Gsop Rehabilitates 67 Dams And Dugouts In Upper East

The Ghana Social Opportunities Project (GSOP), has rehabilitated sixty seven (67) dams and dugouts in communities across the Districts in the Upper East Region to assist the poor rural famers to undertake dry season farming.

This came to light when the Regional Coordinator of GSOP, Mrs Adwoa Asotia-Boakye, undertook a monitoring visit with some Journalists to some of the rehabilitated dams’ sites.

The Upper East Region falls within the Sudan Savanna zone which is characterised by a uni-modal rainfall regime lasting five to six months and a long dry period of six to seven months.

Predominantly farmers’, household food security becomes a major problem due to the unfavourable climatic conditions coupled with low soil fertility. The situation has necessitated a feeding calendar to be instituted by many deprived households in the region particularly in the rural areas. Between September and January, some households are able to feed three times a day, March to June, twice daily and from July to August once in a day and in some cases not at all because food is simply not available.

This phenomenon accounts for the rural urban migration which is high in the region as many people from the area especially the youth and women have to travel to either Kumasi or Accra to do menial jobs leaving the aged behind.

Speaking to the Media in an interview, the Bolgatanga Regional Coordinator of GSOP, explained that it was to help address the above phenomenon that the Government through GSOP initiated the rehabilitation of the dams and dugouts.

She stressed that the rehabilitation of the dams which falls under the Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPW) component of GSOP seeks to provide targeted poor rural households with access to employment and income-earning opportunities.

“ It sets out to maximize local employment while rehabilitating productive infrastructure assets, which have potential to generate local secondary employment effects and , protect households and communities against external shocks. Typical LIPW sub-projects include rehabilitation and maintenance of rural feeder and access roads, rehabilitation of small earth dams and dugouts, climate change mitigation interventions and related public infrastructure”, Mrs Asotia-Boakye indicated.

She stated that apart from the community members being temporarily employed and earning cash, the secondary benefits include the use of the dams for dry season farming, provision of water for livestocks , building and maintenance of local housing structures among others.

Most of the dams that have been rehabilitated were completely broken down but now reinstated to their original or better state. Activities undertaken on these dams and dugouts include improvements to the earth embankments, rip rapping and planting of vertiva grass to protect the upstream and downstream slopes from erosion respectively, desilting of the reservoir areas, widening and r restoration of spillway structures as well as repairs to irrigation structures.

Almost all the activities which took place at the dam sites lend themselves to the use of Labour Intensive Methods of construction and this makes it possible to engage the unskilled work force from the rural communities to undertake the works and earn cash into their pockets.

“Through the implementation of the dam and dugout subprojects for instance , 18,458 extreme poor persons have been engaged and earned a total of GHC7,749,026.00 as wages over the past four years” Mrs Asotia-Boakye stated.

The Ghana Social Opportunities Project which is funded by the World Bank and the Government of Ghana begun in the Upper East Region in 2011. Implementation of the Labour Intensive Public Works component of the Project is being undertaken through the various District Assemblies with facilitation and technical support from the Bolgatanga Regional Coordinating Office (BRCO) of GSOP.

According to the Regional Coordinator, the Project has to date engaged over 42,349 unskilled persons from the rural communities in the Upper East region to rehabilitate their feeder roads to improve access, dams and dugouts, schools and clinics as well as Climate Change mitigation interventions such as re-afforestation, establishment of plantations of fruit trees and other woodlots.

The subprojects are selected from the District’s Medium Term Development Plans and are declared eligible if they can be implemented using labour intensive methods of construction and have the potential to generate appreciable unskilled labour employment.

In order to ensure efficiency in service delivery and a high level of beneficiary satisfaction, provision such as effective social accountability and grievance redress mechanisms, quality works supervision, an electronic payment system to enhance delivery and monitoring of payments to beneficiaries are some of the measures put in place by the Project to achieve the desired results.

Among some of the dam subproject sites visited were Kayilo and Asunia both in the Kassena-Nankana West district. The Chiefs and people in the beneficiary communities expressed their gratitude to the Project Managers, the Government and the World Bank and indicated that it would help contribute significantly to the improvement of the livelihoods of the people.

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