check key things like the quality of seedlings, farm inputs, irrigation before the actual farming commences. This would ensure output to be of high quality standard only to the specification of the buyer.
  • The Alliance together with the Atiwa district shall build an FBO market; this is where the standards shall begin based on the technical inputs given to the farmer even before planting. So if any farm produce does not qualify to be on the FBO market, it would encourage farmers to raise their standards based on best practices in order to get a ready market at the FBO market set up by the Alliance and the district.
  • The Alliance with a little funding plans to set up an FBO exhibition center in the Atiwa district where farmers can be supported to buy farm tools, manure etc which would be sold by farm dealers. The Alliance currently is in talks with corporate communication companies like TIGO and MTN to see how they could also support to build the exhibition centre as part of their corporate social responsibility.
  • The last but not the least was drilling of bore holes to enable farmers produce all year round without the over reliance on rainfall. Dr Takyi stressed that if bore holes are beyond governments’ budget, the Alliance was willing to help secure loans for that.

5.0 Discussion after the presentation

The FBOS were happy about the standardization of farming and embraced it as a step in the right direction. However some expressed worry as to how many could adhere to these standards since it had cost implications. Some of the farmers had challenges securing loans to purchase quality seeds to plant and asked how they could be helped in the whole standardization process.

  • Mr Kwesi Asante, a farmer at the district said most of the farmers including him rent farms for farming and did not own their farms. How was it possible to dig a borehole in somebody’s farm? He asked that was it possible to get litigation free farm lands for a long period of time as FBOs to enable them dig boreholes.
  • Dr Takyi answered saying that because of the standardization policy, individual farmers should join the larger farm groups to enable them acquire lands for a longer period of time. The policies to be put in place are such that if the land does not belong to an FBO, it does not qualify them for a borehole. He added that before venturing into farming, at least FBOs should site a land close to a water body since boreholes could be quite expensive.
  • Majority of the FBOs were satisfied with what was said and pleaded with the Alliance to provide the farming inputs as they have promised to.

6.0 Presentation on FBOs -Extension Officers relationship for improved farming productivity.  (Josephus Barnor, MOFA division, Atiwa)

Mr Barnor gave a presentation on the relationship between FBOs – Extension Officers for improved farming productivity. In his presentation, he said Agricultural Extension services existed in almost every country of the world because of its importance in increasing agricultural production. Extension provides ways to educate people who are engaged in farming and agricultural related activities on:

  • improving farming methods and techniques,
  • increase production efficiency and income,
  • bettering their level of living and
  • lifting the social & educational status of rural life

The main purpose of Agricultural extension was to help farmers to help themselves by assisting them to recognize and solve their problems.

IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION

  • Replacing the traditional methods of farming with more modern, scientific and better practices.
  • Farmers have to be exposed to them and trained in their proper use.
  • This is where the role of extension comes in. An effective Agricultural extension system plays the important roles in agricultural development as follows:

 

 

Conclusion

Involving both Agricultural Extension Officers and FBOs in Agribusiness is an essential part in:-

  1. technology transfer
  2. Increased Farm Output
  3. Increased income
  4. Increased standard of living

 

7.0 Presentation on FBOs leadership and governance (Samuel Kofi Dzisah, MOFA division, Atiwa).

FBOs leadership and governance was a very important presentation made at the training workshop. The presentation was delivered by Samuel Kofi Dzisah, an Extension Officer from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in the Atiwa district and has been working with  FBOs for many years. He started with definitions and the importance of joining FBOs which was well received by the participants who were mostly famers.

FBOs and Leadership

Farmer Based Organization (FBOs) are basically described as a group of farmers with similar interest who come together to achieve a common goal or objective.

The farmers in FBOs have shared challenges and goals and thus come together with the view of solving the challenges and also enhance their chances of making reasonable profit.

Importance of joining an FBOs

Participating in FBO activities has several advantages key among which are.

  • Information (market and prices)
  • Technologies (production, processing)
  • Research (innovations- improved crop varieties and breeds of animals
  • Extension services ( crop management)
  • Finance
  • Certification
  • Reduction in operational costs

Why FBOs Fail

Aside the numerous importances, a good number of FBOs do not survive the test of time for the following reasons;

  • Poor management and leadership
  • Lack of clearly defined objectives for the group
  • Lack of commitment on the part of farmers to the guiding principles of the organization.
  • Low income benefits to members
  • Dissatisfaction with services provided by members
  • Failures to identify the group’s strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and take steps to build upon strengths and minimize threats.
  • Lack of resources
  • Low economic benefit to members
  • Poor communication within the group
  • When the group is too large to manage

 

TYPES OF FBO LEADERSHIP

Based on how leadership evolves in a group, two main types of leadership exist; assigned and Emergent

 

ASSIGNED

  • Assigned leadership is the appointment of people to formal positions of authority within an organization.
  • In FBOs, assigned leadership is obtained through a process of voting backed by the association’s working documents or constitution

