TOGOLESE REFUGEES CHOOSE TO REMAIN AND INTEGRATE INTO LOCAL COMMUNITIES IN GHANA

HO, GHANA, July 26 — A total of 2,300 Togolese refugees in Volta Region (Province) of southeastern Ghana have opted to stay and integrate into communities hosting them in this country.

The laws of Ghana, however, forbid them from participating in political activities such as elections in Ghana, explains Ken Dzirasah, the Chairman of the Ghana Refugee Board.

Some of the refugees are said to have sought refuge in Ghana between 1993 and 2005 because of the political developments in neighbouring Togo, which shas a border with Volta Region.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will provide funds to support efforts of the government of Ghana to implement the local integration process under its “Seeds for Solutions Project”, which was launched in Ho, the capital of Volta Region, on Thursday, according to the UNHCR Ghana Representativew, whose statement was read by a UNHCR officer, Doris Wiafe-Annor.

“For those choosing local integration …. the Togolese Government would provide them with national passports, while the Ghanaian authorities would provide residence permits, after vetting by the Ghana Immigration Service,” the UNHCR said.

The project is said to be based on Ghana’s proposal, which was accepted by the UNHCR Head Office in Geneva. The main objective of the two-year project is “to ensure that refugees have access to national services, achieve self-reliance and obtain an alternative legal status …. by 2015”, according to a Fact Sheet compiled by the UNHCR Ghana Country Office.

Under the Project, a market assessment and value chain analysis would be conducted to determine the marketability of skills and trade areas where the refugees have comparative advantage. A total of 400 refugees who engage in indigenous farming will be supported with agricultural inputs and farm tools.

Micro-credit would be extended to 150 refugees who are engaged in trading, in addition to 243 refugees who are already benefitting from such facility. Some of the refugees would also benefit from vocational and technical skills training and given start-up kits.

In the second year, a one-time cash grant would be extended to the refugees to address basic needs such as livelihood, shelter and nutrition. Refugees, who want to, would be enrolled into the National Health Insurance Scheme.

There would also be a “one-off enrolment for 100 adolescents who have successfully completed basic schools and have obtained the required grades in the West African Examination Council’s Basic Education Certificate Examination in public schools”.

SOURCE: GNA

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