Two Non-Governmental Organizations, GrassRoots Africa and the Local Civic Coalitions (LCC) working in the area of 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 the Upper East Region.
The project is aimed at empowering and building the capacity of the local communities to participate actively in the decision making process on issues affecting them, especially developmental projects with the district assemblies.
Mr Edward N. Batiir, Policy Officer of the LCCs Project, given the overview of the project explained that the purpose of the concept was to develop the capacity of civic groups to engage in local decision-making processes, to make public office holders to become accountable and responsive to the needs of the citizens.
It was also to increase the understanding of local communities about the concept of decentralization and how the local government system functions.
The project, he said is being sponsored by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the major collaborating partners are, Ghana Refugee Welfare Group (GHARWEG) and Community Partnership for Health and Development (CPHD).
The beneficiary districts in the Region are Bolgatanga Municipal, Talensi-Nab-dam, Kassena-Nankana, Kessena-Nankana West and Bongo.
Training of community members on the project had already begun in the Talensi-Nabdam district to be followed by the remaining districts.
Speaking on the planned activities of the project, Mr. Batiir said it would support local communities to organize and build LCCs around a range of issues, facilitate information sharing among communities, provide dialogue opportunities between communities and facilitate awareness creation.
The project, he noted, would also facilitate dissemination of district assemblies' plans, budgets, programmes and activities, promote participatory planning and decision making, and capacity building in participatory planning and budgeting.
It would additionally educate people about their rights, entitlements and responsibilities and advocate for increase in women's participation in decision-making and management of households' resources.
The Executive Directors of GrassRoots Africa and the LCCs project, Mr. Rudolf Amenga- Etego and Mr. Sylvester Agangmikre respectively in their welcome addresses jointly emphasized that what informed the inception of the project was the general 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 at the workshop through topics including "Group Dynamics and Leadership, Rights, and the Role of Civic Groups in Decentralization".