Mabel

Mabel

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

 

Face-to-face interaction between citizens and parliamentary candidates to encourage issue-based voting was a key activity of a STAR-Ghana funded project during the presidential and parliamentary elections.

Socioserve-Ghana’s Promoting Inclusiveness in Elections 2016 project reached five constituencies in the eastern and Volta areas. 

SocioServe group

Meet your Candidate sessions allowed parliamentary candidates to answer questions from constituents, promoting accountability and transparency among political figures.The project recommended that these sessions should be mandatory in future.

The project also brought together political parties, urging them to encourage peaceful actions among their diehard supporters. 

Coming together for peace

For the first time, five chiefs from Tokoroano community came together for a durbar – a traditional Ghanaian welcoming ceremony, involving dancing, music and presentations. The chiefs in this area were known to have had long-running disputes. 

Socioserve-Ghana partnered on the project with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), which sought to revamp the Inter Party Dialogue Committee (IPDC). This committee comprised of the Electoral Commission, police, political parties, civic groups and youth groups. 

The IPDC prioritised community participation and screened election violence films translated into local languages. A Code of Conduct was formally agreed with communities. These actions helped to peacefully defuse potential conflicts between police and citizens, especially in the Afram Plains.

‘We allowed communities to decide what they wanted to do, and suggested what would bring stakeholders together.’ 
An IPDC representative. 

Elections 2016 grants

STAR-Ghana’s first call for grant proposals supported initiatives promoting peaceful, credible, issue-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. 

More about the election 2016 grants.

STAR-Ghana has lauded its grant media partners for executing the various projects assigned to them towards the development of the nation.

The partners were given a wide range of issues on which to research in order to strengthen media-civil society collaboration for greater transparency, accountability and responsiveness at all levels of governance.

Their responsibility was also to improve media access and voice for all citizens, particularly the poor, socially marginalised and excluded groups, as well as those living in deprived areas of .the country.

STAR-Ghana sponsored more than 30 media organisations and stakeholders in the media industry with a grant of $3,943,297 within one year.

The Chairman of the STAR-Ghana Steering Committee, Prof-Akilagpa Sawyerr, made the commendation at the opening of a two-day workshop organised by STAR-Ghana for its grant media partners in Accra last Tuesday.

Learning event

The two-day conference, on the theme: “Media telling its own stories of change”, provided the media partners the opportunity to reflect on and analyse the achievements made so far, as well as discuss the challenges encountered at the various stages of the projects they were assigned and the way forward.

It was also used to share lessons on how the media collaborated with civil society organisations to achieve their set goals and targets.

Additionally, media engagement on key national issues such as education, health and governance were discussed at the forum.

House cleaning

In spite of the praises showered on the media for their key role in ensuring transparency and accountability in the country, Prof. Sawyerr called on them to ensure that they always put their house in order to be able to hold leaders accountable.

He charged them to ensure a high level of professionalism as they went about their duties, adding that it was their responsibility to deliver to the expectation of the public.

He also called on media houses, especially the broadcast media, to engage professionals to discuss issues on their platforms.

He expressed the hope that as the entire project came to an end by December 2014, another one could be rolled out to deal with issues of national importance.

About STAR-Ghana

STAR-Ghana is a multi-donor pooled funding mechanism (funded by the DFID, DANIDA, the EU and USAID) to increase the influence of civil society and Parliament in the governance of public good and service delivery, with the ultimate goal of improving the accountability and responsiveness of Ghana’s government, traditional authorities and the private sector.

In doing so, it works closely with the media to strengthen linkages in all sectors of the governance system through close participation from citizens.

In a presentation, the Media Officer of STAR-Ghana, Ms Lamisi Dabire, outlined some of the achievements the organisation had chalked up so far.

She said STAR-Ghana had contributed to the empowerment of the media to elicit responses from leaders at all levels of governance.

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.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Youth Advocacy on Rights and Opportunities (YARO), supported by STAR-Ghana, is a growing organisation undergoing change in its strategic focus and direction.

carry yaro 1405589234 1412614251

YARO called for a review of its structures, systems, procedures and processes in 2011 to reflect the required change needed to achieve their goals. This revealed some key issues in the governance structure, management, programme development and financial administration. 

