Caritas Ghana Facilitates Re-Integration of Indigent Poor Amid COVID-19
Caritas Ghana, the relief and development office of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference at the National Catholic Secretariat, Accra, has taken a giant step of facilitating support to indigent poor Ghanaians especially those impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As part of its efforts to contribute to the containment and alleviation of extreme hardship on the populace and to contribute to the national response to COVID-19 pandemic, Caritas Ghana with support from STAR Ghana Foundation organised a dialogue meeting in Kumasi to discuss ways to reintegrate and resettle the vulnerable poor especially head porters in cities, who have been mostly hit by the pandemic.
Mr. Samuel Zan Akologo, the Executive Secretary of Caritas Ghana told newswatchgh.com in an interview that the August 13, 2020 meeting in Kumasi was necessitated by the fact that head porters also called Kayayei in the cities, have been worst affected by COVID-19 as most of them have lost their means of livelihood due to either lockdown or general economic downturn.
According to him, the facilitation of the reintegration and resettlement of the Kayayei would be done by organizing them, listening to their stories, providing counseling support to them to be able to make their own informed decision to relocate back to their communities.
“We will provide practical support to those who would make the decision to move like transport, temporary livelihood (food) and first aid in health like NHIS registration,” he told newswatchgh.com on August 16, 2020.
With funding support from STAR Ghana Foundation and in an effort to achieve this purpose, he said Caritas Ghana partnered the Kumasi based Street Children Project and the Tamale based African Development Organization on Migration (AFDOM) headed by Ahaji Aminu Munkailu to facilitate services for these Kayayei through their resettlement and reintegration.
Mr. Akologo said, the first dialogue meeting was held for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), NGOs and Media Organizations in Northern Ghana in July to discuss the matter.
“There was the need for a follow up meeting with same groups in Ashanti Region, as most of the Kayayei are in Kumasi city,” he said, pointing out that “The dialogue meeting in Kumasi also provided an interface between the MMDAs in Northern Ghana and their Colleagues in Ashanti Region to explore how they could more effectively coordinate their response and action.”
He hinted that “Caritas Ghana received funding from STAR Ghana Foundation to implement a five-month programme of activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic from April to August, 2020.”
According to him, the implementation framework is an Interfaith collaboration involving diverse faith-based organizations of Muslim, Ahmadiyya, Protestant, Pentecostal and Charismatic Christian groups under the FAITH in Ghana Alliance.
The Advocacy component of the programme, he noted, is to facilitate government responsiveness to critical needs of vulnerable populations who have been impacted by COVID-19.
“In this regard, the main focus has been on monitoring the social protection component of the Government of Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation Programme at the Local Government level, he added.
At the August 13 meeting which explored possibilities for coordinated efforts to provide critical services to venerable populations most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sr. Olivia Umoh, the Director of Street Children Project (SCP), enumerated some of the interventions being spearheaded by her outfit, including the skills training offered to some female head porters as well as providing them with shelter and food.
“There are many street children being catered for by the SCP at the secondary education level, bearing their full financial costs. We have and also given vocation training skills to women in beads making, dress making, hair dressing among others, all at the SCP’s expense,” she is reported to have said at the meeting.
On his part, Rev. Fr. Joseph Asante, the Development Co-ordinator of Catholic Archdiocese of Kumasi called on government to implement child rights laws and policies that seek the good welfare of children to curb streetism in the country.