ICT Teacher of SUSEC receives $15,000 research grant

Mr Gabriel Kwadwo Afram, an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) teacher at the Sunyani Senior High School (SUSEC), has received a US$15,000 grant from the Scratch Foundation to develop scratch blocks for creative coding.

The Scratch Foundation is a global non-profit organisation dedicated to providing young people with digital tools and opportunities to imagine, create and share ideas on coding.

A letter signed by Ms Elaine Atherton, the Director of Scratch Education Collaborative (SEC) at the United States of America, owners of the Foundation, commended Mr Afram and SUSEC for their commitment to creating coding.

A copy of the letter made available to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Sunyani, said: ‘The US$15,000 grant is to support the creation and piloting of LEGO-like Physical 3-D Scratch Blocks for Creative Coding to support the scaling of creative coding in rural communities and communities that do not have internet access’.

Scratch is a high-level block-based visual type of programming language primarily targeted at children as an educational tool.

‘The funding would also be used to support the creation of prototypes of blocks, which includes tactile sprites and backdrops that can be manipulated during hands-on creative learning activities, made from local materials,’ the letter said.

In an interview with the GNA, Mr Afram said as part of the grant, training would be conducted for about 200 master of trainers (teachers

and students) who would in turn train other student trainees on how to use the Equitable Creative Coding Resources (ECCRs) for creative coding in their communities.

He was excited that the project would be developed and piloted for students in the Jaman North District and Sunyani Municipality, to enable teachers and students to learn how to code.

That would help eliminate the obstacle of lack of computers and internet access, which had incapacitated their abilities to engage in creative coding over the years, he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Countries need system approach to build resilient economies – Minister

Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources has said the recent disturbing global health pandemic and its economic challenges requires a system approach by countries to recover and build resilient economies.

‘As system leaders, we need to think, act and work differently to build resilient systems to deliver water, access, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services by connecting to other systems such as; health, agriculture, and urban development because the multi-dimensional challenges we face cannot be solved by fragmented and siloed thinking of the past,’ she stated.

A statement by the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources and copied the Ghana News Agency said the Minister made the remark when she delivered a speech at a three-day All Systems Connect International Symposium in the Hague, the Netherlands from May 2 to 4, 2023.

The meeting was hosted by One For All Partners IRC. Water for People, Water for Good, non-profit non-governmental organisations with support from UNICEF, WHO, the Netherlands Government, World Vision, Conrad N. Hilton and Osprey Foundations, respectively.

It brought together ministerial level delegations from Ghana, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, Rwanda, and Uganda and was attended by over 700 changemakers and system leaders globally.

They deliberated on issues relating to WASH and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Madam Dapaah who spoke on the topic; ‘Strengthening all systems – building resilience with water, sanitation and hygiene (and wider public services,’ said the facts remained that to reach universal access to drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene by 2030, the current rate of progress would need to increase four-fold if not more.

‘This call for a clear and deliberate shift from ‘business-as-usual’ and we therefore have to work,’ she stated.

She said Ghana realising the challenge of attaining the targets for sanitation has adapted the systems approaches for improving water, access, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) service delivery in the country.

She said the country has made strides towards the attainment of global targets and goals such as the Millennium Development Goals and the SDGs.

Madam Dapaah said the then Millennium Development Goals targets for water was achieved by the country in 2010, five years before its targeted date of 2015, adding that regrettably, same feat could not be achieved for sanitation.

‘Ghana is pursuing a transformative agenda in the WASH sector by enhancing private sector participation in water supply services, establishing a fund for households to install their own toilets,’ she stated.

The Minister said the Ghana Government could not do it all alone but needed the support of the development partners, ‘so together we find our place in the system and in harmony we build a resilient system that will ensure the provision of sustainable WASH services to all.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

STMA initiates 17 projects in five years – MCE

The Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) has in the past five years initiated 17 projects to improve the livelihoods of residents in the Metropolis.

The project, some of which are completed, while others are at various stages of completion are under the District Assemblies Common Fund, Districts Development Fund, GETFUND, European Union, Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa and Deutsche Bank are all geared towards the transformation of the metropolis.