Problems and gaps identified included: 

  • three separate boards for three operational areas,
  • no board charter,
  • a disconnect between current policy documents and new policy direction,
  • no comprehensive human resource policy,
  • outdated administrative and management manuals,
  • no succession plan,
  • no gender policy,
  • incomplete website,
  • no data management structure,
  • no monitoring and evaluation framework
  • no programme development frameworks
  • and inadequate financial planning and sustainability measures.

STAR-Ghana's support

STAR-Ghana shared in the new focus and vision of YARO and supported YARO’s three-year step change plan financially with a sustainability grant, and technically with the provision of a sustainability coach/mentor and other capacity building service providers.

YARO’s plan seeks to put in place a sustainability mechanism that would ensure the continuity and operational relevance of the organisation through key outputs including the building of an effective board with a charter, revision of all financial systems, formulation and adoption of communication and advocacy strategies, as well as putting a succession plan and a human resource manual in place.

Progress so far

YARO is two years into the step change plan, supported by STAR-Ghana, and has chalked some successes which include:

  • An Improved governance structure: there is a new nine-member board of directors which meet more frequently (quarterly) at a lower cost to deliberate on issues of staffing, salaries and financial administration and also to offer technical assistance to the organisation when necessary. This improvement in governance is as a result of the unification of the board and the development of a board charter.
  • Improved communication and advocacy: the organisational website has been completed and two Facebook pages created, which serve as a key way to communicate what we do to the rest of the world and to get feedback from beneficiaries and stakeholders. Communications with beneficiaries and key stakeholders is now also guided by our communication strategy. YARO now also works with the media as partners rather than collaborators.
  • Improved financial administration: the use of modern accounting software has made payment of salaries and claims quicker, efficient and has reduced the workload on the finance staff.
  • Improved monitoring and evaluation: M&E is now an integral part of YARO’s programme implementation and this improved efficiency in programme management. The improved M&E is also ensuring programme sustainability through downward accountability and feedback to beneficiaries.

 

Every Staff and board member at YARO understands and appreciates the relevance of the step change plan to the sustainability and relevance of YARO and is committed to making it succeed. We have now become attractive to partners like the World Food Programme, Plan Ghana, IBIS in Ghana and IITA who have approached YARO and have shown interest in working with us. Beneficiaries of YARO have also noticed the change due to their continuous involvement in planning processes and are attesting to seeing a change in the right direction for YARO.

By Hajei Douri Bennin, Executive Director of YARO. 

Find out more about STAR-Ghana's work and how we support our partners build their technical capacity. 

According to the Global Corruption Report 2013, 73% of Ghanaians strongly believe that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption. On this year’s international anti-corruption day, the Citizens Movement Against Corruption calls YOU and all well-meaning friends of Ghana to action! Be a patriot and a nationalist and do the following: 

  • Believe that working together, Ghanaians can eliminate corruption to the barest minimum
  • Mobilize more Ghanaians to be anti-corruption activists
  • Report incidences of corruption promptly to the toll-free number:080010025
  • Stand by and speak up on behalf of any person suffering persecution for exposing corruption
  • Believe that your efforts are not too small to make a difference
  • Share new ideas on how to fight corruption.
  • Do not engage in any corrupt practices and
  • Do not allow other persons to corrupt them

Join the fight against corruption on Tuesday 9 th December 2014 – International Anti-corruption Day. Wear something red or orange and exactly at 12:00pm (mid-day) raise and wave your index finger as a sign of warning against corruption and corrupt persons, blow your car horn and put on your headlights to hoot against corruption/corrupt persons, bang your saucepans to drive corruption away and change your display pictures and status on social media to "Fighting for a Ghana without Corruption!" God Bless our Homeland Ghana!

  • CMaC "Your Voice & Action Counts!" website: cmacghana.org, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Tel: 0272-799371, 0541-251222

With Thanks to our Funders

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