- On September 13, 2018
- anniversary, SEND GHANA, SEND Liberia, SEND Sierra Leone, SEND West Africa
SEND West Africa (SEND) turned 20 years on August 30th, and staff from Sierra Leone and Liberia joined their Ghanaian colleagues in Accra to celebrate.
The celebration was also attended by dignitaries, including ministers of state, diplomats, traditional leaders, partner civil society organizations and former colleagues of SEND Ghana.
Taking place at the Holiday Inn, the event was also broadcast live via Facebook and highlighted SEND’s achievements over the past 20 years. Attendees also witnessed good will messages from key stakeholders recognizing the significant role SEND has played in promoting good governance and transforming lives in West Africa, especially in Ghana.
The U.S., through USAID, has been working with SEND for the past four years. According to Sharon Cromer, the acting deputy chief of mission and director of the USAID/ Ghana Mission, the two organizations enjoy a strategic partnership in health, democracy and governance.
“For four years, the USA, through the USAID, has been a steadfast partner by [SEND’s] side,” Cromer said. “We don’t do this lightly. In fact, USAID considers SEND to be a strategic partner.”
Cromer further stated the U.S. models SEND’s holistic approach to solving development challenges.
“SEND continues to demonstrate that solutions to development challenges cannot be solved with one sector alone. SEND takes a holistic approach that we at USAID model, such as [SEND’s] livelihood empowerment program.”
Magdalene Ewuraesi Apenteng, acting chief director and technical director of the Ministry of Planning, represented Minister of Planning George Gyan-Baffour at the event as chairperson. In a statement read on behalf of the minister, Ewuraesi Apenteng said the government of Ghana recognizes SEND’s work in the implementation of national policies.
“SEND contributed immensely to the school feeding program, identifying issues such as poor targeting, which currently has led to the retargeting of policy to benefit the most impoverished areas that were initially not covered and which did not benefit from the programs,” said Ewuraesi Apenteng.
As a long-standing observer of SEND’s work, Hon. Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, hailed SEND for pioneering citizens’ empowerment to hold government accountable.
“SEND Ghana has helped in demystifying the district assemblies for the ordinary citizens,” she said. “Now, people who have participated in SEND activities walk into the district assemblies, they go to the [District Chief Executive]; ask the DCE questions. They do it realizing that it is their right to so act.”
Christian Tardif, senior director of development programs at the Canadian High Commission, also said the government of Canada collaborated with SEND to transform many lives.
“The last project we worked on, through the FOSTERING project, SEND Ghana with the Co-operative Development of Canada and the Credit Union Association of Ghana contributed to increasing sustainable food security for about 42,000 women and men farmers in the Eastern Corridor of the Northern Region,” he said. “The project contributed to increasing the annual income of the principals by 700 percent for men and 1,000 percent for women.
Looking forward, SEND Founding CEO Siapha Kamara said the organization and its affiliates will be working strategically to scale up.
“SEND Sierra Leone will soon be launching a strategic plan for 2019 to 2024, themed Empowering Citizens to Make Sierra Leone Work for Equity,” said Kamara, adding that SEND Ghana will scale up its strategic plan of Making Ghana Work for Equity to run for another five years.