The Hunger Project
Good morning, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.
I’d first like to thank the communities of Akode Number One, Akode Number Two, Holokpui, Togorme, and Apetorkope for welcoming me so warmly to the Akode Epicentre today.
Thanks also to The Hunger Project Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Mr Philippe Magid and The Hunger Project Ghana’s Country Director Samuel Afrane for making this visit happen.
To all of The Hunger Project’s team for their excellent work on the Epicentre Strategy.
And to the Australian donors who have supported this initiative.
It has been a privilege to visit the Akode Epicentre, and to see firsthand how you have all created a self-reliant, thriving community.
The members of these constituent communities have delivered a whole range of vital services, from midwifery to training to information technology.
And in the face of a changing climate, the Epicentre is supporting farmers to increase their yields sustainably, as well as expanding access to resources for responding and adapting to the effects of climate change.
These achievements are a great testament to the determination and work of the communities of the Epicentre.
And they are a testament to the work of The Hunger Project, and its Epicentre Strategy.
The three fundamental pillars of The Hunger Project.
Building upon the diverse skills of a community’s members.
And supporting engagement with local government to meet basic needs.
Are very much consistent with the way in which the Australian Government works collaboratively with Ghana, and other countries, on development.
One of our key priorities in our development program is empowering and protecting women and girls.
We know that when women and girls thrive, so do communities.
We know that when women are able to fully participate in all aspects of society, societies are safer and healthier, development is more sustainable, and economies are more prosperous.
And so, advancing gender equality is a fundamental part of Australia’s development program.
In Ghana and across the region, we are funding community projects through our Direct Aid Program – many of these projects focus on education and gender equality.
To give one example, in the last year, we have supported around 235 Ghanaian women to undertake vocational training in shea butter processing, dairy processing and rabbitry, financial literacy, agribusiness, export readiness, and plastic waste recycling.
The skills and knowledge these women have gained benefit them, their families and their communities.
And we’re proud that women make up close to 50 per cent of our Australia Awards Program awardees in Africa – supported by our Women in Leadership Network.
In the last decade, the Australia Awards Program has supported more than 400 Ghanaians to pursue study in Australia.
These scholars have returned to Ghana with knowledge, skills and networks that enrich and connect our nations.
These connections are vital as we face challenges that transcend borders – such as climate change, which is already disproportionately affecting African countries.
Australia is working with Ghana and other African countries in responding to the challenges of climate change – including food insecurity, water scarcity, and energy transition.
The needs are great.
That is why I recently announced that Australia would provide $10 million in emergency assistance in response to the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa.
And we are contributing in other ways.
Geoscience Australia’s Digital Earth Africa platform is empowering African countries to assess the impacts of climate change and make informed decisions by providing free access to satellite imagery and associated services.
And we were delighted when Ghana’s Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, the Hon. Minister Jinapor, accepted Digital Earth Africa’s invitation to join its governing board.
The Australian Government has also funded online short courses on Climate Change Adaptation and Grid Integration of Renewable Energy for participants representing 32 African countries – including six representatives from Ghana.
And we’ll continue to listen to you, and to work with you, on your priorities, on the things that matter to your communities.
Thank you again for welcoming me here today, and for taking the time to show me around this fantastic facility.
It’s been a great privilege to meet you all, and to see how you are driving change and shaping your community’s future.
I wish you all the best.
Medasi. [Thank you]
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