GIZ Supports Caritas Ghana with GH¢ 1 million to Tackle Economic Impact of COVID-19
German Development Agency, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has supported Caritas Ghana, the development and humanitarian agency of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference with GH¢ 1 million to help mitigate the humanitarian consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic focusing on sustainable economic development measures.
The GIZ emergency response project which is tailored to benefit the Catholic Archdioceses of Accra and Tamale is also to help alleviate the plight of vulnerable persons by tackling the economic impact of COVID-19 on employment and market stability.
To be undertaken under four key measures to advance a stable, sustainable economic development, the project will provide support for ‘The Positive Action for Porter Girls’, (PAPG), a non-governmental organization which provides healthcare and support for porter girls known as “Kayayei” founded by Sister Angelina Gerharz, a member of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS).
The NGO operates from a shop in the Madina market in Accra and though faced with challenges such as space and finance, has implemented skills training in soap making.
These planned measures are intended to seek to improve the quality and expand production capacity accompanied by skills training of the Kayayei (head porters), with a long-term goal to re-invest the income into further skills training, provide credit support, and assist them to complete their formal education.
Another key area to be considered for the project is the “Holy Bakitha/City of God” in Old Fadama, an NGO under the auspices of the Archdiocese Accra, with plans put in place to increase the capacity of the tailoring training centre of the Peace Adult Evening School and to produce mouth and nose protection masks.
These masks will be purchased and distributed to front-line staff and residents of the slum at Old Fadama according to need while the training center will be reopened with an increased capacity to provide training in tailoring skills after COVID-19.
As part of the GIZ-Caritas project, a pre-processing plant for plastic waste will be built in the Archdiocese Tamale expected to generate approximately 25 sustainable, long-term jobs for residents and resettled and reintegrated internal migrants from Old Fadama/Agbogbloshie who are scrap workers, Kayayei and others.
This will further generate income for waste collectors through a “cash for work” scheme.
The capacity of the planned recycling plant will allow 40 to 50-day casual workers to collect plastics for daily payments.
The configuration of the recycling plant, the construction and commissioning will be planned and implemented in cooperation with City Waste Recycling, a partner of Caritas Ghana which will carry out the technical training for the participants. After the consolidation period the plant will generate revenues to run the plant sustainably Post-COVID-19.
The project is also aimed at stabilizing the local markets of Small/Medium Size Enterprises due to the increase in poverty among the residents of Old Fadama /Agbogbloshie which is leading to a considerable loss of purchasing power.
Announcing the project at a virtual launch via zoom on Monday, August 24,2020, Mr. Joseph Sikanartey, a Technical Policy Advisor, who represented the GIZ stated that with the outbreak of Coronavirus and its adverse impact, “we are happy to partner Caritas Ghana to provide some sought of a long term social entrepreneurial support to those who have been impacted by the pandemic.”
Expressing happiness about the partnership with Caritas Ghana, he pledged the GIZ’s unflinching support to Caritas to achieve its goal.
“I am very happy GIZ has been in a partnership project with Caritas since 2016 on E-waste which ended in January this year and there is hope that GIZ will continue to collaborate with Caritas Ghana,” he stated.
He noted that in the circle of policy makers, “we see Caritas Ghana as a model and having gone through the processes and activities of Caritas from 2016 to date, it is for us a very classical study which we are trying as much as possible to show other people how to do things in the area when it comes to E-waste collection and management.”
He added that “it is something we are uniquely and closely still going to work with Caritas in our second phase in supporting all your activities.”
Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, Bishop of Konongo-Mampong Diocese and Episcopal President of Caritas Ghana thanked GIZ for the support and assured of the judicious use of the fund.
He assured that all necessary steps will be taken to ensure that the right safeguarding policies, procedures and training are in place to detect any safeguarding risk and address any issues that may arise quickly and effectively.
Giving an overview of the project, Mr. Samuel Zan Akologo, Executive Secretary of Caritas Ghana noted that “Caritas Ghana and GIZ partnership is anchored in their mutual interest in the development and implementation of Social Impact Business Models in the field of waste management, specifically the “Care for Our Common Home E-waste Management Campaign”, a Laudato Si implementation initiative in Ghana inspired by Pope Francis’ in 2017.
According to him, the Action Plan developed by Caritas Ghana essentially covers sustainable long-term social impact entrepreneurial activities to help improve rapidly and sustainably, the economic situation of people affected by the pandemic particularly Small and Medium Enterprises on the local markets around Agbogbloshie, a slum area in Accra.
He stressed that “The COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a humanitarian crisis and efforts to contain the virus and support those directly impacted are of utmost importance.”
“It is also our responsibility to look ahead and assess how the pandemic and the global recovery from it will impact the future of sustainable development, he added, saying that “The approach is broadly in response to the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference response plan to the COVID-19 pandemic which is also aimed at complementing the overall effort of the Government of Ghana.”
According to the Caritas Executive Secretary, social and pastoral workers will determine recipients who are needy and vulnerable to receive cash for the purchasing of basic needs.
“This cash transfer is calculated weekly for 2,500 persons particularly affected by the COVID-19 crisis over a period of 8 weeks, he stated and averred that “During this exercise, a remarkable amount of GH¢ 400,000 will flow into the local markets and stabilize it and subsequently improve the income for the market women and men.”
Highlighting on the implementation of the project, Mr. Akologo revealed that project management teams made up of Caritas Ghana staff have been set up to implement these measures while two new local staff have been hired to support the GIZ Technical Advisor on secondment to Caritas Ghana, who will act as Team Leader.
Representatives of the two beneficiaries Archdioceses, Fr. George Ekow Mensah, Director of Caritas Accra and Fr. Joseph Sackey, Director of Communications, Tamale, collectively thanked GIZ for the financial support, pledging to work hard to ensure that the projects see the light of the day.
Fr. Sackey, who represented the Director of Caritas Tamale, Fr. Sebastian Zaato, expressed joy of the pre-processing plant for plastic waste to be built in Tamale and prayed that it will help employment opportunities to the vulnerable.
Earlier, Very Fr. Lazarus Anondee, Secretary General of the National Catholic Secretariat, thanked GIZ for partnering the Catholic Church on E-waste in the contest of COVID-19 and prayed that this support will continue to bring good things between the two partners.