Press Release on Inclusion and Participation of the Socially Excluded Groups in Local Governance - GLOWA
Written by | 28 August 2017 | Published in blog

The Global Action for Women Empowerment (GLOWA), a rural–urban integrated NGO and her project implementing partners Voice of People with Disability (VOICE Ghana) and Ausat Compassionate World have concluded actions on their 11-month social inclusion and accountability project aimed at integrating socially excluded women, persons with disabilities (PWDs) and youth in local governance through increased awareness of their civic rights and responsibilities and demand for government pro-poor services in North and South Dayi Districts of the Volta region.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GLOWA - Madam Enyonam C. Kugbeadzor, hinted at the last General Assembly sessions of the two beneficiary District Assemblies (DAs) that, the first phase of the project sponsored by STAR Ghana (Strengthening Transparency, Accountability and Responsiveness in Ghana) with its donor agencies namely UKaid (DFID), DANIDA, USAID And European Union was ending by 12th December 2014.
She said, the project on one hand positively engaged the duty bearers of the two DAs including the District Chief Executives, Planning officers and Coordinators of government pro-poor packages such as LESDEP, MASLOC, GYEEDA and Disability Fund (2% DACF) on the need for the DAs to create information pack on the government pro-poor packages and make them available to the public especially the aforementioned socially excluded groups; and the need to capture felt and prioritized development needs of the deprived and hard-to-reach groups and communities into the Medium term Development Plans (MTDPs) of the District Assemblies. The 6 hard to reach project beneficiary communities (Agordeke, Tsyinu, Tsorxor, Tsyome-Sabadu, Awate-Agame and Tsyokpokofe) were also sensitized on the availability of government pro- poor packages such as LESDEP, Disability Fund MASLOC and GYEEDA and empowered to hold their duty bearers especially the Assembly members accountable and demand for access to some of these facilities.
Project Achievements:

As a result of this project intervention, there has been increase in knowledge among our primary beneficiary groups (women, PWDs and youth). For instance, an assessment conducted by GLOWA using the
Community Scorecards revealed an increase in the knowledge and awareness of how to engage the duty bearers to access these facilities from a baseline of 19% to 84.8% in the North Dayi District; while in the South Dayi District, there is an increase in the knowledge and awareness from 0% to 76.3%. The project also facilitated a total of 112 applications from the marginalized groups (for available government pro-poor packages) and submitted them to the respective District Assemblies. The DAs on their part did not only indicate their willingness to support but also written a commitment letter to GLOWA indicating their readiness to work with the groups by way of ensuring they also benefit from the pro-poor packages once they are available at the District Assemblies.
At time of preparing this statement, 2 of the applicants (PWDs students from hard to reach communities have this time received part of the 2% DACF) to pay their school fees in the North Dayi District. One more of PWD is being processed to be sponsored for skills training in 'shoe making' with another PWD at Vakpo while 2 dumb and blind are to be sponsored by the same North Dayi DA to attend their special schools in Hohoe and Akropong respectively.
To ensure sustainability of this initiative, the project recruited, trained and empowered 36 Community Champions who are disseminating information on inclusive governance, how to access government pro

poor packages. They are fronting to make follow up phone calls and physical contacts to their respective Assemblies to check on the status of their groups' applications.
The empowered women, PWDs, youth and entire beneficiary communities are now demanding accountability from their Assembly members by inviting them to community meetings to take their inputs to the General Assembly meetings and demanding feedback on key decisions of the Assemblies.
The GLOWA facilitated Interface meetings has actually bridged the gap between the duty bearers of the DAs and the community members; as the 2 DCEs Hon. Stephen Timinca (NDDA) and Hon. Kafui Semenu Bekui (SDDA) and their Coordinating Directors have personally interacted (face-to-face) with the mobilized PWDs, women and youth groups. The community Champions now physically know and are approaching their DCEs, DCDs, District Development Planning Officers, Coordinators of GYEEDA, LESDEP and 2% DACF to share their concerns and demanding their fair share of the districts 'cake'. "
Nothing is now hidden to the Community Champions on available government pro-poor packages and ways of accessing them" (by Assemblywoman from Tsorxor)
The 2 District Assemblies transparently have announced to the marginalized groups openly how much the Assemblies have received by way of Disability Fund. It is gratifying to hear from the District Coordinating Director - Mr. David Kanyi and the District Social Welfare Director - Rev. Mrs. Emma Adom of South Dayi said, (at the GLOWA facilitated Interface meeting that), instead of supporting individuals only under Disability Fund, the Assembly have resolved to also support self help disability groups by way of practical skills acquisition (dress making, hair dressing) and income generating ventures (animal husbandry, beads making and snail farming).
Additionally, North Dayi DA has also indicated their willingness to support the formation of 20 Cooperative groups in the district for future support.
The intervention has also increased the confidence level of the PWDs and the marginalized to speak in public and also approach their duty bearers without fear or panic.
The 36 trained empowered Community Champions now serve as Resource Persons for the communities they represent; and are championing advocacy agenda of the mobilized and marginalized groups and communities.