EMERGENT LEADERSHIP

  • The exercise of leadership by a group member because of the manner in which other group members react to him or her.
  • Exhibited when others perceive a person to be a very influential member of the group although not elected.
  • Exercised when other people in the organization support, accept, and encourage that person’s behavior.
  • It is imperative for members of the group to give legal powers and backing to emergent leaders by subjecting them to a voting process

                                          

SUSTAINING THE GROUP

Several actions are required to sustain the FBOs; key among them is regular training sessions in areas such as

  • The objectives of the FBO
  • Constitution, bye-laws and code of conduct of the FBO
  • Inter and intra-group communication
  • Group dynamics and conflict resolution
  • Technical areas related to their enterprises as well as entrepreneurship

HOW TO SUSTAIN FBOS

To sustain FBOs to fulfill the purpose for which it was created, certain factors must be taken into consideration. Some of the factors include the following;

  • Members should have a sense of ownership.
  • Training or information given at meetings should be relevant to the needs of the farmers and seek to make them gain needed skills for effective productivity.
  • Members of the group should have a binding code of conduct.
  • Leadership structures should be clear to all members.

LEADERSHIP TRAINING

Leadership training is essential, as some leaders who are chosen to lead FBOs do not have the requisite knowledge to execute tasks assigned them, hence the need for regular training sessions for them. These training should place emphasis on the following areas;

  • Adult education principles
  • Group facilitation skills
  • Group dynamics and conflict management
  • Communication
  • Management of Farmer Based Organization (chairperson, secretary)
  • Lobbying and advocacy (chairperson)
  • Financial management (treasurer)

 

Mr Samuel Kofi Dzisah delivering his presentation

 

8.0 Presentation on micro credit facilities for FBOs in ATIWA (Credit Manager- Atiwa Rural Bank, Kwabeng)

A Credit Manager from the Atiwa district rural bank was given the opportunity to make a presentation on how FBOs could access credit facilities from the bank for farming. He started by giving a brief introduction on the role Micro Financial Institutions (MFIs) play generally;

  • MFIs provide financial services to low-income/poor households that lack access to banking and high quality financial services such as credit, savings, insurance and fund transfers.
  • MFIs also help poor people and improve financial systems of countries
  • The Impact of MFIs includes women empowerment, employment growth/opportunities and poverty alleviation.
  • MFIs aid the poor to access credit without collateral and to generate near full recovery rates through the win-win proposition.

He continued his presentation stating that, many at times famers are constantly denied credits facilities because of the high risk involved in dealing with individual famers. He stressed that forming FBOs is less risky to access loans to since there is strength in numbers. More often than not, they have had to chase monies given out to individual farmers who later cannot pay back because they operate alone without any group support. He encouraged participants to form FBOs to make them more credit worthy. He also supported the presentation made by Dr Takyi to standardize farming which shall include registering farm lands with the district and owning a farm certificate before the commencement of any farming activity. This initiative shall lower the credit liability risks of famers and encourage the bank to help FBOs access more loans for increased yield.

9.0 Closing remarks (Madam Akosua Brago(MRS),Atiwa district MOFA Director)

The Chairperson of the FBO training workshop was happy about the success of the dialogue and thanked participants for their enthusiasm and ideas. She encouraged the Alliance to do more to help farmers in her district and beyond. Advocacy should not be only at the policy level, the grass roots level has a fundamental role to play through such capacity building programmes. The workshop came to a close with a prayer by Mr John Agyekum, the Nigerian representative of the Hunger Alliance of Ghana at 12:30 pm after which a group picture was taken and departure of participants thereafter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              PROGRAMME FOR THE FBO CAPACITY BUILDING PROGRAMME (ATIWA)

                                                                             PHASE II

                                                    Agenda

Time Activity Responsibility
10:00 am-10:10am Opening prayer and introduction of participants  
10:10am-10:15am Chairman’s welcome address Madam Akosua Brago(MRS),Atiwa district MOFA Director
10:15am-10.30am Introduction to FBOs capacity building workshop Phase II Nana Ayim Poakwah, Executive Director, Hunger Alliance of Ghana

 

10:30am-10:50 am Cocoa break  
10:50am-11:10am Presentation on best farming modules for FBOs Dr Noah -Takyi
11:10am-11:30am Questions and Answers Facilitator
11:30am-11:45am Presentation on FBOs -Extension Officers relationship for improved farming productivity. Josephus Barnor, MOFA division, Atiwa
11:45am-12:00 pm Presentation on FBOs leadership and governance Samuel Kofi Dzisah, MOFA division, Atiwa
12:00pm-12:10pm Presentation on micro credit facilities for FBOs  in ATIWA

 

Credit Manager- Atiwa Rural Bank, Kwabeng

 

12:10pm -12:30pm Open discussion/suggestions Participants
12:30pm Closing prayer and departure  

 

 

Entry with Audio

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Newsletter HAG- FOURTH EDITION

Indeed this is the defining moment for nutrition. At the global and national level, Stakeholders are working more closely together than ever before, ever united more than before and much more focused than ever to push the nutrition agenda forward. Ghana is not in isolation. Stakeholders in Ghana are more excited in their work than before and SUN has dawned upon us. Indeed there is life under SUN. Click on the link below to read more… GHACCSSUN Newsletter- FOURTH EDITION