The Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion (SOCO) is a $150 million Credit Facility Project secured by the Government of Ghana from the World Bank to undertake 582 infrastructural projects in 48 beneficiary Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies.
The SOCO is a Five  Year project between 2022 and 2027 and a five  Component inter-regional co-operation.
The objective is ‘to improve the regional collaboration, socio-economic and climate resilience of border-zone communities in the target Northern Regions of the Gulf of Guinea Countries exposed to conflict and climate risks’.
In the Savannah Region, North Gonja District is one of four  districts selected to benefit from this unprecedented project. The project has already generated employment for eight  Community Facilitators (CFs) and other specialists.
In addition, the project implementers are to recruit locally unless a particular skill set is not available locally.
Conflicts for decades have aggravated the conditions of the over 16 million people living in Northern Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo. There are further deteriorating conditions due to increased exposure and vulnerability in the face of climate change. These external pressures of conflict, climate change as well as the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic have compounded enduring challenges of poverty, exclusion and weak governance.
In response, Government agencies and development partners have focused on addressing insecurity and extremism in the Sahel without targeting the threat of spillovers. In addition, efforts to improve socio-economic conditions in these Northern Regions have lacked coordination resulting in sporadic outcomes across the Region.
Recognizing these limitations in the face of increasing risks, the Governments of Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo, together with the World Bank have proposed a new Regional Project. Thus, the Gulf of Guinea Northern Region Social Cohesion Project (referred to as SOCO) to;
- Proactively prevent the spread of conflict from the Sahel,
- Reduce vulnerability to climate change,
- Strengthen local institutions,
- Improve economic opportunities and
- Build public trust. This project seeks to promote regional thinking and local actions.
The District Chief Executive, Hon. Adam Eliasu Red Bawa on Thursday, 2nd November, 2023, handed over sites for the construction of;
- Medical laboratory at Mankarigu Health Centre,
- Construction of small town water system at Tari No.2,
- Construction of additional market shades at the Daboya daily market in preparation for a weekly market,
- Completion of Gua CHPs.
One significant thing of notice is the fact that the construction of the additional shades at the Daboya Market will include re-graveling and engineering of the ground to give it a proper slop discharge rain water into the drains. It has been a major concern to inhabitants anytime it rains causing a lot of inconvenience, a solution is finally at the tunnel.
These four  essential projects comes as an integral milestone for the North Gonja District to significantly improve social sector indicators which have been relatively weak; thus, under education, health, child welfare, water, and sanitation. The review of the national and district-specific indicators of this sector as against the baseline indicates significant improvement in the development outcomes of each of the sub-sectors ever since Hon. Adam Eliasu took over office as Chief Executive.
RIDWAN AFESO ABUBAKARI
(AIDE/PRO To Hon Adam Eliasu – DCE NGDA).