General News of Thursday, 31 May 2018
STAR-Ghana has awarded a seven million grant package to 24 organisations under its Local Governance and Decentralisation Call, aimed at increasing effectiveness of citizens’ action for inclusive voice and participation in local governance, improved access and quality service delivery.
The Call, which was divided in two components, was launched in March, this year to strengthen, scale up and consolidate the results of previous and on-going local governance focussed initiatives particularly in the areas of inclusive voice, improved access and responsiveness in service delivery.
Speaking at the grant signing ceremony for STAR-Ghana Local Governance Grant Partners and Parliament, in Accra, Mr Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu, Programme Director, STAR-Ghana said the Strategic Partnership Component focused on strategic level policy influencing to implement projects aimed at addressing systemic constraints around local governance and decentralisation issues at the policy levels.
The signing ceremony also coincided with an orientation workshop for the partners to provide the platform for the awardees to understand STAR-Ghana’s Theory of Change and Logframe, and these relate to their projects and set the tone with a convening on local governance and decentralisation in Ghana.
He said the second component – Local Partnership Component – supports local actions at the district and local levels, enabling citizens address locally salient service delivery issues.
“It will particularly focus on processes of social inclusion and vulnerable groups’ interaction with the local governance mechanism,” he said adding, the projects within the component have a maximum duration of 12 months, while those under Strategic Partnership Component have a maximum duration of 18 months.
Mr Ibrahim-Tanko said they received 156 applications and the 24 organisations were selected after they had satisfied independent assessments, budgets assessments as well as due diligence requirements and congratulated the awardees for their efforts.
He said the orientation workshop would provide an opportunity to clarify expectations before project commences and for Partners to gain a better understanding of STAR-Ghana’s reporting requirements as well as identify synergies amongst partners and promote collaboration between organisations.
Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, STAR-Ghana Steering Committee Chair, said a Community of Learning Event conducted in 2014 identified citizen’s lack of knowledge of the services to which they were entitled and the right channels to seek redress promoted a culture of non-accountability at the Local Governance level as challenges with the decentralisation process.
The event also revealed lack of a legal framework and clear-cut guidelines on the role of citizens and Civil Society Organisations in assembly work; availability of unambiguous standards in service delivery; low commitment on the part of state actors to dialogue; funding gaps in infrastructural development.
Others, she said, included; political interference and polarisation, socio-cultural practices and fear of victimisation; lack of resources to track revenue mobilisation and expenditure at the assembly level and technological application issues including inadequate finances of citizens to buy user-friendly and accessible software applications and capacity gaps in the design and development of software applications.
Dr Ofei-Aboagye also called for the re-tooling of the Department of Social Welfare to include; social protection agenda to achieve the necessary results.
Nic Lee, DFID-Governance Advisor and also a member of Funders’ Committee, said she was impressed with the quality of the proposals presented and commended the selected organisations.
She announced that STAR-Ghana would soon transition into an independent entity and the nature if its assistance for CSOs would change and urged participants to adhere to accountability to achieve the goals of their results.
Mr Cephas Amevor, the Leader of the Parliamentary team, emphasised the need to continue strengthening their relationship with CSOs to improve their democratic efforts.
Dr Rose Mensah-Kuti, Director, ABANTU for Development and Alhaji Osman Abdel-Richman, Executive Director, Ghana Developing Communities Association signed the grant documents on behalf of Strategic Partnership and Local Partnership respectively, while Mr Ibrahim-Tank Amidu and Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, signed for STAR-Ghana.