United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Ghana Mission Director Andrew Karas traveled to the Ashanti Region February 28 to March 3 to visit USAID programs and activities in the areas of economic growth, governance, and health. The objective of the visit is to strengthen USAID’s partnerships in Ghana’s Ashanti Region to achieve positive development results.
While in the Ashanti Region, Mr. Karas met with the Ghanaian Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations and the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to discuss collaborative efforts to address the issue of child labor in Ghana’s cocoa sector. Since 2015, the U.S. government has supported the Government of Ghana in the Ashanti and Western Regions through the Mobilizing Community Action and Promoting Opportunities for Youth in Ghana’s Cocoa-Growing Communities (MOCA) project to diminish child labor at the community level. The project will target 3,200 youth, ages 15-17 who are engaged in or at risk of becoming victims of child labor. Additionally, Mr. Karas met with the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service in Kumasi, where he learned about their successes and challenges of countering human traffickers.
Mr. Karas toured Farmer’s Hope, an organic fertilizer producing company , as well as Vesta Oil Mill, a soybean oil and cake processing plan—jointly supported by the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future. In Ghana, Feed the Future works to increase the competitiveness of the maize, rice and soy value chains.
Through USAID’s Ghana Strengthening and Accountability Mechanism project, which works to increase local government accountability and give communities a voice, Mr. Karas observed a district assembly performance audit in Fomena and delivered remarks. “USAID seeks to bridge this information gap and improve citizens’ knowledge in order to hold public officials accountable,” stated Mr. Karas. “When citizens play a bigger role in the design, implementation and monitoring of capital development projects, these projects will better serve their needs.”
Mr. Karas also met with the Ashanti Regional Minister and participated in a domestic resource mobilization workshop with district assembly members at the Ashanti Region Coordinating Council. The workshop highlighted topics such as public financial management and tax policies to encourage the spending of public funds in an accountable and transparent manner.
On March 3, Mr. Karas ended the trip with a visit to Ejisu Juabeng Government Hospital, where USAID, through the President’s Malaria Initiative, provides training to health workers in malaria case management and diagnosis. While there, he observed clinical training on preventative and curative malaria interventions for malaria control in Ghana.
USAID/Ghana works in four key areas: economic growth, education, health and democracy. USAID works with the Ghana Government to boost agricultural productivity, increase access to education, improve health services and promote good governance.