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The funding institution of the GROW2 project, Global Affairs Canada, and the major implementing partner, MEDA Ghana, have been very instrumental as far as providing sponsorship and layout for the implementation of the project. With the support of Key Implementing Partners (KFPs) like Urbanet and others on board, the project has moved in successive directions since its commencement.

As a KFP under the project, Urbanet Ghana has, for the past years, worked tirelessly in efforts to ensure that the target and planned impact of the project are achieved in its operational zones, the Northern and Savannah regions. To get a feel of the progress at the community level, representatives of GAC, through Urbanet, paid an official visit, alongside offices from MEDA Ghana, to some communities in the Savannah region to interact and engage with the clients (women smallholder farmers) under the project.

From GAC, the Senior Development Officer, Mr. Majeed Mohammed, and Country Project Manager for GROW2, Mr. Francis Essuman, and others had an active interaction with clients within the Sankunpe and Jiramoape communities in the Central Gonja district of the Savannah region, discussing project activities and the benefits they’ve had so far from the project.

At the Sankunpe community, an interaction was held with 123 women farmers who participated in the Good Agronomic Practices (GAPs), farm demonstrations and had access to organic fertilizers, financial literacy, the Gender Module Family (GMF), and agribusiness training, amongst others. While in Jiramoape, two Savings and Loan Groups (SLGs) were met regarding similar issues, with a focus on their linkage and access to financial services provided by partner institutions.

This visit was meant to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences of the project interventions, including the effectiveness and benefits of organic liquid fertilizers purchased by 46 farmers under the price discount program. And also an opportunity to gain insight into how financial empowerment and access to credit have positively impacted their communities. They were commended for their active participation and encouraged to work closely with the project officer in order to enjoy the full impact of the project.

Aside from enabling women farmers under the GROW2 project with innovative and climate-smart skills to boost farm yields, the projects encourage women to utilize their farm produce through agribusiness to ensure economic stability and freedom. Other vital components of the project, besides providing farm inputs, technologies, farm demonstrations, and skills, seek to ensure that clients can utilize their produce in ways that promote nutritional health, hence the recent food processing and utilization demonstration.

Over the past weeks, project officers under the GROW2 project have undergone a series of trainings on how to incorporate soybeans and groundnuts, two of the most cultivated foods by women farmers, into various everyday meals to enhance nutrition. These trainings, which took place in the Northern and Savannah regions, were necessary considering the level of malnutrition and food insecurity cases within some rural areas of the region.

This training was meant to educate these officers on the skills needed for this activity, which was meant to trickle down to their areas of operation. After this training, community-level training will be held across all Urbanet’s zones of influence, led by the project officers with assistance from WIAD officers. This activity will involve all women in these communities who are clients of the project and will take them through a step-by-step process on how to incorporate groundnuts and soybeans into their household dishes and how to prepare other nutritional dishes to combat malnutrition and promote food security through proper utilisation of foodstuffs.

During the food demonstrations, the women will be educated on the nutritional value of soybeans and groundnuts and how they can be used as replacements for other sources of nutrients that are not readily accessible to them due to financial constraints. They will also be taken through the significance of prioritizing nutritional well-being, especially for their children, and how to ensure constant practice to elevate their health status.

Under the Price Discount Program of the GROW2 project, clients are being supported to acquire farm technologies such as threshers, shellers, tricycles, and push/roller planters, amongst others, to support their farming and post-harvest activities in order to lessen their burden. The program supports women to purchase these technologies at a 50% discount.

Women farmers and aggregators are given the opportunity to choose their preferred technology based on what is most needed by them, with the help of project officers in their areas. This is to ensure that a lot of these women are able to patronize at least one technology due to the number of clients under Urbanet’s operational zones and the limited number of technologies available at the moment.

Distribution of patronized technologies began earlier this month and will continue until before the holidays and after. Owners of shellers and threshers will be taught how to operate, maintain, and utilize them in a way that benefits not only them but their communities or groups as a whole. This category of women will be supported in putting up sheds under which these machines will be placed. Meanwhile, women who patronize tricycles will be assisted as far as registering them is concerned.

So far, 24 tricycles and 7 shellers have been distributed to women within some of the districts, including the Nanton, Central Gonja, West Gonja and North Gonja districts. More technologies are expected to be distributed in the other districts before the year ends.