The projects include redevelopment of the Takoradi market circle which has 81.20 percent overall progress to date, Engineering works 100 percent, procurement 88.85 percent and construction 60.86 percent.

The construction of a six-unit classroom block with ancillary facilities at Kansaworado , a Community Health Planning Service compound at Kojokrom, teachers’ accommodation for Mberedane Basic school, construction of a six-seater water and sanitation with an overhead tank for Essikado Junior High School and three mechanised boreholes for Ahanta Mampong, Ntaamakrom and Kwesikrom.

The others are construction of a three-unit classroom block with office and store for Bishop Essuah Roman Catholic primary school at Takoradi, construction of a two-unit classroom block with a dining hall, office, store, kitchen, washroom, as well as the provision of furniture and enclosed fencing for James Anglican school at Ahanta Akromakrom.

The rest are the construction of a single storey training center with workshop and external works for Twin-cities in sustainable partnership at STMA Depot in Sekondi, rehabilitation of four-Unit classroom block with office and store, Two-unit classroom block and completion of one-unit block for M/AJHS and KG at Anoe, construction of two Six-unit classroom block with ancillary facilities for Ryner Paul school at Nyiresia and Diabene and the construction of a mechanized borehole with an overhead tank at the demonstration farm in Sekondi.

Mr Abdul Mumin Issah, Metropolitan Chief Executive, who made these known at the first ordinary meeting of the fourth session of the eighth assembly in Sekondi, noted that the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty had provided financial support and assistance to 54 persons with Disabilities and three disability groups.

He said last year the Metropolitan Assembly targeted to mobilize GHC 44, 776.117.57, but managed to mobilize 42, 971,737.52 revenue representing 95.97 percentage revenue.

A total of GHC 14, 973,412.84 was budgeted as Internally Generated Fund (IGF) but GHC14, 006.227.17 actual were realized representing 93.54 percent.

The MCE said the Assembly budgeted an expenditure of GHC44, 776.177.56 and had an actual expenditure of GHC41, 919,314.90 representing 93.61 percent and called on all to strive even harder to mobilize sufficient funds for the execution of their development agenda

Mr Issah announced that the salaries of IGF staff had been adjusted upwards from 22 percent to 42 percent and tasked the staff to work harder to justify the increment.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Afrobarometer survey shows increase in support for media freedom in Africa

An Afrobarometer survey findings report released as part of activities marking this year’s World Press Freedom Day shows an increase in support for media freedom in Africa.

The report indicated that a majority of Africans endorse the media’s ‘right to publish any views and ideas without government control,’ rejecting the idea that a government should be able to prevent the media from publishing ‘things that it disapproves of.’

It revealed that support for media freedom was the majority view in 31 of 36 surveyed countries and had increased by 12 percentage points across 30 countries tracked since 2014/2015.

The report shows that majorities in 36 surveyed countries endorse the media’s watchdog role in investigating and reporting on government mistakes and corruption.

The data also shows that a majority of Africans assess their country’s media as ‘somewhat’ or ‘completely’ free.

But Gabon, Eswatini, the Ivory Coast, and Cameroon register large majorities who describe their country’s media as ‘not very free’ or ‘not at all free.’

Key findings of the survey revealed that on average across 36 African countries, two-thirds (65 per cent) of citizens ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that the media should have the right to publish any views and ideas without government control.

This includes more than three-fourths of citizens in Mauritius (84 per cent), Seychelles (84 per cent), Gabon (79 per cent), and Botswana (77 per cent).

On average across 30 countries surveyed in both 2014/2015 and 2021/2022, support for media freedom has increased by 12 percentage points.

The report said support for free media had more than doubled during this period in Senegal (from 27 per cent to 73 per cent), while 17 other countries also record double-digit increases.

It said almost three quarters (73 per cent) of citizens ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that the media while 25 per cent say, ‘too much reporting on negative events, like government mistakes and should constantly investigate and report on government mistakes and corruption, corruption, only harms the country’.

It said close to six in 10 (58 per cent) say the media in their country was ‘completely’ or ‘somewhat’ free.

It noted that perceived media freedom was highest in Tanzania (81 per cent), The Gambia (79 per cent), Tunisia (76 per cent), and Mauritania (75 per cent).

