The Ghana’s Strengthening Accountability Mechanisms (GSAM) project has empowered over 16,000 citizens to dialogue with their assemblies to address their concerns regarding capital development projects such as classroom blocks, health facilities, market stalls and boreholes.
Mr Mohammed Nurudeen Salifu, Communication Specialist for the GSAM Project who announced this, said this had so far led to increased transparency and responsiveness of some municipal and district assemblies in the execution of capital projects.
Mr Salifu said this when the GSAM project officials held discussions with officials of the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (NRCC) in Tamale to solicit the NRCC’s support to sustain the gains made by the project in the Region.
The GSAM project is a five-year (2014-2019) social accountability intervention funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and it seeks to improve local government transparency, accountability and performance in 100 districts across the country.
It is implemented by the GSAM Consortium comprising CARE International, Oxfam and the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), as well as the Ghana Audit Service (GAS) and other partner civil society organizations (CSOs).
CSO partners including the Rural Media Network (RUMNET), Centre for Active Learning and Integrated Development (CALID), Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA) and NORSAAC took part in the discussions with officials of the NRCC.
Mr Salifu said the GSAM project empowered citizens to assess the performance of their municipal and district assemblies in terms of how they planned and executed capital development projects and to use the information to engage in a dialogue to get their concerns addressed.
He noted that ‘The assemblies now provide information to citizens on capital projects, such as contract sums, duration, specifications and names of contractors. This enables the citizens to monitor project implementation. Many of the assemblies are also doing very well in responding to citizens’ concerns and this has led to quality projects in some districts.’
Dr Yakubu Zakaria, Public Policy and Advocacy Specialist for the GSAM project, said the project was being implemented in two components adding, ‘under component one, the project carried out an information campaign to publicize the outcome of performance audits conducted by the GAS in 50 districts assessing how well they implemented capital projects.’
Dr Zakaria said ‘Under component two, the project supports communities in 50 districts to engage in the monitoring of their assembly’s capital projects and to dialogue with the assemblies to get their concerns addressed.’
Mr Daama Mumuni, Assistant Regional Planning Officer at the NRCC, expressed the commitment of the NRCC to deepening accountability and performance of metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) in the Region, adding that their quarterly monitoring of MMDAs was partly geared towards this end.