The Human Help and Development Group (THUHDEG), an NGO based in Northern Region, is currently implementing a three-year project dubbed:”Older Citizens Rights Monitoring (OCRIM) project”.
The OCRIM project is a local social protection and development initiative for older persons in northern Ghana, with the objective of mobilising them to promote their inclusion and participation in decision-making at all levels of governance.
The initiative will also strengthen the voice of the elderly at the local level in order to better hold policy and duty bearers accountable for improved service delivery.
Currently, the OCRIM project is being implemented on a pilot basis within the Tamale metropolis and Sagnarigu District in the Northern Region, targeting 1,500 aged, with the aim of replicating it to other parts of the country if proved successful.
Speaking in an interview in Sunyani, the Executive Director of THUHDEG, Ken Addae, said exclusion of the elderly in decision-making process at all levels was not the best, describing it as an unfair treatment and a continued violation of rights of elderly persons.
Mr. Addae, therefore, stressed the need to promote fundamental human rights, participation and inclusion of older persons in decision-making.
He said improving on efficient and effective social protection delivery, strengthening social accountability and advocacy interventions at the community level was very crucial in promoting the sustainable development of Ghana.
Under the project, he said 730 older persons were identified and assessed, out of which 320 elderly beneficiaries were registered for the project to take off.
This figure comprises 70 disabled, 25 blind, 120 widows, 13 neglected/beggars and 91 needy or sick persons.
He said the identification and selection processes were carried out in collaboration and consultation with key community-based opinion leaders, volunteers and relevant lower structures of the assemblies such as assembly members and unit committee chairpersons.
The executive director identified the lack of proper health care and nutritional support for the elderly as one of the major challenges.
He, therefore, called on government to provide nutritional support for vulnerable older persons under the LEAP programme.
From Daniel Dzirasah, Sunyani