The Alliance for Social Innovations and Livelihood Improvement (ASOLI) participated in a stakeholder forum to discuss Ghana’s strategies for reducing carbon emissions and moving to clean energy sources. The meeting held in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region was organized by the Ministry of Energy under the auspices of the National Energy Transition Committee (NETC) recently launched by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
To bring into focus Ghana’s new commitment to work towards a Net-Zero Future, organizers of the forum replayed a recent address by President Nana Akufo Addo at the COP26 where he emphasized the need for countries around the world that are still largely dependent on fossil fuels to begin to take steps to reduce their emissions. He however noted that Africa and less developed nations still need these fossil fuels to propel their development and called on developed nations to take major steps to reduce their emissions as this is the only way to reduce the imbalances among countries and ensure sustainable development. The address by Vice President Dr. Bawumia during the launch of the NETC in Accra last December was also aired to the stakeholders.
Addressing the forum, the Deputy Minister of Energy who is also Chairman of the National Energy Transition Committee Hon. Mohammed Amin Adam (MP), said the decision to hold the consultative meetings in all regions across the country was based on the committee’s Strong’s believe that the expert opinions of Civil Society Organizations and NGOs working in the Upper East Region and other parts of the country are relevant for the development of a National Energy Transition Plan (NETP). Other senior government officials including the Deputy Minister of Transport and MP for Gushegu Hon Hassan Tampuli, the Upper East Regional Minister Hon Stephen Yakubu also addressed the forum.
As a key stakeholder in sustainable development in Ghana and an organization whose areas of focus include the development of innovative environmentally friendly strategies, ASOLI found the forum to be a good opportunity for knowledge sharing and developing partnerships. The ASOLI was represented at the forum by its Head of Operations Mr. Alfred Avenona. About Twenty-four other Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and NGOs were present at the meeting.
Other important dignitaries who participated in the dialogue were the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs, various MMDCE’s and their Presiding Members, representatives from Academia, Forestry Commission, NEDCO, Ghana Gas, GNPC, EPA, and the Chief Director of the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council and media houses.
The stakeholders’ forum also included a panel discussion that looked at the following issues:
1. How will local innovators already in the industry be considered in the rollout of the plan when it
becomes a policy.
2. How prepared is Academia to train the needed manpower in clean energy (Wind, Solar, and Nuclear), do they have the staff capacity and accreditation to run programs within the region to meet the coming industrial demand. Does NEDCO staff have the required skills for the maintenance and installation of such equipment?
3. There were also discussions around the ecosystem destruction and loss of farmlands associated with the large-scale use of land that will be required for such installations of Wind and Solar turbines and panels respectively.
The NETC will come back to meet stakeholders if all the inputs are finalized in the plan from all regions of the country.
The Alliance for Social Innovation and Livelihood Improvement (ASOLI) has issued a message of congratulations to one of its key collaborators Dr. Kennedy Alatinga on his promotion to the position of Associate Professor of Social Policy and Health Protection at the SD Dombo University of Business and
Integrated Development Studies (UBIDS).
Dr. Alatinga has been a key collaborator with ASOLI on a number of research initiatives through which he has contributed significantly towards the mentoring and professional development of members of the organization. Until his recent promotion to Professorial rank, Dr. Alatinga has been a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the Department of Community Development at UBIDS. His research focuses on improving access to healthcare services, social protection policies, welfare programs and poverty alleviation. Dr. Alatinga joined the SD Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies, formally the University for Development Studies (UDS) in 2004, starting off as a Teaching Assistant before rising through the ranks to become a Senior Research Assistant, Lecturer and Senior Lecturer. Dr. Alatinga who is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Planning and Land Management at UBIDS is also an alumnus of the University and presently serves as the National General Secretary of UDS Alumni Association.
His promotion to the position of Associate Professor comes on the back of his many years of hard work and dedicated service in teaching and research at the University. Reacting to news of Dr. Alatinga’s promotion, Lead Fellow and Director of ASOLI Mr. Edmund W. Kanmiki said Dr. Alatinga well deserves the elevation considering the tremendous amount of work and excellent research he is doing at UBIDS. Mr. Kanmiki said he was hopeful Dr. Alatinga’s new status will further enhance his collaboration and strategic partnership with ASOLI as the organization seeks to better position it’s research and development of social innovations for the improvement of health service delivery for marginalised populations, reproductive health and poverty alleviation.
Brief Profile of Professor Alatinga
Professor Alatinga is a product of Notre Dame Minor Seminary in Navrongo. He is a trained teacher from the Mount Mary Teacher Training College, Somanya-Ghana. Dr. Alatinga obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Integrated Development Studies from the University for Development Studies. For his master’s degree, he studied Development Management at the Ruhr University-Bochum, Germany. He also holds a second master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. He obtained his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in
Public Policy and Administration from the same University in South Africa. Professor Alatinga also pursued several career development programs and fellowships in several universities including the University of Bern in Switzerland, Brown University in the United States of America, the African Studies Centre at the University of Michigan and Maastricht Graduate School of Governance in the Netherlands.