Changes the project brought about in local government and traditional authorities processes, decisions or actions:
As result of the implementation of our project, the North and South Dayi District Assemblies have shown commitment to mainstream development issues of the marginalized groups into the Districts' MTDP. This was done though their quarterly commitment letters to GLOWA on what they can do. As a result,
 the representatives of the PWDs, women and the youth are now being invited to attend General Assembly meetings in the North and South Dayi Districts.
 the North Dayi DA is now considering to periodically hold their General Assembly meetings at the community level instead of the usual district capital (Anfoega). This, the DCE - Hon Stephen Timinca said, would provide the opportunity and space for traditional authorities and community members to experience how critical issues are debated upon and decisions are taking to bind the citizens in the District.
 the DCE of NDDA indicated his commitment to support aspirant women in the next District level elections to increase women's representation from the current 4 to at least 10 in the Assembly.

Even though the statement may sound political, the value being highlighted here is the fact that the DCE is concerned about the poor representation of women in the North Dayi Assembly currently.
The Traditional Authorities of the beneficiary communities were directly involved in the project. The cooperation enjoyed from the communities the gatekeepers (chiefs, elders and queen mothers) enabled us worked assiduously in achieving the above mentioned project results.
Private Sector Engagement:
GLOWA is also planning to identify and engage some private sector businesses such as GHACEM, UNILIVER, Communication networks: MTN, Tigo, GLO and financial institutions (banks), on how they can support our mobilized marginalized groups in the 6 project communities through their cooperate responsibility quota.
The project team has started discussions with the community champions to lead their groups in discussing alternative areas/ institutions they can approach for support based on their needs. This will serve as stop gap where some of the government pro-poor packages like GYEEDA are currently under restructuring; and LESDEP is also recouping loans and packages already disbursed.
Project Monitoring:
During the monitoring visit of the lead donor agency - Department for International Development (DFID Ghana) to GLOWA ISELG project beneficiaries in the Tsoxor and Agordeke communities and the North and South Dayi DAs, (on 2nd December 2014) the Senior Program Officer Mrs. Rita Tetteh indicated that, with what she has seen and heard from the women, PWDs, youth and the Assembly members, she was convinced that GLOWA has actually taught them how to 'fish'; shown them where the 'fish' is and what they can do to access and benefit from the fish. "This is what is called 'empowerment' of the rural people" she added.
Mrs. Rita Tetteh also commended the North and South Dayi District Assembly officials for embracing the inclusion of the socially excluded project and their willingness and commitment to support the socially excluded women, PWDs and youth for the development of their districts.
To conclude, the CEO of GLOWA stressed that, the hard won good rapport and cordial relationship that exists between the officials of the two District Assemblies and GLOWA project team is worth mentioning and emulating for other districts. It served as a spring board upon which the project strived and achieved its intended results. "The people now understand inclusion and participation not just to mean participating in Assembly meetings or demanding for their rights but also meaning, their responsibility to take good care of whatever they benefit from government for their self reliance and community development".
GLOWA and partners have confidence in the 2 project beneficiary District Assemblies that, the officials and the empowered communities would water the seeds that the project has sown so that we can maximize the gains.
Released on 9th December, 2014 by GLOWA


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