As part of efforts to enhance citizen’s active involvement in local governance processes, five (5) Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in northern Ghana have strengthened partnership with local-based radio stations and district offices of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE). The Partnership will see increased citizens’ participation through improved information disclosure and sustained citizens’ engagements.
At district-level consultation meetings organised and facilitated by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) under its “Media for Accountable Local Governance Project in Northern Ghana”, the partners resolved to harness the full potential of local radio towards proactive disclosure of information on the work of the Assemblies, development projects, revenue inflows and expenditure as well as engaging in sustained education on civic rights and responsibilities which underpin development.
The project involves the Tamale Metropolitan in the Northern Region, Wa Municipal and Sissala-East District in the Upper-West Region as well as Bolga Municipal and Garu-Tempane District in the Upper-East Region.
As part of the partnership, and with financial support from the MFWA, the MMDAs and radio stations agreed to a “Quarterly State of the MMDA Address on Radio” where the Chief Executives and some technical staff from the Assemblies will present on radio the state of the Metropolis, Municipality or District.
The radio stations will also allocate more airtime for critical reporting on local governance and local development issues through the production of radio features and documentaries, with the Assemblies providing adequate and relevant information to enrich the reports for broadcast.
There will also be direct citizens’ participation through community fora to be held in selected communities where citizens can directly interact with their Assembly officials on local development issues.
The NCCE as a critical and influential partner in civic education, will also utilise radio platforms created under the collaboration to provide the needed information to enhance civic education on local governance processes.
At the various meetings, the partners welcomed the initiative and stressed that it was an important step towards ensuring citizens’ participation and ownership of community developments. The Mayor of Tamale, Hon. Abdul-Rahman Hanan Gundadow at the partners meeting in Tamale said: “We are happy for this collaboration because our own experience shows that proactively giving information to the people helps to control adverse public opinions, reduces tension and makes duty bearers more responsive and accountable; we are able to carry the people along in the development drive of the Assembly. This initiative will also go a long way to let our people know more about ongoing developments while it also whips up their civic responsibility to contribute to development”.
MFWA’s Programme Officer for Media, Democracy and Development, Abigail Larbi, said the project funded by IBIS-Ghana is informed by the MFWA’s latest research on the Current level of citizens-local authorities’ engagement on revenue inflow and expenditure which among others, found that “Radio topped the list as the most efficient engagement platform between local assembly authorities and citizens compared to others such as local substructures, visit of officials and use of information delivery vans”. She added that “Indeed, some MMDAs are vast and we believe radio plays a critical complementary role in getting information to the people while duty bearers also hear from them; hence the project”.
Issued by the MFWA in Accra on August 8, 2014
The MFWA is a regional independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Accra. It was founded in 1997 to defend and promote the rights and freedom of the media and of expression.
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