Election 2016: STAR grant partners reflect on lessons learnt
Written by | 05 April 2015 | Published in blog

STAR-Ghana’s first call for grant proposals supported initiatives promoting peaceful, credible, issues-based and inclusive presidential and parliamentary elections for Ghana in 2016. Out of the 219 organisations that responded to the call, 35 were awarded grants totalling $US2,216,167.

At an end of project event in March 2017, STAR-Ghana’s Election 2016 grant partners were asked what their biggest achievements had been. Here are some of their stories.

Inclusion

Abantu for Development and the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations’ (GFD) worked to make the election accessible to persons with disabilities, seeking to have their rights enshrined in law and included in major political party manifestos. Abantu produced a Gender Performance Scorecard to measure parties’ commitment to gender equality.

GFD deployed persons with disabilities to 655 voting centres across the country as election observers, and trained 5,000 blind and partially-sighted people to use a tactile voting system. For the first time, electoral process education materials were available in Braille, while many political campaign messages were interpreted in sign language.

Socioserve Ghana gave voice to socially excluded groups like persons with disabilities, young people and Fulani groups. Hard to reach communities, previously left out of the electoral discourse, had the opportunity to host political party leaders for the first time. USCOND enhanced engagement between election candidates and young people, women and persons with disabilities informing their choices. For many, this was the first time they had directly heard responses from candidates.

The Mini-Max Voter Education 2016 project of Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Program (SILDEP) and TEERE increased voter turnout and reduced rejected votes. The project ensured the inclusion of people with disabilities as temporary Electoral Commission officials and that those with disabilities, the visually impaired, the elderly and infirm were assisted to vote.

Global Action for Women Empowerment (GLOWA) aimed for a 20% increase in the participation of socially excluded groups, particularly women, in the elections and a 50% reduction in spoilt ballots in 40 hard-to-reach communities.

GLOWA founder Nana Enyonan Kugbadzor 2

TRADEAID Integrated enhanced citizens’ participation in five constituencies of the Upper East region. Its project contributed to the achievement of a peaceful, free and fair nonviolent vote, the reduction of rejected ballot papers and an increase in voter turnout in some areas.

Peace

The Forum for Actions on Inclusion, Transparency and Harmony (FAITH) project of the National Catholic Secretariat reached more than nine million citizens with peace messages through community radio and in places of worship, while an active interfaith platform working for peace was sustained throughout.

The Musicians’ Union of Ghana used music as a tool for national cohesion. The union, which has 4,200 members, held peace walks, secured radio airplay for peace songs on stations nationwide and held three concerts, one live on GTV on the eve of the elections, reaching a national audience.

The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG)’s Peaceful Elections for Credible Outcomes in Ghana (PECOG) project sought to strengthen political and security conditions to ensure peaceful elections, and uphold public trust and confidence in the electoral process, its institutions and credible outcomes.

The African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) aimed to reduce intimidation and brutality by security forces by providing training sessions and manuals for police, security agencies and media.

STAR-Ghana partner Millennium Child Support Group increased the understanding among young people in slum communities of the importance of peace, security and stability. A local committee was set up to monitor flashpoints and report violence among people being influenced by politicians.

The Bawku East Women's Development Association’s goal was credible and peaceful elections in the Bawku Traditional Area. BEWDA set out to prevent ethnic conflicts influenced by political party activities, built the capacity of the Bawku Inter-Ethnic Peace Committee (BIEPC) and improved its collaboration with security agencies, political parties, religious groups, traditional authorities, young people, women and the media.

The Peaceful and Credible Election (PeaCE) project from Centre for Active Learning and Integrated Development (CALID) aimed to increase voting rights and youth confidence in the registration and voting process. There were also almost no recorded cases of violent disagreements and destruction of property in the four target districts.

Events management and theatre production company Globe Productions equipped about 12,000 people with anger management skills in five major cities to become agents of nonviolence in their communities.

Royals Health Organisation (ROHEO) increased equal participation, peaceful elections, acceptance of results, and tolerance of opposition among voters in vulnerable communities in the Northern Belt of the Volta Region. The election process was violence-free, fair and credible in project areas.

Media

The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation’s Ghana Wins Election 2016 project kept the electorate informed on key processes and aimed to reduce incidences of rejected ballots. The public broadcaster said the elimination of ‘snatched ballot boxes’ was one of its project’s main achievements.

