The Executive Director of Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA), Alhaji Osman Abdel-Rahman has entreated STAR Ghana Foundation to still consider grant-making approach as a necessary ingredient in support of the Ghana beyond aid agenda.
He expressed the fear that country’s decision to pursue the ‘Ghana beyond aid’ agenda might reduce the flow of grants from donors to civil society organisations to undertake interventions that could address development challenges such as inequality in its various forms, the fight against corruption and largely, the need to empower citizens to become active participants in the local governance process.
Alhaji Osman made this call in an interview with this writer shortly after a meeting with a team of consultants from STAR Ghana Foundation today Tuesday, July 9, 2019. The meeting discussed the working relationship between STAR Ghana Foundation and Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA) since 2014, and ostensibly dived into mutual assessment of the approaches of both organisations and the way forward.
He revealed that STAR Ghana Foundation has supported GDCA to implement three key projects. The first project, which spanned between 2014 and 2015, focused on participatory governance with emphasis on empowering socially excluded groups, especially persons with disabilities, women and youth groups to actively take part in the local governance process. The intervention, he said, closed the gap between the socially excluded groups at the Sagnarigu District Assembly.
GDCA in 2014 facilitated the formation of Partnership for Good Governance (PAGG) to among others promote compliance of Model Standing Orders (MSO) of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies through research and engagement. The project received funding support from STAR-Ghana Foundation to conduct nationwide survey and also engage the MMDAs on the findings and recommendations.
Alhaji Osman noted that the recent project which begun in 2018 remains one of the foundation pillars in weaning off from external aid. “It is about increasing citizens’ interest in revenue generation and utilization at the district assembly level. The project is being piloted in the East Gonja Municipality and I was amazed to hear that the Assembly has exceeded it’s revenue target this year as a resulted of this intervention”, he said.
The Executive Director of GDCA believes fighting corruption begins with citizens’ appreciation of the issue, its effects and their readiness to participate in the processes that could stamp it out. He echoed that "the civil society has a very important role to play in all these but I am afraid it would be difficult to empower citizens without the needed resources”.
He commended STAR-Ghana Foundation for strengthening the civil society in Ghana and urged the Foundation to continue to engage CSOs, corporate bodies and other stakeholders to ensure that there were resources to sustain the gains made and step up the efforts in making the governance proess transparent for the collective good.