The Israeli Embassy has disbursed grants totalling GH¢422, 612 to five Ghanaian entrepreneurs and three health facilities to support diverse projects in the areas of agriculture, health and innovation.
The grants are under Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) programme, which builds the capacity of Africans in various sectors in their countries and funds selected projects of its alumni.
Nada Danye Asare of Mem-Chemfre Village Savings and Loans received GH¢57,000 to digitise the scheme for easy disbursement of loans and other support to farmers, while Richard Kwame Karikari, another entrepreneur, got GH¢48,000 to train honey farmers and purchase 100 beehives at Twifo Praso in the Central Region.
Dr Ernest Teye of the University of Cape Coast was granted GH¢57,000 for a field research into reduction in post-harvest losses of plantain, with Nii Nookwei Tackie and Kelechi Ofoegbu each getting the same amount to produce fresh kitchen herbs, and undertake a zero plastic project respectively.
A grant of GH¢72,375 was given to Gye Nyame, a non- governmental organisation which manages a mobile clinic in the Ashanti Region, to begin a psychiatric and pediatric surgery outreach while GH¢74,237 would be used to support two neo-natal units in Suntreso and Kumasi South hospitals in the same region.
Speaking at the grants award ceremony in Accra, the Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Mrs Shani Cooper, said the projects were selected out of 17 which were submitted by MASHAV alumni for a new micro-financial grant announced in June last year.
“These grants are part of the Israeli commitment to the development of Ghana, a commitment that began back in 1958 and continues for decades until today,” she said.
Retracing the genesis of MASHAV, Ms Cooper said in 1958, the Israeli Foreign Minister, Golda Meir, decided to build an International development agency to support the continent of Africa after returning home from her visit to Ghana during which she discussed many issues with Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
Since then, she said, Israel had contributed to Ghana’s development through the training of thousands of Ghanaians in agriculture, health, women empowerment, education and other sectors, sharing the Israeli know-how and sending aid when needed.
“A lot of MASHAV alumni are now successful business people and government officials, and we are proud of them,” she said.
According to Mrs Cooper, although the 2020 batch for the programme could not travel to Israel, they benefited from online courses designed for them and that she had no doubt that they had been equipped to contribute to the country’s development in their respective fields.
She congratulated the grand awardees, who also took turns to thank the Israeli government for funding their projects, promising to live up to expectation.