GBC’s STAR-Ghana Presidential Encounters 2016 project kept voters up to date on the issues on which presidential candidates campaigned. Similarly, the Institute of Economic Affairs’ presidential/vice-presidential debates and evening encounters – The Seventh Milestone project – promoted issue-based campaigning and citizen participation and provided an accountability platform.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is an influential media development and freedom of expression advocacy organisation in West Africa. Through its STAR-Ghana grant, MFWA promoted decent language and issues-based campaigning during the election, aiming to reduce hate speech and other inciting campaign messages. Significant remedial measures were adopted by some radio stations when they were cited in MFWA reports to reduce or eliminate indecent expressions on air. Use of inappropriate language about the election reportedly fell by 75% from April to December 2016 on 70 radio stations across the country.

The National Media Commission’s project aimed to enhance media regulation in the regions and establish mechanisms for settling complaints for or against the media. The commission reported an increased sense of awareness among citizens that freedom of expression should be balanced with rules securing the right to privacy, public order and public morality.

Multimedia Group Limited’s People, Policy & Power project promoted issue-based and responsible media coverage. There was increased media coverage of gender and social inclusion issues in election reporting and more opportunities for ordinary people to engage the media and get their voices heard through the ‘Joy Ballot Box’.

Blogging Ghana’s Ghana Decides 2.0: The Voices campaign promoted the voices of young and marginalised people online. Ghana’s biggest organisation of bloggers and social media enthusiasts provided a social media platform for comprehensive news coverage, information and discussion for audiences in Ghana and beyond. It also trained the Ghana Police Service to use social media to keep the peace during the poll.

Citi 97.3FM supported citizens to be better engaged with their potential elected leaders by collaborating with other organisations to hold parliamentary debates, while the Lanbuuri project of Upper West region radio station W93.5FM ensured the inclusion and participation of marginalised young people.

Within its STAR-Ghana project, Foundation for Sustainable Development in Africa-Ghana produced social media content on the theme ‘Election is no war’, raising awareness about the negative impact of electoral violence and positive economic outcomes of peaceful elections.

Independent television channel TV3 Ghana featured 24 female parliamentary and presidential candidates in televised debates and through news reporting, enabling them outline to their policy preferences to constituents – ten won or retained their seats in the elections.

Good governance

Financial Accountability and Transparency Africa (FAT-AFRICA) enhanced political parties’ transparency and accountability to citizens by disclosing sources of campaign funds and expenditure. FAT-Africa organised training on political party financing for 80 media professionals and produced a report on best practices.

ODEKRO – which informs and empowers Ghanaian citizens on the work of parliament through open data analysis – used STAR-Ghana's funding to produce a report on the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic of Ghana, deepening public awareness of the role of parliamentarians and parliament and providing a verifiable ‘baseline’ for citizens to assess their future performance.

NORSAAC, an organisation committed to empowering women and young people in Ghana’s northern region, received STAR-Ghana funding for its Strengthening Community-led initiatives for Peaceful and credible Elections (SCOPE) project. The Northern Regional Electoral Commission adopted SCOPE’s party free ballot booklets, using them to sensitise first time voters on how to mark ballots correctly.

Party Free Mock Ballot Book Norsaac2

Imani Center for Public Policy and Education and ODEKRO’s STAR-Ghana project addressed the proliferation of new districts and constituencies in Ghana by establishing an objective framework for constituency creation without influence from government.

Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) aimed to reduce vote buying. The project trained women as anti-vote buying/selling educators and vote buying incident monitors. Meanwhile, 32,000 voters received the anti-vote buying education campaign message, that vote buying is an illegal act which is punishable by law. Many of them made verbal commitments never to sell their votes again.           

Ghana Integrity Initiative (Lead), Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), CDD – Ghana and Citizens Movement Against Corruption (CMaC) ran a project called Promoting a more level political playing field: Reducing abuse of incumbency through STAR-Ghana. The project increased media attention leading to President John Mahama’s call for a national debate on incumbency abuse. The organisations developed a monitoring tool to track and document the incumbency abuse and electoral corruption, which can also be used in future elections.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Read 9168 times Last modified on Tuesday, 05 December 2017 12:08

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