The Australian High Commission in Ghana has launched 20 new projects under its 2018-2019 Direct Aid Programme (DAP), which is aimed at supporting underprivileged communities in developing countries.
The projects cover a range of sectors, including education, health, water and sanitation, environmental protection, women's empowerment and gender equality, food security, economic livelihoods, human rights and support for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).
Under the DAP, which started in Ghana in 2004, non-governmental organisations that provide such services are given grants by the commission to fund their projects after they have presented a comprehensive plan in that regard.
The projects, estimated at one million Australian Dollars, are being undertaken in seven African countries, namely Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Togo and Mali.
They are expected to be completed in the next 12 months.
Out of the 20 projects, eight of them are being executed in Ghana with almost half of the entire budget.
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Among them is the Ghana Australia Alumni Association's project with the Greater Accra office of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU). It is aimed at providing logistical and capacity-building support to the unit and strengthening its educational campaigns on domestic violence.
The commission, under the project, is also working with Fair Justice Initiative, a human rights NGO, to hold skills development workshops for female prisoners at the Nsawam Prisons. This is to equip them with employable skills and prepare them for the job market after they have been discharged.
At the launch of the projects in Accra on Tuesday, April 9, the Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Andrew Barnes, said the intervention was necessary to see to the basic needs of the most vulnerable people in the society, mostly women, children and PWDs.
He lauded the various non-governmental organisations under the programme for their initiatives and urged them to work hard to achieve their various goals and visions.
"As local development organisations, you understand best the needs and challenges of your communities.
Your work is key to ensuring that development benefits everyone, including people in remote and underserved communities," he said.
He congratulated them for being selected to participate in the programme and pledged his resolve to support their works.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic during the event, the Director of Programmes, Fair Justice Initiative, Ms Rose Worster, said the purpose of their project was to promote the well-being of the inmates and to psyche them up to better position themselves in the society once they were released.
She added that, “We also want to give them access to income in the prisons.
We are empowering them to be able to service their own cost of living, including the payments of medical bills and food.”
For his part, the President of the Ghana Australia Alumni Association, Mr Ohene Damptey, said the project would give the Greater Accra DOVVSU office a facelift through the refurbishment of its office infrastructure.
That, he said, would create an enabling and conducive environment for them to operate.