Ghana epicentres achieve targets for self reliance
We’re celebrating in Ghana!
In eight countries of Africa, our Epicentre Strategy mobilizes clusters of rural villages into “epicentres,” which band together 5,000-15,000 people to create a dynamic centre where communities are mobilized for action to meet their basic needs. This strategy is designed to partner with communities over a period of about eight years after which they graduate to a phase of “sustainable self-reliance,” which means that communities have demonstrated the confidence, capacity and skills to act as agents of their own development.
We are thrilled to announce that three epicentres in Ghana — Atuobikrom, Akotekrom and Nsuta-Aweregya Epicenters — have achieved the targets they set for declaring their self-reliance.
Self-reliant communities have demonstrated progress in the following eight goals:
1. Mobilized rural communities that continuously set and achieve their own development goals;
2. Empowered women and girls in rural communities;
3. Improved access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities in rural communities;
4. Improved literacy and education in rural communities;
5. Reduced prevalence of hunger and malnutrition in rural communities, especially for women and children;
6. Improved access to and use of health resources in rural communities;
7. Reduced incidence of poverty in rural communities; and
8. Improved land productivity and climate resilience of smallholder farmers.
Community members of these epicentres have affirmed multiple local partnerships, created funding streams from revenue-generating activities and established gender-balanced leadership structures to support sustainable growth.
“Boys and girls in the household share responsibilities equally…At first, the boys used to study while the girls were always doing house chores. Now it is no more so. Chores are shared equally so that both of them could study in the evening when they all finished.” – Participant at Woman’s Focus Group, Atuobikrom Epicentre
The Hunger Project has activated its exit strategy, and it is anticipated that there will be no further financial inputs, with the exception of not-as-frequent staff visits and a post-evaluation three to five years later in a select number of epicentres.
This is a monumental achievement for these communities and all of the staff and investors who partnered with them along the way!
- Akotekrom Epicentre serves 16 villages with a total population of 5,240 women, men and children in the Birim South district in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The Eastern Region is the sixth largest region in the country with a population of 2.1 million. Out of 26 districts in the region, 11 have poverty rates higher than the regional average of 22%. Birim South district has a poverty rate between 20 – 29%.
- The Hunger Project began its partnership in Akotekrom Epicentre in 2006, and as of the end of 2015, Akotekrom Epicentre achieved its targets set for self-reliance.
- Akotekrom Epicentre is now legally recognized as a community development organization, has democratic operations led by an elected epicentre committee, a land deed and meeting hall. Akotekrom Epicentre has two income generating activities –charging rental fees for meeting space and crop sales–that directly contribute revenue to the epicentre to support its own costs. Women make up 43% of executive positions on committees.
- There is a preschool within the epicentre radius, an operational health unit staffed by government-provided health workers that provide services such as supervised deliveries, child welfare clinics, antenatal and postnatal care, immunization exercises, sexual and reproductive health services and HIV testing, especially for pregnant women. In addition, there is a well-stocked library, which attracts adults and students from nearby schools.
- Vision, Commitment and Action (VCA) Workshops are the main tool for mobilizing partners and their communities into action. In the third quarter of 2015, for example, 10 VCA educational sessions were organized with 434 partners participating. A major focus before graduating to self-reliance was placed on leadership training for epicentre committee members, community animators and chiefs. The training sessions supported equipping participants with the requisite leadership skills to support their understanding of their roles as leaders.
- Akotekrom Epicentre food security initiatives are robust. As the result of farmer education sessions on modern farming techniques, farming for business has grown significantly. A focus on training farmers on farming techniques has resulted in overall increased yields from community members.
- Nsuta-Aweregya Epicentre serves 20 villages (after merging with the villages of Adensua Besease Epicentre) with a total population of 29,354 women, men and children in the Kwahu West district in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The Eastern Region is the sixth largest region of the country with a population of 2.1 million. Out of 26 districts in the region, 11 have poverty rates higher than the regional average of 22%. The Kwahu West district has poverty rates below 10%.
Nsuta Aweregya Rural Bank-Board
- The Hunger Project began its partnership in 2000, and as of the end of 2015, Nsuta-Aweregya Epicentre achieved the targets it set for self-reliance.
- Nsuta-Aweregya Epicentre is legally recognized community-based organization, has democratic operations led by an elected epicentre committee, a land deed and meeting hall. Nsuta-Aweregya Epicentre has three income-generating activities–charging rental fees for meeting space, agro-input sales, and loan interest from the Microfinance Program. These activities are directly contributing revenue to the epicentre to support its own costs.
- Women make up 57% executive positions on committees.
- There is a preschool, an operational health unit and a library in the epicentre.
- The community is working to generate increased income for the epicentre with an epicentre farm to cultivate plantains and vegetables.
- Mobilizing communities into self-reliant action through the Vision, Commitment and Action (VCA) Workshops has created a communal spirit towards addressing the needs of communities in Nsuta-Aweregya Epicentre. Community mobilization efforts at the epicentre have been focused on supporting epicentre leadership in preparation for graduation and mobilizing resources to continue work on community-initiated projects.
- The communities at the epicentre have also been working to improve gender equality and the empowerment of women, with more than a dozen educational session conducted in late 2015. Community members noted that with estate education, surviving female spouses and children are decreasingly driven away from houses of their deceased husbands; parents are increasingly sharing household chores among boys and girls. Teenage pregnancy reduction has also been noted among communities as a result of increased access to and education on family planning.