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Accra receives 55,000 Euro cultural grant

The city of Accra has received a grant of 55,000 Euros through the ‘Agenda 21 for Culture’ programme of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) located in Spain. Presented to the Mayor of Accra at a symbolic and cultural ceremony at the Usher Fort by the Spanish Ambassador, Olga Cabarga Gomez, the grant was […]

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The city of Accra has received a grant of 55,000 Euros through the ‘Agenda 21 for Culture’ programme of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) located in Spain. Presented to the Mayor of Accra at a symbolic and cultural ceremony at the Usher Fort by the Spanish Ambassador, Olga Cabarga Gomez, the grant was applied for by the Accra Culture and Art Network (AccraCAN) on behalf of the city of Accra.

The aim of AccraCAN is to infuse into the neighbourhoods of Ghana’s capital: arts and cultural activities that improve exposure to, understanding of and respect for diverse national and international cultural heritages; and to support arts activities that engage the community.  To that regard, it was announced at the culture ceremony at the Usher Fort last Thursday, March 10 that part of the grant would go into refurbishing the Usher Fort and restoring it into a museum that would preserve the history and culture of the people of the Accra.

The 55,000 Euro grant is also expected to be used to fulfil a number of mandates including developing programmes and tools to help turn Accra into a Cultural Capital, a key goal of AccraCAN, which has already begun a cultural mapping project that seeks to identify, collect, record, analyze and synthesise information about the cultural resources, networks, links and patterns of usage of communities and spaces in the capital. It will also be used to build capacity in training for cultural managers in civil society as well as for the municipality.

In 2010, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) created Fund for Local Cultural Governance which obtained the support of the Spanish Development Corporation Agency (AECID). UCLG made a call for proposals and opened it to projects led by cities and local governments, direct or indirect members of UCLG, in countries in Africa, Ibero-America and the Mediterranean. The call enjoyed a wide impact with 78 expressions of interest, 26 projects submitted and 11 winning projects. Accra was selected among the 11 that made the 2011 register.

The Mayor of Accra, Alfred Vanderpuije highlighted the similarities between UCLG’s ‘Agenda 21 for Culture’ programme and Accra Millennium Project of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly. He commented: “Since 2009, we have taken concrete steps to realize the changes envisaged in our project document. We have introduced new bylaws to strengthen our competence in sanitation, urban planning, transportation and other areas of metropolitan administration.”

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He believes that in order for Accra to become a City of Culture, there is a need to safeguard its historical and cultural heritage – shared vision of AccraCAN and the Accra Millennium Project. He adds, “We begun the process with a pilot programme in Ga Mashie to identify and list structures for perseveration and rehabilitation. This is under program entitled ‘The Housing Improvement and Rehabilitation project’”.

The news of the grant was well received by the gathering at the Usher Fort who also enjoyed a display of rich Ga traditions in music and performances. The guests also enjoyed a photo and art exhibition inside the Usher Fort.

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