North Dakota National Guard State Partnership Program Director Lt. Col. Mark McEvers, at the Lignite Coast 2022 Operation Shikpon Wosomo closing ceremony, June 23, 2022
Accra, Ghana – An 18-person team from the US State of North Dakota, including personnel from the state’s Department of Emergency Services and members of the North Dakota National Guard, today completed a two-week training with their Ghanaian colleagues from the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO). The training focused on preparing for natural disasters, including earthquakes. Togo and Benin also sent representatives from their national civil protection agencies to observe the exercise, stressing the importance of regional responses to natural disasters. Two major active fault lines, the Coastal Boundary Fault and Akwapim Fault zone intersect in the region.
“Our partnership with Ghana, through NADMO and GAF, is strong, long-term, and benefits both our countries. I’m proud to be here representing North Dakota, while deepening cooperation with our Ghanaian colleagues,” said Major General Alan Dorhmann, who serves as Adjutant General of the North Dakota National Guard as well as Director of the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.
The exercise, known as Lignite Coast 2022 Operation Shikpon Wosomo, built the capacity of NADMO and its collaborating agencies to manage disasters and ensure prompt response to earthquakes and similar natural disasters in the future. The training included traditional classroom teaching and planning, as well as a full-scale simulation exercise to test local capabilities and identify areas for improvement. Ghanaian agencies including Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana Armed Forces (48 Engineers Regiment), National Ambulance Service, Ghana Police Service, National Communications Authority, Ghana Health Service, the Geological Survey Authority, and the Volta River Authority participated in the two-week event .
The North Dakota National Guard and Ghanaian counterparts have been working together through the US State Partnership Program since 2004. The State Partnership Program helps build collaborative relationships between individual US states and partner countries in support of US foreign policy goals.
The North Dakota National Guard’s cooperation with the Ghana Armed Forces and NADMO is one part of the United States’ robust security cooperation with Ghana. Through joint exercises like African Lion that is taking place now in Morocco and Ghana, US and Ghanaian forces train together to be better prepared for the future. A joint training for US and Ghanaian military medical professionals at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra also concludes today. Additionally, programs like the Security Forces Assistance Brigade team, which is currently working with Ghana Armed Forces colleagues in Tamale, also help share best practices, provide training, and build local capacity to respond to security threats.