General News of Saturday, 30 December 2017
Having adopted citizens and community engagements, advocacy and practical-based knowledge sharing, the Rural Initiatives and Self-Empowerment-Ghana in collaboration with Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has chalked some success in the areas of health, sanitation, education, water, security and governance in some communities in the three regions of the north.
Under their programmes: “I Am Aware (IAA)”, which is a non-partisan citizen empowerment campaign, where data on the state of public goods and public service delivery in the 216 districts across the country are collected, analyzed, archived, and disseminated via user-friendly website, the project has contributed to improvement in service delivery and accountability in Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions.
The aim of the project, which is to empower the ordinary citizen with information on whatever happens in their locality is to enable them to engage duty-bearers in order to make them more accountable and responsive.
The ‘IAA’ project, which started in 2014, has so far contributed to improved water situation in Karaga; improved governance in Gushegu; and improved sanitation in Binduri.
In an interview, the Executive Director of RISE-Ghana, Mr Awal Ahmed Kariama, said the implementation of the ‘IAA’ project at Gushegu has led to IAA citizen groups in the town making use of local governance Act to make Medium Term Development Plans (MTDPS) responsive to citizens’ needs.
Similarly, he said, based on the project, the Binduri District Assembly has pledged to provide toilet for Atuba market as well as providing a school block and furniture for Poyanbire primary school after the assembly’s engagement with IAA citizen groups.
Touching on Karaga, for instance, Mr Awal said the Karaga District IAA citizen group engaged local water boards for improved rural water coverage and accountability in managing proceeds.
He expressed happiness about how the IAA project is contributing to improved service delivery and accountability in the implementing districts.
He said citizens’ involvement in the governance process was key to improving the livelihoods of the ordinary person in the society.
“A series of engagements were organized for various citizen groups drawn from cattle dealers, Water Users Associations (WUAs), assembly members, assembly sub-committee chairpersons, Parent Teachers Association (PTAs), women’s groups, traditional leaders and CSOs to build their capacity on service delivery standards and the state of development using the IAA Data, the District League Table (DLT) and global and national service delivery standards to demand improved services”, Mr Awal explained how the IAA project is being done in the beneficiary communities.
He said interface meetings were also organized between citizens and duty bearers to improve accountability and responsiveness, adding that radio discussions were also organized, focusing on the various sectors with citizens serving as resource persons and promoting social accountability.