Gonjas performing the Damba dance at the forecourt of Sagnari Naa Palace

It was all colorful and a moment of excitement at the forecourt of the Sagnarigu Chief palace in the northern region last Tuesday (26th March, 2024) when various ethnic groups in the area took turns to display their rich and unique cultural dances before the World Bank Country Director to Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Robert Taliercio O’Brien and his delegation.

The inter-cultural durbar was held to enhance social cohesion and promote cultural tolerance among the people in order to make the community resilient in the wake of threats of inter-ethnic conflicts and activities of extremist groups in Ghana’s neighboring countries in the Sahel.  

The ethnic groups that participated in the festival included, Dagombas, Gonjas, Fulbes, Mossi, and Hausa among others.  

The Sagnarigu Municipal Chief Executive, Mohammed Ahmed Yakubu, in his welcome remarks lauded the Akufo-Addo government for the SOCO initiative which is being funded by the World Bank with the objective to create development and livelihood opportunities for the people in the northern and Oti regions.

“This project, also seeks to prevent the spread of conflicts from the Sahel regions into Ghana as well as reduce beneficiary regions climate change vulnerabilities” he added.

“Today’s function can therefore be described as a celebration of such laudable initiative. It will also afford the combined team from the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development and the World Bank Group the opportunity to learn at firsthand the positive impact this initiative is making in the lives of beneficiary communities.

Mr. Yakubu continued, “Whilst at that, the team will also experience the culture of the people which will be expressed in various performances we are about to witness.”     

The World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Robert Taliercio O’Brien together with other officials and the SOCO Technical Implementation Mission earlier toured the Sagnarigu municipality to monitor the progress of work on some infrastructure projects done in the area.

The delegation also interacted with the Shishegu Soap Makers group which was selected for support from the SOCO initiative after needs assessment by the Community Project Implementation Committee.

The group received capacity building training as well as raw materials and startup kits which has facilitated the expansion of their production capacity and increasing their profits.

Meanwhile, the World Bank officials led by the Country Director to Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, paid a working visit to the Northern region to monitor and obtain firsthand information on the progress of implementation of the Gulf of Guinea Northern Regions Social Cohesion (SOCO) project.

Mr. Robert Taliercio O’Brien also held discussions with the Northern Regional Minister, Shani Alhassan Shaibu, at the Regional Coordinating Council on the progress of work.