In February this year, the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and the French Embassy in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Public Sector Reform Secretariat called for proposals from Civil Society Organizations.
The proposals were for programmes that will encourage participation in governance and increase citizens’ engagement with national and local authorities to improve governance in the country. The call is under Component 3 of the France-Ghana cooperation agreement to ‘Strengthen Linkages between Government, Civil Society and Citizens.
AFES-Ghana; an Advocacy-oriented, Development-Facilitator, Youth-led Non-profit Organization in collaboration with the Eastern regional branch of the Voices of Youth Coalition applied and won a 20,000 Euro grant to implement the above mentioned project in the Upper Manya-Krobo District. The project was officially launched on the 5th May, 2015.
CHALLENGES TO BE ADDRESSED BY THE PROJECT:
- Poor institutionalization of democratic effects for sustainable governance due to uncoordinated approaches.
- Ghana is on ‘public right to object’ when placed on Weideman and Ferrers participation ladder of 1993. There is need to improve Civic participation by evoking constitutional clauses including Act 240 2(c) and Act 41 (g) to achieve open and participatory development.
- Insensitivity of District development plans to the aspirations and opportunities for local level development initiatives.
- Malfunctioning of District Assembly substructures due to inadequate resources leading to a huge communication crack.
PROJECT BENEFICIARIES AND SCOPE
Project will work with 20 communities cutting across all six (6) Area Councils in the District and expected to directly reach out to 1500 community members over 12-month duration (April 2015-April 2016. In the medium to long term, project is expected to affect the lives of about 20,000 people in the District.
- To create a platform that enable young people especially to use their voices to engage local authorities to become more accountable and responsive to local needs.
- To improve leadership qualities and abilities of Area council and Unit committee executives through active learning approaches.
- To facilitate an improved and sustainable social service delivery system in which citizens and local government actors are working closely together in open and healthy manner.
ACTIVITIES OUTLINED TO ACHIEVE THE OBJECTIVES
- Project launch/Document acquisition (DA, DHMT/DEO annual action plans/budgets)
- Community animation and mobilization
- Internal Resources Workshop
- Community-wide meetings
- District Assembly (DA) Fee-fixing consultation
- Asesewa Youth hearing
- 2-day non-residential workshop for DEFAT/YCJs
- District Assembly (DA) open day
- District Assembly Public budget hearing
- Asesewa Youth dialogue with (DCE) and (MP)
- Cluster-based training for Assembly Persons (APs)/Unit Committees (UCs)/youth
- Community knowledge exchange visitations
- Young people shall be empowered to actively participate in local governance issues.
- District Assembly Substructures shall also be empowered to become functional and provide leadership that is worthwhile to drive community change.
- Improved trust between citizens and local government actors through healthy and open interactions.
- Communities continue to pursue their Vision Plans -‘Project citizen’ groups dubbed District Exchange-Facilitator and Advocacy Team (DEFAT) and Youth Citizen Journalists (YCJs) institutionalized and expected to pursue project best practices after project exit.
- Communities continue to implement their Internal Resource Schemes (IRSs).
- Communities continue to use their Notice Centers (CNCs)/ beat gong-gong to disseminate local information.
- Assembly Persons’ & MP community feedback template institutionalized.