As part of measures to complement Government efforts in the implementation of the decentralization concept at the grassroots level, Foundation for Grassroots Initiatives in Africa (Grass Roots Africa), has initiated a project dubbed; "Enhancing Democratic Governance through Civil Society Organizations."
Under the project, Local Civic Coalitions are formed at the area and town councils where members of the group are provided with capacity building and platform to be able to prioritize and identify their needs to enable them to participate actively by making inputs in the planning and implementation of their developmental needs at the assembly level.
It was also to empower them to identify duty bearers and service providers and hold them accountable and responsible to ensure that their needs were met.
The project, which is in its implementation stages, started in 2007 in Talensi Nabdam, Bongo, Kassena-Nankana, and the Bolgatanga Municipality and was sponsored by Department for International Development (DFID, UK.
Under the Project, the European Union (EU) is also sponsoring it to be extended to three districts named Bawku West, Kassena Nankana West in the Upper East Region and one District in the Greater Accra Region.
Addressing a stakeholders forum in Kumbosigo near Bolgatanga, attended by Coordinating Directors of the nine districts and District Planners and other development partners, the Upper East Regional Coordinating Director, Mr. Samuel N'lary, commended Grass Roots Africa and its partners and donors for the bold initiative for contributing to the decentralization process.
He said Government alone could not be able to implement the decentralization single-handedly and appealed to Grass Roots Africa to double their efforts at complementing Government efforts in the process.
He assured the NGO that all the Districts in the Region would collaborate with them to make the concept of decentralization practicable at the grassroots levels.
Mr. N'lary urged the NGO to operate strictly according to it project objectives and to meet the deadline of the project so as to win the confidence of its donors and partners to enable them to win them for more developmental projects.
In an address read on his behalf, the Executive Director of Grass Roots Africa, Mr. Rudolf Amenga-Etego said one of the cardinal principles of achieving democracy was through empowering the people at the grassroots to participate actively in Governance and that was why his outfit was championing the cause of decentralization.
The Project Manager of EU and LCC project, Ms Hawa Nibi, giving the overview of the Project indicated that it is targeted at developing the capacity of civic groups to engage local decision making processes, get public office holders become more accountable and responsive to the needs of the citizens and to increase understanding of local communities about the concept of decentralization and how the local system functions.
Miss Nibi said the overall and the main objective of the project was to contribute to poverty reduction within the context of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy and Millennium Development Goals.
The Major collaborators of the project are Community Partnership for Health and Development, Grass Roots Africa, ProNet South, Ghana Refugee Welfare Groups (GHARWEG), and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.