Seven Maltese Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are to implement eight projects in Africa on the strength of about €0.5 million from a development programme by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
The projects vary from a new school to be built in a Kenyan rural zone to the drilling of boreholes to transport water to about 3,000 persons in Ethiopia.
The NGO, Right to Smile, is to train more women in a Kenyan rural zone to grow agricultural products for their own use and to sell to others.
A spokesperson for the group, Damien Attard, said the project began two years ago but a grant of €28,000 from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Promotion of Commerce, the project will now be able to reach more people.
He said the programme will provide skills to enable the growth o agricultural products in a sustainable manner by taking into account the environment and the sustainability of water for irrigation.
Right to Smile is among seven organisations to receive financial help from the Ministry under an aid programme to help Third World countries.
The other organisations to receive €75.000 each are Rotary Club Malta, Mission Fund, KOPIN, the Arnaud Guesry Foundation, the Ghana Mission Foundation and Fondazzjoni Tebgħa.
Nikol Baldacchino from the Ghana Mission Foundation and Dominik Kalweit from KOPIN explained the three projects to be carried out in Ghana, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Baldacchino said investment will be made in a new maternity department and help for children to improve a hospital’s services where in other sectors a cancer and eye diseases programme has already begun.
Dominik Kalweit said, “In Ethiopia we will support an early child care centre providing an additional 100 spaces for children from impoverished communities that otherwise couldn’t afford early care which is crucial for their upbringing. In Kenya, we’re supporting a programme providing life skills training and business skills training in the fashion industry”
These grants are being provided to organisations registered with the Voluntary Work Committee as part of Malta’s commitment that by 2030 it will attain the UN’s Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Minister Carmelo Abela said the subsidy for the selected projects has been increased by 90%. He said the target is aimed at creating greater opportunities for Africans in Africa.
The Minister said the African continent provides project opportunities for NGOs but also for Malta’s commercial community.
Minister Abela said Malta also offers training to central bank employees and firefighters in Africa and to African students who come to Malta to study specific subjects as in the case of biology student, Nana Adoma from Ghana.
She said, “My research topic is the use of plants to remove heavy metal contaminants from soil and water, and Ghana has been having some problems with heavy metals pollution so this is actually a good thing for me because it’s giving me practical knowledge to contribute and solving an issue in my country.”
Meanwhile, it was reported that the Ministry is continuing talks with group representatives and civil society to continue improving development programmes for Africa.