IN recent times, many private sector civil society organisations, especially non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the country, have been contributing in diverse ways to the development in rural and deprived communities which are aimed at improving the living conditions of the people.
Since the government alone cannot meet the needs of every community in the country,the NGOs, both local and foreign, have become partners with the government in a bid to ensure the sustainable development of the rural and deprived communities.
One of such locally-based NGOs that has played its part in ensuring that people in rural communities attain decent livelihoods as well as helping the country to achieve its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is the Mission of Hope for Society Foundation (MIHOSO).
The NGO has its headquarters in Sunyani, the Brong Ahafo Regional capital.
MIHOSO currently works in the Kintampo North, Sunyani and Techiman municipalities; Kintampo South, Pru, Jaman North, Asutifi and Nkoranza districts, all the Brong Ahafo Region; Jirapa and Lambussie districts in the Upper West Region and the Bosomtwe, Atwima and Nwabiagya districts in the Ashanti Region.
The aim of the foundation, which is a human rights and social development NGO, is to ensure that women and children have access to basic social services, protection, and full recognition in development partnership.
The NGO does that through capacity building, rights-based advocacy, support for basic education, agro-forestry and food security, tourism promotion, health education, among others.
The NGO also shares and actively works with communities, policy makers and children to ensure that educational, agricultural and health programmes really empower vulnerable children and women for sustainable development.
As part of its development objectives, MIHOSO has contributed to the achievement of the universal basic education policy in the country, promoted gender equity and women’s rights to eliminate the vicious cycle of community-based poverty and hunger.
It has also promoted good environmental sanitation and provided primary health care services to keep women and children safe.
Besides, the NGO has carried out programmes to ensure social development in Ghana through advocacy concept and practices.
Over the last seven years, the foundation has been committed to its mission in the areas of community-centred development work, agro-forestry and food security, human rights advocacy in support of women and children, research in working communities and gender mainstreaming strategies.
MIHOSO has given basic education support to children engaged in the worst forms of labour such as children being trafficked, school dropouts, orphans,those engaged in street/farming work, fishing, mining and commercial sexual activities.
The NGO has organised health education and training in malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS.
In the Kintampo North Municipality and Kintampo South District in the Brong Ahafo Region, where MIHOSO has been operation for the past six years, it has been working in child rights protection, reproductive health education, People Living with HIV (PLWHIV) rights education and provision of support services to people affected by HIV/AIDS, women’s rights empowerment and social advocacy.
In the field of advocacy, the NGO is implementing child rights to basic education for all children, reproductive health rights, PLWHIV rights and women’s economic empowerment in Pru, Kimtampo, Asutifi, Jaman North and Asunafo districts.
In the Atwima district in Ashanti, reproductive health education with capacity building has been integrated and currently 120 pupils have been trained as child rights advocates in 15 communities in both the Kintampo North municipality and Kintampo South district.
In the Pru and Yeji districts, awareness of the impact of children being used in fishing activities has been raised in 10 communities by MIHOSO and 230 children engaged in fishing have been withdrawn, supported, rehabilitated and are in primary and junior high schools.
Two hundred community peer educators comprising 100 children and 100 adults have been trained on Children’s Law in Ghana and Advocacy Skills while 75 men and women have been trained on soap-making as alternative livelihood options and have been helped to start businesses.
The NGO has also supported 50 children in apprenticeship and acquiring vocational skills.
On basic education and child rights activities, MIHOSO works actively with the rural poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged children through capacity building, networking and media empowerment on basic rights to education and health.
The programme is being carried out by involving local leaders to advocate a desirable change for children and the implementation of child panels at district and sub-district levels to ensure that children have better and quality education at the grass root level.
On water, environmental and sanitation programmes, MIHOSO has also assisted communities in its operational areas by providing them with information to form their Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) committees, guiding them to acquire water and sanitation facilities; to own, operate and manage their facilities, and generally train and educate WATSAN and communities on sanitation and environmental management.
Currently, the NGO is implementing a project on sustainable land management practices, livelihood enterprise development and a development project in the Jirapa District in the Upper West Region.
The purpose of the project is to promote collaborative, sustainable land management practices in the selected communities through building of the capacity of farmers on innovative strategies for sustainable land management, introducing farmers to sustainable livelihood activities and developing access to market opportunities locally and globally.
According to the Executive Director of MIHOSO, Mr Gabriel Gbiel Benarkuu, the objectives of the project are to promote sustainable agricultural practices among farmers in the Jirapa, Tizza and Douri area to enable them to restore the degraded lands through forestry, natural regeneration establishment and enrichment planting.
It is also to support sustainable small ruminant and guinea fowl rearing as a livelihood supplement and support farmers to access fair and ready markets for their produce in order to increase their incomes, build and sustain the capacities of farmers to enable them to identify innovative strategies, approaches and models in linking trade and livelihoods to sustainable land management.
He said the NGO had been supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the district assemblies in the operational areas.