The population of Ghana has exploded over the past couple decades, which has dramatically reduced the poverty rate throughout this West African country. Between 1991 and 2013, the poverty rate plummeted from 37.6 percent to 9.6 percent. However, poverty is still considered a big issue, which has led to the March for Science to end poverty in Ghana.
What was the March for Science?
In order to combat the issue of poverty in their country, Ghanaian scientists and science-loving Ghanaians stepped out on Saturday, April 14th, 2018 to protest the lack of funding for science and technology research. The march was led by scientists from Alliance for Science Ghana, and the marchers participated in an 8k walk on the streets of their capital, Accra, and later they came together for a forum to talk about the role of science in national development.
What was the Main Objective for this March?
The theme for this march was “Building Ghana: Let’s end environmental destruction and poverty through science informed actions.” The reason for theme being that Ghanaians wanted to get the point across that poverty in Ghana will not be abolished without science and technology research funding becoming a priority to governmental leaders. This march was also needed in order to inform the greater public about the fact that there is a direct link between protecting the environment from ruin and eliminating poverty.
It is evident that the lack of precedence science and technology in Ghana holds in the government directly impacts poverty in this country. One of the aims of the Accra March for Science is to bring this issue to the attention of government officials.
What is Science and Technology Research Like in Ghana Today?
Currently, funding for scientific research in Ghana is at a scarce 0.2 percent per year. In order for this country to try and get out of its poverty cycle, this amount must increase to 3.5 percent every year, as is the United Nation’s goal. The United Nations has said that increased investment in science and technology is a crucial aspect of breaking the cycle of poverty, and Ghana needs to listen and use this advice to its advantage.
How Does This Lack of Research Funding Affect Farmers?
There are scientific improvements being made in Ghana with the limited amount of funding that is provided, but this technology often does not reach farmers because of the inadequate extension services and the lack of investments in agriculture and regulatory procedures. Such issues need to be fixed. With an increase in funding for science and technology research, there will be means to address the gap between the science and agriculture communities of Ghana.
The government needs to put in the effort of extending support to farmers in order to ensure food security to the Ghanaian people, as well as to help pull Ghana out of poverty. A recent research study at the University of Ghana revealed that more than 80 percent of smallholder farmers are not benefitting from the government’s support.
The hope of this march is that advocating for the increase in funding to science and technology research can also help end poverty in Ghana by way of reaching the Ghanian farmers. This impoverished West African country would benefit enormously if the government paid attention to the areas in need. Science and technology research funding needs to be increased dramatically to both reach farmers and help break the cycle of poverty in this country.
– Megan Maxwell