The 36 countries covered in the report include Mauritius, Sudan, Eswatini, Guinea, Morocco, Niger, the Ivory Coast, South Africa, Malawi, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Seychelles and Mauritania.

Others are Zambia, Liberia, Madagascar, Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya, São Tomé and Príncipe, Lesotho, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso and Benin.

The rest are Cabo Verde, Nigeria, Gabon, The Gambia, Senegal, Angola, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Namibia, Uganda and Mali.

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan survey research network that provides reliable research findings.

Afrobarometers national partners conduct face-to-face data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life.

Eight survey rounds in up to 39 countries have been completed since 1999. Round 9 surveys of 1,2002,400 adult citizens.

Samples of this size yield country level results with margins of error interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice with nationally representative samples of +/-2 to +/-3 percentage points at a 95 per cent confidence level.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Public’s support for police vital to protect lives and propery – Commander

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Anthony Appiah, the Dormaa Divisional Police Commander, has stated the need , to maintain security in Dormaa, as the area continued to spread fast with new sites.

‘Maintaining security in such places is thus crucial,’ ACP Appiah said, and courted the support of the public for efficient service delivery to ensure the best protection of lives and property in the country.

ACP Appiah was speaking to the media after a durbar organised by the Dormaa Central Municipal Assembly in collaboration with the local leadership of Organised Labour to commemorate the ‘May Day’ at Dormaa-Ahenkro in the Bono Region.

The police officer underscored the need for public support such as volunteering information about miscreants and strangers of suspicious characters in the communities to the Police.

This is very vital, he said, for swift action to prevent criminals from operating.

ACP Appiah assured residents of the municipality and its environs the Divisional Police Command was working hard for the prevalence of peace and tranquillity so that socio-economic activities would accordingly progress.

In that regard, he said the local Formed Police Unit (FPU) had been working to strengthen security by patrolling highways and border communities not only in the Dormaa Central area but Dormaa East and West Districts as well to check criminal activities to protect lives and properties of residents.

‘This Unit is linked up with colleagues at Nkrankwanta in the Dormaa West and Wamfie in the Dormaa East and the Berekum enclave to fight robbery,’ he emphasised.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Judiciary committed to making quality justice accessible to Ghanaians – Chief Justice

Outgoing Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, says the Judiciary has a burning desire to make the fundamental right of quality justice accessible to all Ghanaians.

This, he said, was evident in the number of courts commissioned in the Oti region to serve the common needs of the people.

He said it was the belief that the existence of the courts would contribute to a peaceful and stable environment critical to national growth and development.

Justice Anin-Yeboah, in a short ceremony to commission a District Court at Fahiakobor-Bowiri in the Biakoye District of the Oti region, said the presence of the court would also reduce the time, energy and efforts the people were making to travel to Kpando and Hohoe to access justice.

He said the increase in courts nationwide was to provide quality justice for the public and thereby enhance public trust and confidence in the administration of justice.

Justice Anin-Yeboah said it behooved on them as service providers to take extremely good care of the facility while the judges and judicial staff treat all who access the court with respect and dignity as well as attend to their needs in timely and courteous manner.

He admonished court users and the public to know that they owed themselves and the nation a corresponding duty to help the judicial service build a credible and trustworthy system which implied that they must not engage in negative activities.

The outgoing Chief Justice urged chiefs in the area to use their office to resolve most if not all contentious or complex disputes that were filed in the court and capable of settlement.

The edifice was built through the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development with the District Assemblies Common Fund and has offices for the registrar, ADR, dockets and cashier, chambers, solar power, mechanized borehole, washrooms for staff and public, and has a bungalow for the judge.

Dr Joshua Makubu, Oti regional Minister, noted that the commissioning of the Biakoye District Court was historic as it brought the total number of courts in the region to five which was highly commendable.

He noted that the presence of the courts in the region and districts would save time, efforts and energy of the people in accessing justice while urging the people of the district to endeavor to make good use of the courts in seeking justice.

Dr Makubu noted that there would be no development if there were projects without peace and urged the traditional authorities to ensure that issues were amicably resolved to ensure peace.

