Story: Caroline Boateng
OCTOBER 17, each year has been adopted as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
The day is used to create awareness on the issue, invite citizens globally to “stand up” and mark the day, whilst empowering them to hold their governments accountable for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
In Ghana, the Christian Council of Ghana hosts the Millennium Development Goals/Global Call Against Poverty (MDGs/CAP) Secretariat that co-ordinates activities of campaigners against poverty and the attainment of the MDGs by the stipulated date.
This year’s campaigners in the country mobilised 1,115,520 people to participate in nationwide activities that aimed at creating awareness on poverty and initiatives at eradicating it.
At a press conference to review the impact of activities held on October 17, Rev Dr Fred Deegbe, the General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, said because poverty was still a challenge, there was the need for a campaign that would bring anti-poverty campaigners all over the world to join with citizens in various activities.
Those activities, he said, had the goal of giving a voice to people to express their needs and suggestions so that governments could know and act on them.
Rev Deegbe described the outcome of this year’s activities as “overwhelmingly positive” with youth and adults from educational, religious and social institutions taking part in the nationwide event.
He reminded all and sundry that the eradication of poverty started with a peaceful environment and, therefore, urged all to commit themselves to a non-violent Election 2008 in order to enjoy the fruits of a stable and peaceful country.
He urged the participants to demand accountability from people who had a duty to discharge as a way of eradicating poverty.
A programme officer of the MDGs/GCAP Secretariat, Ms Akua Kyerewa Asamoah, presenting a report on the campaign, said globally the campaign entered into the Guinness Book of Records as having set a new record in the world for mass mobilisation with 116 million people being mobilised from 131 countries.
She mentioned other achievements as opportunities of interaction among all stakeholders, which was made possible by the activities organised and the awareness created.
Ms Asamoah said the campaign was now more relevant than before because of the current global economic challenges that made it an imperative for all to “keep a better focus on poverty”.
She said failure to do that could be “devastating to people already affected by poverty”.
There were solidarity messages from the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC).
A Principal Planning Analyst of the NDPC, Mr Winfred Nelson, emphasised the need for situating all actions and activities within a decentralised system where the poor who were the targets could benefit.
He also stressed the need for countries to emphasise not only on attaining the goals, but also putting in place processes and structures by which the goals attained could be sustained.
While Mr Kofi Asare of the GNECC emphasised education as key to the eradication of poverty, Mr Kwame Mensah of the ILO stressed that abolishing child labour was key to poverty eradication.
Rev Dr Deegbe later launched a website: "http://www.ghanamdgscampiagn.org" of the secretariat, and the activities of the coalition.
DAILY GRAPHIC, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2008, PG 40