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Northern MPs Forum in Tamale
24th – 27th Oct 2007
Theme: Strategies for the development of Northern Ghana
By Dr. Robert Moikowa, Executive Secretary, TEPPIA
Over the last hundred years, we, the Catholic Church in the North, have remained firmly committed to the people of the three northern Regions, not only through preaching the Good News, but also collaborating with government, local authorities, community-based groups and development partners in our strive for the holistic development of the people.
The North has the highest incidence of poverty in the country. Facing up to this challenge is indeed part of the Good News and imperative for us, the Tamale Ecclesiastical Province Pastoral Conference (TEPPCON), representing the five (5) dioceses of the Catholic Church in the three northern regions. A vital partner at the side of TEPPCON in the pursuit of these challenges for the past twenty-five (25) years has been the Catholic Diocese of Muenster in Germany. Our presence in the communities through our socio-economic empowerment projects, educational, health care, provision of potable water and peace-building infrastructures, without religious, ethnic or regional boundaries, over the decades, has made our Church synonymous with development in the North.
So as a committed stakeholder to the development of forty percent (40%) of the country, TEPPCON is obliged to convene this forum as part of reflections on hundred (100) years of the Catholic Church in the North, our nation’s fifty (50) years of independence and the future development of Ghana. The Forum is jointly organised with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), a German Political Foundation (NGO) and with support from the Diocese of Muenster/TEPPIA.
Objectives and Expected outcomes of the Forum
TEPPCON while acknowledging the importance of partnership in development, deems it invaluable to engage the commitment of the elected representatives of the people in the three northern regions, on whose behalf TEPPCON and its partners have been working and will be relentlessly working in the years to come.
At this point in our history, under our current political dispensation, bringing together the representatives of the People (Members of Parliament (MPs)), regional and district authorities as well as traditional authorities, face-to-face with development partners offers a great opportunity to exercise our responsibility for the development of our communities, the North and the nation as a whole. With your invaluable participation, we the Church as the conscience of Society and advocate of the People will endeavour to achieve the following objectives at this Forum:
- To reflect on the historical development of the North and the contribution of the Church.
- To draw attention to the development challenges in the North / disparity with the rest of the country
- To acquaint the MPs, government leaders and development partners with TEPPCON’s past and current development efforts in the North. In addition to the existing Diocesan Development Offices (DDOs), TEPPCON in partnership with the Catholic Diocese of Muenster, Germany, have set up an NGO to redouble development efforts at the Provincial level (the three northern regions put together). This NGO is called the Tamale Ecclesiastical Province Partnership In Action (TEPPIA) and will be duly launched
- To garner the commitment of the political leaders for renewed efforts to embrace the new challenges, as well as reduce poverty and the obstacles to growth in the North to reflect the vision and aspirations of the rest of the country.
It is hoped that this exercise will advance the call for a new development paradigm, renewed development effort and a special development plan for the North: A Marshall Plan for the North?!
TEPPCON is duly grateful to all for honouring this invitation towards the first step in this direction and hopes the message will get to Accra sooner than later. As a major stakeholder in the development of the North, TEPPCON on behalf of other partners in development and more so its people and your electorates, will cherish the challenge and opportunity to be part of the formulation and implementation of such a Plan.
25 September 2007, Tamale