Madam Millicent Kabuki Carboo, Biakoye District Chief Executive (DCE), noted that the presence of the court in the district would enhance the delivery of justice to ensure a peaceful environment adding that the edifice was timely in the delivery of justice in the district.

She noted that the court would also enable the Assembly to enforce its by-laws as well as for the payment of taxes while expressing gratitude to the President and government for selecting the district as a beneficiary.

Okoforbour Baffour Kwame Asante II, Tapahene and Vice President, Oti Regional House of Chiefs, expressed gratitude to the President and the Chief Justice for the edifice and promise an effective maintenance culture to ensure the longevity of the edifice.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ministry of Roads and Highways engages traditional authorities, others on Abidjan Lagos Corridor project

The Ministry of Roads and Highways have consulted traditional authorities and other relevant agencies and organisations in the Western Region on the proposed Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Development Project.

The highway project, envisioned by the ECOWAS Commission would link five countries: Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to promote economic integration, growth while, enhancing free movement among the member countries of the ECOWAS.

The highway, spanning a length of about 1028 kilometres would run through the major economic centres of the five countries and would make way for bypasses, overpasses and interchanges to ensure the maximum safety of communities along such significant international project.

Mrs. Rita Ohene Safo, the Project Director and Head of the Policy, Planning and Budget of the Ministry of Roads and Highways told participants that the engagement was to enlighten key stakeholders on the proposed project, solicit their support for the smooth implementation and particularly request the traditional authorities to release lands for the Right of Way from each affected community.

She said, already, the African Development Bank with support from the European Union had set aside a seed capital while, all five countries are expected to contribute some one million dollars, ‘we are still seeking investor support to enable some work to start probably the latter part of 2024.’

She said the highway, with a three -lane and dual carriageway had components such as feasibility and detailed engineering, road safety Audit, PPP Structuring and Transaction Advisory Audit and a Management Authority to aid in the realization of the tenets of the proposed project.

In the meantime, participants expressed concern for rail development as against road network where heavy trucks had always shortened it lifespan, they also called on assemblies to work with their laws on spatial development to avoid uncontrolled development.

Nana Kobena Nketiah V, the Omanhene of Essikado Traditional Area, noted the need for the project implementing unit to consult with the National Development Planning Commission.

He said the country was in need of a focused and detailed plan to shape the future development aspirations and fortunes of generations to come.

Obrempong Himaa Dekyi, the Omanhene of Lower Dixcove, prayed that much attention would be given to the revival of the Rail systems in the country.

Other concerns were the need for the assemblies to revert to the name: Town and Country Planning as against Physical Planning Unit to remind officers to uphold proper development in communities and towns.

Awulae Attibrukusu, the Omanhene of Axim was not happy with the unauthorized erection of rumps on many Highways in the country by Community members which was rather increasing the spate of crashes on the road.

Currently, Ghana has over 11,000 speed rumps with many being unauthorized and Community initiated.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Banking sector gets ESAAMLG’s thumbs up

Angolan banking financial sector has received approval, in compliance with technical standards, from the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) institution.

The approval owed to the fact that Angola has defended, at the end of March, in Arusha, Tanzania, the Mutual Evaluation Report, at the technical meeting of the ESAAMLG “task force”.

The results of Angola’s mutual evaluation process, within the scope of the FATF, were shared by the Governor of the National Bank of Angola, Lima Massano, during a consultation meeting and regular consultations held with members of the Angolan Association of Banks (ABANC).

The meeting with ABANC, according to the BNA publication to which ANGOP had access, aimed to analyse various current economic and financial issues, including proposals for reviewing training programmes on the prevention of money laundering, the implementation of regulatory reforms of a prudential nature and the applicable modalities.

After this step, the results of the “task force” discussions will be submitted to knowledge and subsequent deliberation in the plenary of the Council of Ministers of this FATF regional organisation, to be held in the months of September and October of this year.

The ESAAMLG is the group of the countries in Southern and East Africa, created to monitor countries’ progress towards compliance and implementation of the FATF Recommendations in their jurisdictions, concerning the prevention and combating of money laundering and terrorist financing.

The group comprises 17 countries. They are Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland, Kenya, Zambia, Uganda, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Mauritius and Zimbabwe.

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)