Tamale SOS trains 180 youth in organic farming

Tamale SOS Children’s Home has trained more than 180 youth in organic farming practices to make them self-employed to prevent rural- urban migration and ensure food security in their communities.

The intervention, dubbed: “Family strengthening programme (FSP) spans Guunaayili, Kambonayili, Dungu and Datoyili in the Tamale Metropolis.

At a ceremony to present certificates to beneficiaries of the programme in Tamale on Thursday, Mr Anthony Owusu Gyamfi, FSP, Manager, SOS-Ghana said: “It is no longer enough to deal only with the consequences of child abandonment and destitution by giving children a better future but rather imperative to tackle the causes that leads to child abandonment and destitution.”

He said it was in the light of this that the programme was designed to support, strengthen and empower families and communities so that they would be able to effectively care for and protect vulnerable children.

Mr Gyamfi said children could be brought up within their own families and communities and imbibe their traditional, cultural, religious and social roots.

Mr Gyamfi said FSP was currently supporting more than 2,000 children at risk and their caregivers in communities in the Eastern, Greater Accra, Central and Northern Regions.

Beneficiary communities in the Eastern Region include: Asiakwa, Osino, Bunso, Nkawkaw and Segimase and Kakasunaka, Gbesese, Dahwenya, Kpone and Mataheko in the Greater Accra Region and Kasoa in the Central Region.

The FSP Manager said in April 2009, the Programme in Asiakwa was expanded and repackaged under a new project called Farming and Livelihood Empowerment Programme in collaboration with a consortium of partners.

Mr Gyamfi said the progress aimed at addressing the problems of child abandonment and abuse, youth unemployment, rural urban migration, food security and rural development in selected communities.

He said under the new initiative 414 Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and 103 caregivers/parents received support in Tamale.

A start-up loan system was also established and managed by the community-based organisations where 57 caregivers were assisted to start up or expand their businesses or farming practices.

Mr Gyamfi said to further motivate and encourage the OVCs to remain in school, 255 children in basic schools received support in payment for their school fees including examination, computer and school uniforms and text books.

He said 10 OVCs were also given scholarship to attend the SOS school in Tamale.

He said 120 people between 13-18 years, where selected from each project community. 30 were selected from each project community to participate in an eight- month organic agricultural training based on the Junior Farmer Field and livelihood School model developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

In addition, 60 young adults were chosen from the communities and trained in organic farming after which they were given inputs and loans to start their own farms.

Mr Mark Ofei, a representative of the FAO commended SOS for implementing the programme and noted that it would go a long way to reduce poverty and enhance food security in the communities.

He encouraged traditional leaders to give land to the youth to enable them undertake their farming activities.

Source: GNA

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