Professor Alatinga is a recipient of the University of Michigan African Presidential Scholars Award, Germany Academic Exchange Services (DAAD) Scholarship (twice), the SAVUSA Scholarship Award and Deans Honour’s Award for Outstanding Academic Performance in Economics and Management Sciences at the University of the Western Cape. Over the years Professor Alatinga has provided collaborative research and consultancy services to several national and multinational institutions including the World Food Program (WFP), Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), Alliance for Social Innovation and Livelihood Improvement (ASOLI) and the Navrongo Health Research Centre.
Mr. Mathias Aboba, a lead team member of ASOLI recently graduated with a second Master’s degree in Communication and Advocacy from James Madison University in the United States of America. Mathias has also secured a scholarship to commence a PhD at the University of Oklahoma in Communication Studies starting this Fall 2021.
Mathias master’s thesis was titled “Seeking New Understanding of Primary Healthcare Policy Constraints: A Qualitative Assessment of Health Workers and Community Perspectives on the Role of Communication in the Implementation of Ghana‘s National Community Health Policy”.
His research sought to contribute towards understanding and finding ideas for strengthening primary healthcare systems in Ghana. Among other things, the findings of his study show that the success of CHPS depends on healthy relationships and better understanding of roles and expectations of stakeholders. Mathias’ research utilized qualitative data collected under the CHPS+ program by the University of Ghana’s Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS). The study recommended the strengthening of communication and related activities including stakeholders’ engagement and the training of health workers for effective CHPS operations.
Mr. Aboba already holds a Master’s degree in International Studies (with focus on communication) from Ohio University and a Bachelor’s degree from the University for Development Studies, Ghana among other qualifications. He has previously served as Communication and Knowledge Management lead for several programs including the National Program for Strengthening the Implementation of the Community-based Health Planning and Services Program in Ghana (CHPS+) and the Ghana Essential Health Intervention Program (GEHIP). He has also provided consultancy and collaborative services for agencies and organizations like KOICA, ADRO and GDC in Ghana.
ASOLI is proud of Mathias accomplishments and his contribution to our organization and wish him success in his PhD Studies and in all his endeavors. It’s a privilege to have someone like him on our team. We are very certain the new challenge he has taken on will go a long way to enhance his capacity and skills and enable him to contribute more to the development of our organization and society at large.
Edmund W. Kanmiki, A lead member of the Alliance for Social-Innovation and Livelihood Improvement (ASOLI) participated and presented two of his research papers at this this year’s Population Association of America (PAA) Conference held between May 6-9 2021
One of his presentations titled “Migrant Adolescent Female Head Porter’s Experience of Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Payments and Impoverishment in Ghana” was implemented collaboratively with Dr Kennedy A. Alatinga and Dr Gilbert A. Abiiro of the S. D Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies. The study examined the incidence of out-of-pocket payments for healthcare and impoverishment among young migrant female head porters in Ghana’s cities of Accra and Kumasi. The study shows that as high as 89% of these vulnerable migrants, mostly of northern Ghana descent, paid out-of- pocket for healthcare, which increased poverty incidence from 23% prepayment to 76% post payment. Among study recommendations was a call on the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the Ministry of Health to enrol this vulnerable population onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to increase their access to healthcare services. The study also recommended that the girls should also be supported to acquire skills in the formal and informal sectors for improved livelihoods and healthcare access. This study was funded by the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA).
Mr. Kanmiki’s second presentation at the conference was titled “Understanding Contraceptive Use, Method Failure and Discontinuation among Adolescents and Young Women in Poor Urban Settlements of Accra, Ghana”. This study assessed the use of contraceptives among adolescents and young women in poor urban settlements of Ghana’s capital city with a goal to contribute towards providing relevant evidence to help address Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) needs of urban youth particularly those resident in poor neighbourhoods. The study found that about 70% of adolescents and young adults aged 16-24 years were sexually active but only 59% of them currently used contraceptives to prevent pregnancy/or STDs. Among users, 43% used non-modern contraceptive methods like calendar or rhythm, withdrawal and Lactation Amenorrhea Method (LAM). Age, parity and wealth index were found to influence the use of contraceptives among study participants. Also, 6.8% of contraceptive use among the study participants failed to protect against unwanted pregnancies while 72.6% of contraceptive method used was discontinued within 12 months. The study recommended the deployment of targeted interventions that promote dialogue to improve understanding of the safety of modern contraceptive methods that can contribute to improving the use of modern contraception among sexually active adolescents and young adults. This study was implemented in collaboration with Professor Ayaga Bawah, Dr Patrick Asuming and Ceasar Agula, all of the University of Ghana and Professor Iqbal Shah and Dr Elizabeth G. Henry of the Harvard T.H School of Public Health.
Mr. Kanmiki is a co-founder of ASOLI and currently a PhD Fellow at the Institute for Social Science Research of the University of Queensland. The Population Association of America Conference is one of the largest meetings of population science scholars around the world and Edmund’s presentations are part of ASOLI’s strategic goals of contributing to research evidence generation and dissemination for systems strengthening and livelihood improvement.
