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Though parts of Ghana have seen economic progress in recent years, poverty issues remain pervasive — especially in the hot, dry north. Regional disparities create crushing inequality, leaving many families in the north without access to some of life’s most basic essentials.
Located in Ghana’s Upper West Region, the Diocese of Wa has some of the highest poverty rates in the nation. Most families in the region rely on agriculture to provide at least a portion of their income, but the extremely dry climate is not suitable for cash crops such as cocoa. In fact, many households struggle to find any safe water to meet their daily needs. Without easy access to water, quality schools and other opportunities, many families in remote northern communities fear for the future of their children.
Thankfully, local Catholic leaders are working to address these issues and shine the light of Christ in Ghana’s north!
*Source: Ghana Poverty Mapping Report, 2015
Population: 32,372,889 (July 2021 est.)
GDP — per capita (PPP): $5,300 (2020 est.)
Literacy rate: 79% (95.5% in U.S.)
Infant mortality: 33.33 deaths/1,000 live births (7.5 in U.S.)
Population below poverty line: 23.4% (2019 est.; 15.1% in U.S.)
Primary religions: Protestant 46.7%; Muslim 17.6%; Catholic 13.1%
In Tambaare, Ghana, Jusaan Vida Tuoban looks for water about four times a day. Many communities in the Diocese of Wa do not have easy access to clean water and other basic infrastructure.
Colonized by England until 1957, Ghana was the first sub-Saharan African country to achieve independence. For decades, sound management allowed the country to strengthen its economy. In recent years, however, poverty reduction has slowed and regional inequalities remain severe.
Much of Ghana’s poverty is concentrated in the nation’s northern regions (United Nations). The north is the hottest, driest part of the country, and while most families rely on agriculture for nutrition and income, environmental factors prevent them from growing profitable crops such as cocoa (World Bank). Climate conditions become even more challenging between January and March, when dry, dusty harmattan winds blow in from the Sahara desert in the northeast.
Due in part to the harsh climate, much of the north remains underdeveloped. Families often lack access to infrastructure such as clean water, sanitation, electricity, decent roads and quality schools. Without fertile farmland, large markets or industrial centers, many households struggle to earn a sustainable living. Overall, Ghana’s north is characterized by lower school enrollment, higher illiteracy and fewer opportunities — especially for women (CIA World Factbook). Lack of access breeds discouragement and keeps families locked in poverty.
Parishioners receive Holy Communion at Mass in Babile, Ghana. Catholic leaders in the Diocese of Wa are working to share the hope of Christ in struggling communities.
In Ghana’s Upper West Region — the region with the highest poverty incidence — local Catholic leaders are committed to sharing Christ’s compassion with struggling families. Cross Catholic Outreach is partnering with the Diocese of Wa to alleviate the burden on families in northern Ghana by funding clean water wells, installing sanitation blocks, and constructing safe schools and other vital facilities.
Working together as the Church, we can improve the infrastructure in some of Ghana’s poorest communities. Your compassion can build a brighter future, equipping the Diocese of Wa with the resources it needs to strengthen poor families. Give generously to provide essentials such as clean water, safe schools and the life-transforming love of Christ!
The Diocese of Wa has 25 parishes and works to share God’s love through both evangelism and tangible works of mercy. Since 2019, we have helped the diocese install four hand-pump wells, one mechanized well and six sanitation blocks. With your support, we can collaborate with this devoted diocese to reach even more families with God’s love.
Without safe water, many families in the Diocese of Wa spend hours searching for something to drink. Often, they end up collecting water from shallow, hand-dug wells or muddy rivers that are contaminated with waterborne diseases. To address this issue, Cross Catholic Outreach is working with the Diocese of Wa to install four clean wells, which will quench the thirst of 2,847 people. We also want to build eight sanitation blocks to prevent contamination of the water supply and restore dignity to families.
Education can unlock opportunities and set children on a path free from poverty — but without safe schools, children struggle to learn in broken-down buildings that cannot keep out the rain. Many students become so discouraged that they eventually drop out altogether. With help from friends like you, Cross Catholic Outreach and the Diocese of Wa can build one 3-classroom kindergarten and two 3-classroom junior high schools. We can also repair and furnish a six-classroom primary school that has suffered severe storm damage.
In the Diocese of Wa, many parishes hold worship gatherings in any building they can find — no matter how badly deteriorated. By constructing a multipurpose building in Babile, Ghana, we can give Catholics a safe place to attend Mass and other spiritual formation activities. This gift will encourage hearts to worship and provide a lasting reminder of our enduring hope in Christ!
Many Ghanaian families are struggling to maintain hope as they drink contaminated water and send their children to school in unsafe, dilapidated buildings. Your generosity can empower the Diocese of Wa to quench thirst, strengthen faith in Christ, and build a brighter future in Ghana’s north.
Young people in Ghana often walk miles in search of something to drink. Your generosity can provide children with clean water, Catholic education and the enduring hope of Christ!
Giving monthly is a small way to have a big impact. Your regular support empowers our ministry to respond to urgent needs and fulfill our long-term projects across the world.
Is Ghana a rich or poor country?
Ghana is rich in natural resources, and for decades, the country made significant progress in reducing poverty. In recent years, however, poverty reduction has slowed, and real GDP per capita remains relatively low at $5,300. Poverty remains particularly severe in the country’s northern region.
What percentage of Ghana is in poverty?
About 23.4% of Ghana’s entire population lives in poverty — nearly one-quarter of the nation. The poverty rate is significantly higher in the north, where much of Ghana’s poverty is concentrated. In some districts of the Diocese of Wa, up to 92.4% of the people live in poverty.
Why is Ghana in poverty?
In recent years, loose fiscal policy, high national debt and inflation have slowed poverty reduction in Ghana. Poverty remains particularly pervasive in Ghana’s north due to frequent droughts, dusty winds and periods of flooding that damage crops (families’ main source of income). Many remote, rural communities in the north also lack access to basic infrastructure such as clean water, electricity, quality schools and income-generating opportunities.
How can I help fight poverty in Ghana?
Local Catholic leaders are working to meet the most urgent needs of the poor — and they are asking for your help! Your generous giving can transform lives by providing improved access to essentials such as clean water, quality education and Catholic spiritual formation. Working together, we can show suffering families that God hears their prayers and can meet their needs through his Church.
Cross Catholic Outreach’s staff prays daily for friends of the ministry. Click below to submit your specific prayer intentions.
Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2022, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.