Educational opportunities are limited in the Central Gonja District. Besides the absence of any second cycle institution, the quality of basic education is undermined by inadequate and poor infrastructure, staffing and teaching and learning materials. The district has 18 Nurseries, 57 Primary Schools and 12 Junior Secondary Schools. The government’s capitation grant has swelled enrolment in the district. Total enrolment for all basic schools for the 2005/2006 academic year was 11 ,817 (6,316 boys and 5,502 girls) as against 10,926 (5,902 boys and 5,024 girls) in the previous year. Of the 256 teachers available, 90 (35%) of them are untrained. Regarding infrastructure and staff distribution, the urban areas have both numerical and quality advantage over the smaller and inaccessible communities. The pattern needs to be changed to ensure a better spread of the benefits of education across the district. Health
The district has limited health infrastructure and personnel. Health facilities include Health Centres at Buipe and Mpaha and Health Posts at Yapei and Kusawgu. There are also rural Clinics at Sankpala and Chama. Health personnel are limited to two Medical Assistants, seven midwives, nine nurses and five Community Health Nurse. The top ten ailments are malaria, diarrhea, UTRI, skin diseases, pneumonia, typhoid, Kwashiorkor, anemia, intestinal worms, and guinea-worm. HIV/AIDS cases are also prevalent and on the increase. The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has taken off in the district with over 30% of the people joining the scheme. The scheme has come as a great relief to many of the people who could not afford direct payment for health services. Traditional Healers and Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) provide complementary services to the orthodox medical care. Transportation
The Central Gonja District is linked to the adjoining districts and regions by a number of major¬secondary roads, the maj or one being the Tamale- Kintampo highway. The district has a total of 31 Okm of motorable roads. Secondary roads include Fufulso-Damongo, Buipe-Damongo and Domeabra¬Mpaha. Most parts of the district particularly the ’overseas’ areas of Tuluwe and Sheri are inaccessible during the peak rainy season and this limits the maximization of the agricultural and other potentials of the area. Passenger transport services are reliable for settlements on the Tamale-Kintampo Highway, but not the rural hinterland. Water transport is also available in the district. The district capital, Buipe is an inland port and serves as the final destination for the Volta Queen which hauls heavy merchandise including cement, petroleum products, cotton, cattle, iron rods etc. to and from the north. Canoes and motorized boats are used by communities along the lake to commute within and outside the district. The unprofessional handling of these facilities usually result in fatalities. Water transport is a great potential but is generally undeveloped. Improving on water transport services will require sensitization and improvements in the construction technology and handling of water transport equipment. Telecommunication
Telecommunication services are limited. There are no postal facilities in the district. Public telephone booths are strategically located in only Buipe and Yapei. Areeba and One-touch cell phone services can also be accessed in most parts of the district but mobile phone ownership is generally very low. The availability of telecommunication services facilitate easy communication virtually from every part of the district. This is good potential for transacting business in the district. Tourism and Recreation
The district abounds in many tourism attractions though these are largely undeveloped. The attractions range from natural features such as the confluence of the White and Black Volta at Kakilito No.4, the Mpaha hills and the clean beaches, to historical such as the Jakpa Grave site and Regalia at Old Buipe and Nyanwuripe respectively. The development of some of the tourist sites has been constrained by poor road infrastructure and the inadequate recreational and accommodation facilities in the district. Water Resources
Potable water is generally scarce in the Central Gonja District. Less than 30% of the population has access to potable water. A few communities depend on boreholes and hand-dug-wells for domestic and other uses. There are limited prospects for development of sustainable boreholes in the district because of its difficult hydrogeological terrain. Other sources of potable water thus need to be explored and developed. Apart from the Buipe and Yapei small scale irrigation schemes which are still in the process of development, there are no irrigation infrastructure to take advantage of the fertile land that abounds in the district. The various rivers and the large valleys are a good potential for irrigation development. Electricity
Electricity is available to a few communities such as Buipe, Yapei, Sankpala and Kusawgu. Extensions have also been made to Ntereso and Nyanwuripe but are yet to be energized. Plans are however advanced to extend the coverage to other major settlements such as Mpaha and Chama. Administration
The district has its administrative capital at Buipe. The District Assembly has a total membership of 30 comprising 22 elected members, 8 government appointees (including the DCE and the MP). Area Council centres are at Buipe, Tuluwe, Yapei, Kusawgu and Mpaha. All the eleven decentralised departments are present but minimally functional due to challenges of inadequate staffing, logistics and office space. These generally hinder or impede effective district governance. Traditional governance complements the secular local government system. The Central Gonja District has five chieftaincy divisions including Buipe, Tuluwe, Kusawgu, Mankpan and Debre. Each of the five divisions plays specific roles in the governance system in their various areas and also in the Gonja traditional structure as a whole. For instance, Kusawgu and Tuluwe are two of the five skin divisions that can ascend to the Paramountcy or Yagbon-wura). The Buipe-wura endorses prospective Yagbon-wura (Gonja overlord) and the Kagbapewura a subdivional chief under the Buipe-wura traditionally enskins the Yagbon-wura. The others are traditional elders of the Yagbon-wura. Support Services
The Central Gonja District Assembly has a number of markets and agriculture farms, but due to the poor nature of roads network in the District, vehicles and humans find it difficult to reach out to some communities. This hinders the smooth development of the District because for one to reach out to those areas means that high transportation cost need to be incurred. There is also low production and subsequently low earning on farm produce. Revenue generation is low because the revenue collectors are not able to get to the communities to collect revenue especially during the rainy seasons.
