Many smallholder farmers in northern Ghana experience chronic poverty and food shortages due to erratic rainfall and a short harvest season. Malnutrition and child mortality rates in this region are the highest in the country, with malaria responsible for 25% of the deaths of children under five years old. With a hot tropical climate, Ghana’s developing economy depends largely on livestock and agriculture, which are also the basis of livelihood for over 90% of its families.
Episcopal Relief & Development has partnered with the Anglican Diocesan Development Organization (ADDRO), the relief and development arm of the Anglican Diocese of Tamale on activities in agriculture, micro-finance and health.
The comprehensive agriculture program offers training for farmers to increase their harvests while protecting the environment, and improve their income through raising small animals and making products such as peanut butter, which have increased value, transportability and shelf life. The program provides micro-loans to help people start small businesses, with women composing the majority of the entrepreneur borrowers. ADDRO also empowers people with disabilities through rehabilitation and inclusion in other program activities.
Most recently, Episcopal Relief & Development collaborated with ADDRO to begin an innovative project to increase access to donkey, plow and cart sets for women farmers. The use of donkey plows can save time and labor for these women, who typically work long hours and either use hand tools or have to rent and drive oxen, which are more expensive and difficult to control. Participants receive agricultural and business training and can then apply for loans to purchase the donkey sets.
Since 2006, the integrated health program has focused on preventing disease, promoting healthy habits and, most recently, improving child and maternal health. Using the integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) model to reduce child deaths from malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia, ADDRO has trained hundreds of community volunteers to diagnose and offer basic treatment or referral to health facilities. Using Social and Behavioral Change Communication (SBCC) strategies, the program fosters open, informed dialogues about children’s health, hygiene and maternal health among pregnant women and younger women as well. The iCCM program also has an HIV/AIDS component that educates communities, provides support to affected families and orphans, and trains volunteers and family members to provide care for people living with the disease.
ADDRO is a leader in NetsforLife®, our program partnership to fight malaria. Episcopal Relief & Development and ADDRO together implemented a NetsforLife® program funded by a US President’s Malaria Initiative grant, which resulted in families receiving more than 1.8 million nets. The program trains volunteers to distribute long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets and educates communities on their use to help prevent the disease. For more information about this partnership, please visit our NetsforLife® page.