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 the basis of livelihood for over 90% of its families.
Episcopal Relief & Development partners with the Anglican Diocesan Development and Relief Organization (ADDRO), the relief and development arm of the Anglican Diocese of Tamale in northern Ghana, on activities in agriculture, micro-finance and health.
The comprehensive agriculture program offers training for farmers to increase their harvests and improve their income while protecting the environment. Farmers are able to access improved seed varieties and fertilizers, and learn agricultural techniques that will conserve water and increase their harvests. The program also offers training to process crops into products like peanut butter and shea butter, which have longer shelf life and transportability as well as greater value in the market. Training in livestock care and access to healthy animals provides an additional source of sustainable food and income. Savings with Education groups empower people economically and offer access to training and micro-loans for business development.
Since 2006, the integrated health program has focused on preventing disease, promoting healthy habits and improving child and maternal health. Using the integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) model with Social and Behavioral Change Communication (SBCC) strategies to reduce child deaths from malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia, ADDRO has trained hundreds of community volunteers to prevent and diagnose illness and offer basic treatment or referral to health facilities. The integrated health program also promotes maternal health services and provides community education and family support around HIV/AIDS.