Renowned American demographer and population health research scientist Professor James F. Phillips has been honoured with the prestigious Robert Lapham Award at this year’s Population Association of America Conference.
Professor Phillips who has undertaken many collaborative research projects in Ghana with the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service as well as other institutions is a very senior mentor to key members of the Alliance for Social Innovations and Livelihood Improvements (ASOLI).
A citation read by Ann Blanc, Vice President of the Population Council on behalf of the eminent selection committee describes Jim as “a gifted researcher with over 200 publications who has dedicated much of his career in building health systems through the design and implementation of rigorous intervention experiments, developing processes by which successful interventions can be scaled up and transformed into policies, playing central roles in developing research and intervention networks, and mentoring scores of young demographers from Asia, Africa, and around the world.”
Professor Phillips outstanding accomplishments have earned him several previous accolades including the prestigious Schultz Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2020 by the American Public Health Association, the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentorship at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, INDEPTH Network Award for outstanding contribution to the International Network of field sites with continuous Demographic Evaluation of Populations and their health in developing countries, as well as two Presidential Excellence Awards from the Republic of Ghana for excellence in both partnerships and innovation in the year 2006 among others.
Professor Phillips has led research for population policies and trials of health system change starting off in the Philippines and later extended this to Bangladesh, Ghana, Vietnam, and Tanzania which resulted in a transformative impact on policy in each of these settings. He has played founding roles in international networks for applied population research which has contributed to methodological capacity building to both individuals he has mentored and institutions mandated with service delivery responsibilities.
In Bangladesh, his work is credited for contributing to dramatic reduction of childhood mortality and total fertility rate. He subsequently led the transfer of this phased policy development research from Bangladesh to Ghana which eventually led to the current established model for Ghana’s community-based primary health care system, termed CHPS, and provided evidence that its service operations were capable of reducing mortality and fertility in a rural traditional and impoverished setting. This work, initially located in three communities, improved access to family planning and primary health care across rural Ghana. His inspired initiatives further led to transferring Ghana’s CHPS development strategy to several countries including Ethiopia, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Kenya, and Tanzania.
Professor Phillips has played instrumental roles in the founding of international research networks for promoting research dissemination and policy development including i) The International Committee for Applied Research on Population, ii) The INDEPTH Network (a program for disseminating and supporting demographic surveillance systems in 50 sites in Africa, Asia, and Central America), iii) The WHO ExpandNet initiative (for developing the science of scaling-up), and finally iv) INTACT (a network for social science addressed to FGM abandonment).
His commitment to supporting the careers of demographers and public health professionals in Africa and Asia is phenomenal. His passion for improving population and health policies and preserving long term partnerships is revealed in the continuous support and mentorship he renders to upcoming researchers. Even in his retirement, he still finds time to mentor young and upcoming researchers from developing countries. Key members of ASOLI are proud beneficiaries of this kindness.
His embedded science approach has led to the institutionalization of demographic research in the Ghana Health Service through decades of consistent collaboration. Beginning with the modernization of demographic surveillance operations of the Matlab field station of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Bangladesh, Professor Phillips transferred this capability to the Navrongo Health Research Center in Ghana and institutionalized demographic surveillance system operations at sites worldwide through INDEPTH. His consistent mission, at which he has succeeded, has been to enlarge the population health researchers from all over the world, embed research into systems operations, and improve livelihoods across the world.
ASOLI wishes to congratulate –Professor Jim Phillips for this well-deserved honour!
Ms. Esther Azasi, a lead member of Alliance for Social-Innovation and Livelihood Improvement (ASOLI) presented her research at the Sixth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research. Ms. Azasi who is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute for Global Health and Development (IGHD) at the University of Edinburgh made her presentation titled “CHPS Effectiveness in Northern Region of Ghana: An Assessment of Government Stewardship. Her study seeks to identify strategies for strengthening systems resilience in the fragile context of Northern Ghana. Key among her findings is the lack of essential drugs, equipment and logistics owing to challenges in funding and delays in reimbursements from the national health insurance authority. She intimates that effective community and stakeholder advocacy could improve Government commitment to improving community-based healthcare in Ghana. Her research is being conducted in close collaboration with Prof. Alastair Ager of IGHD at the University of Edinburgh; Dr. Koku Awoonor Williams of the Ghana Health Service; Prof. Ayaga Bawah of the University of Ghana’s Regional Institute for Population Studies and Professor Emeritus James F. Phillips of Columbia University-USA. This year’s Global Symposium for Health Systems Research conference which is on theme “Re-imagining health systems for better health and social justice” was held via a virtual platform. Over 2,000 policy-makers, practitioners and researchers from more than 100 countries participated in the conference. Alliance for Social-innovation and Livelihood Improvement (ASOLI) is a not-for-profit NGO based in Ghana that works to improve the lives of deprived communities through social innovations, implementation research and community empowerment programmes. Ms. Azasi is a lead member of ASOLI and her research is in line with ASOLI’s strategic goals of contributing to evidence generation and dissemination for systems strengthening and livelihood improvement.