Managements of two NGOs GrassRoots Africa and Local Civic Coalitions (LCCs) working on poverty reduction, strengthening political, economic and social rights of the poor and marginalized are initiating a project called "Democratic Governance through Local Civic Coalitions" in five selected districts in Upper East Region.
The project is to empower and build the capacity of local communities to participate actively in decision making process on issues affecting them, especially developmental projects undertaken by the District Assemblies.
It is being sponsored by the UK-based Department for International Development (DFID) and major collaborating partners are, Ghana Refugee Welfare Group (GHARWEG), Community Partnership for Health and Development (CPHD).
The beneficiary districts are Bolgatanga Municipality, Talensi-Nab-dam, Kassena-Nankana, Kessena-Nankana West and Bongo.
Training of community members on the project had already begun in Talensi-Nabdam District to be followed by the rest.
Mr Edward N. Batiir, Policy Officer of LCCs Project, said the concept was to develop capacity of civic groups to engage in local decision-making processes, and make public office holders accountable and responsive to the needs of the citizenry.
It would also increase the understanding of local communities about the concept of decentralization and how local government system functions.
Mr Batiir said it would support local communities to organize and build LCCs on issues, facilitate information sharing among communities, provide dialogue opportunities between communities and facilitate awareness creation.
It would in addition, facilitate dissemination of District Assemblies' plans, budgets, programmes and activities, promote participatory planning, decision making and capacity building.
Others are to educate people about their rights, entitlements and responsibilities and advocate for increase in women's participation in decision-making and management of households' resources.
Mr Rudolf Amenga-Etego, Executive Director of GrassRoots Africa said the project was initiated due to lack of capacity of civic groups to engage in local decision-making process.
Madam Rolanda Yennah, Director of Communication and Advocacy of GrassRoots Africa took the participants through topics including "Group dynamics and leadership Rights and the Role of Civic Groups in Decentralization".