The Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), Dr. Esther Ofei Aboagye has called on District Assembly Members to lobby their parliamentarians to enact policies that will make their job functional.
She said parliamentarians are the ones who pass legislation that govern the running of the state and the challenges of District Assembly Members job will be reduced if they positively engage them.
Dr. Ofei Aboagye was speaking at the fourth regional stakeholders' dialogue session for District Assembly Members and community members organized by the Foundation for Female Photojournalists (FFP) in Accra. The project is funded by Rights and Voice Initiative.
She said functional District Assembly Members will easily facilitate the work of parliamentarians; it is therefore in the interest of both the assembly members and the parliamentarians on one hand, community members and the state on the other hand, to resource and build the capacity of the assembly member.
She dismissed the notion that illiteracy makes one incapable of being an effective District Assembly Member.
According to her, the criteria for electing assembly members as expected of the decentralization system, is the ability to do advocacy, mobilize and present the concerns of the people to higher authorities for consideration.
Dr. Ofei Aboagye commended the FFP for initiating such an engagement process especially with the strategy of using audio visuals which she described as very innovative and result-oriented. The project, called “Electorate meet Elected” brought together 30 assembly and community members drawn from two districts in the Greater Accra Region.
The executive Director of the Foundation for Female Photojournalists (FFP), Ms. Mardey Ohui Ofoe said the organization's task of undertaking the project is to strengthen the existing structures of local governance by ensuring that community members fully participate in governance at the grassroots level.
She explained that the FFP chose the assembly concept of the local governance system because it largely affects women and limits them from contributing to national development as well as narrows their opportunity to enjoy the share of the national resources at the local level.
She envisaged that the organization's intervention will address the interest of the local communities of which women form the large majority.
Ms. Mardey Ohui Ofoe said the stakeholders' dialogue meetings will afford stakeholders the opportunity to share their ideas on how they could hold each other accountable.
Ms Emelia Antwi, the Project coordinator of the Foundation for Female Photojournalists (FFP) said the aim of the project was to ensure the participation of community members in the local governance system by empowering them to know their constitutional roles and responsibilities via the district assembly concept.
She mentioned that at least 40% of electorate is expected to start meeting with assembly members in order to make a positive impact on development issues in the communities.