Wednesday, August 27, 2008

AMANSIE WEST DISTRICT MAKES PROGRESS (PAGE 36)

SEVEN years may not be a long period for a district assembly, especially one in a deprived environment like Amansie West, to prosecute its development agenda to improve the lives of the people.
But it looks like the appreciable level of development achieved within the last seven years is bringing some hope to the people.
For those who believe in decentralisation, the decision by the erstwhile NDC government to carve Amansie West from the then Amansie District was a laudable decision.
Systematically, Amansie West has progressed with the district assembly as the driving force to underline the power of local governance in enhancing the lives of the people.
There is no doubt, however, that the last seven years has seen tremendous development unseen of in the district.
The District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr Ben Kwakye-Adeefe, has persistently driven home the fact that the number of development projects and programmes witnessed in the district must serve as a
springboard for the forward march of the district into perhaps a municipality in the not too distant future.
This is a huge challenge that would demand hard work from the people to complement the efforts of the government and other development partners in prosecuting the development agenda.
Perhaps, the decision by the Anglican Church to establish a university in the district is a sign of good things to come.
It is education that holds the key to development and expectations are that the Anglican University of Science and Technology would help push the people to take education seriously.
With the increasing degradation of the environment through deforestation, the rural communities are losing a good number of their arable lands, and the best option is to rely on education to guarantee a better future for their children.
Recently, the DCE told heads of departments in the district that education had remained a key part of the district assembly's programmes.
At a meeting that was attended by 85 heads of departments and institutions, the DCE said since 2001, the assembly had constructed 100 school blocks and 35 teachers' accommodation facilities.
He also stated that 42,000 schoolchildren were benefiting from the Capitation Grant, not to mention the scholarships granted to trainee teachers to study and return to teach in the district.
These are all laudable programmes that could go a long way to shape the future of the district for the better.
It is no wonder that results of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) have improved in the district over the last few years.
From a regional position of 17th in 2000, Amansie West placed fourth in 2007 while the district’s performance at the national level also improved from 100th position in 2000 to the seventh in 2007.
Another area where the district has performed creditably is the government's rural electrification. Before 2001, just five communities were enjoying electricity in Amansie West but the figure has risen to 90 currently while more communities are in the pipeline to benefit from the scheme.
The health of the people is very important in building a strong society.
Amansie West used to be synonymous with Buruli Ulcer but today thanks to the Catholic Church, which established the St Martin's Hospital at Agroyesum, and the efforts of the government and other development partners, the incidence of the disease has minimised drastically.
The district assembly has also constructed 13 clinics with nurses' quarters attached within the past seven years to help take care of health problems in the communities.
Water and sanitation are related to health. Without good water and sanitation facilities, diseases are likely to break out.
That is why the district assembly, the government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have together constructed as many as 285 boreholes in the last seven years in the district.
Besides, 320 household latrines and 35 institutional latrines have been constructed in the district.
Other remarkable progress has been witnessed in other areas but perhaps one important feature that stands out so prominently in the district is the Millennium Villages Project initiated by the United Nations.
The project has the goal of implementing the UN Millennium projects in the beneficiary communities with a view to helping to attain the Millennium Development Goals.
In spite of those developments, more is left to be done to get to the acceptable point of development.
For instance, more roads need to be constructed to make the communities accessible as bad roads prevent farmers from sending their products to the buying centres.

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