Some Of The Problems Include:
1. High cost of transportation of foodstuff
2. High cost of spare parts
3. Frequent accidents
4. The poor nature of the road also affects the smooth delivery of foodstuff from the food producing areas to the Urban Centres.Interventions
To solve the above problems, the following measures will be taken to curb the situation.
- Provision of intermediate means of transport such as carts, tricycle, etc.
- Regular reshaping of road networks in the District (reshaping of farm roads to market centers).
- Construction of bridges on some of the rivers in the districts (Tuluwe area).
It is believed that when the above measures are implemented the standard of living of the people in the district would improve, revenue generation will increase and the life span of vehicles will also be increased.Energy
The energy supply system in the District is very poor. Apart from Buipe, Yapei and Sankpala, which are connected to the National Grid, the rest of the towns are not. However the District Assembly is making efforts to link the other towns and villages especially the farming and commercial towns such as Mpaha,Ntereso, Fufulso and Yapei Yipala to the National grid. This when completed will go along way to support the growing agro-industry and service sectors in the District.Science and Technology
On science and technology the district is fortunate to have the WULUGU Project who wishes to establish a vocational school to impart the knowledge of Batik, tye & dye making and soap making to interested people in the district. The target population is the unemployed youth . The District Assembly and other faith-based organizations are prepared to support to make the programme a reality. After the programme, the District hopes that the youth would develop their skills to promote economic growth and social transformation in the District. It is also expected that the service sector especially micro, small and medium scale rural enterprises would be enhanced. Potentials
- Opportunity for micro credit activities
- Support from other NGOs and development partners
- Enough data available in the District on women groups
- High population growth.
Development of Additional Sector to Support Growth
To support the other sectors in developing the District, the District Assembly paid attention to the tourism prospects in the district inspite of its scarce resources. This idea was realized due to the fact that tourism is a fast growing sector that can create employment and increase revenue. It is expected that these activities would increase the income of the people in the district. The Tourism Sector needs to be developed to promote some of the activities of revenue generation to accelerate growth in the District.
Activities to Undertake
- Resource Persons and funding
- Poor road network
- Inadequate guests houses
- Inadequate electricity
- Sensitize the local people on Tourism
- Documenting historical sites
- Researching on the selected tourist sites
- Erection of signpost and interpretation of those areas on the signpost
- Building the capacity of Tourism Committee members and tourism service provides
- Recruiting tourist guides
Information and Communication Technology
On Information and Communication Technology, the District enjoys services of telecommunication ‘One Touch’, Areeba Tigo and line services. This could promote business and employment for some of the youth who are roaming about virtually ‘doing nothing’. It would also improve good governance, accountability and transparency in the District. So far all the major settlement in the District have the services. Again, human resources potential could be developed thereby increasing public sector efficiency and granting citizens access to public services by making them available online as the Government is asking for resources centers to be established in at least one senior secondary school in every District. The District will also have access to internet to be installed in its only senior secondary school at Buipe and to other private service providers. Distance learning could also be strengthened through Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
On this strategy the following would be required:
- Availability of electricity
- Provision of Internet access
- Provision of telephone coverage
- Making ICT a core subject secondary schools
- Promotion of in-service ICT training for teachers
- Encourage small companies in ICT business to invest in the District.