June 30, GNA - Ghana’s Strengthening Accountability Mechanisms (GSAM) Project,
was launched in Accra on Tuesday to empower civil society organisations (CSOs)
and citizens to monitor capital development projects to improve local service
The five-year project, which is being sponsored by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), would be implemented by a consortium of three locally-based organisations, made up of Care International, IBIS Ghana and the Integrated Social Development Centre.
Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), said notwithstanding the remarkable successes recorded in Ghana’s decentralisation and democratisation processes in recent years, citizen’s involvement in the transparency and accountability process has been less than satisfactory.
The implementation of GSAM project best illustrates the need for improving accountability and transparency in the governance process, he said.
He said for the MLGRD, the launch of the GSAM project offers a unique opportunity for re-assessing citizen’s involvement in the transparency and accountability at the district level.
He applauded the initiative, which would improve local transparency, accountability and performance in hundred districts assemblies across the 10 regions.
The Minister explained that GSAM would improve the quality and quantity of information available to CSOs, and in the district Assemblies, by enhancing their capacity to be able to demand for the right answers.
He said such: “Top-down and Bottom-up,” approaches in social accountability processes would ensure extensive CSO monitoring processes through the production of scorecards and public information campaigns that mobilises citizens to use the cards to demand for improved development planning and execution.
“I believe that through strengthening of citizens’ capacity to monitor capital development projects; there is great potential for strengthening the Demand Side of Social Accountability and bringing positive impacts to bear on the decentralisation process in Ghana”, he said.
Alhaji Dauda therefore urged stakeholders, especially CSOs and the citizens to take the capacity building initiatives that would accompany the GSAM project seriously to ensure maximum and lasting benefits to themselves and the constituents they serve.
He pledged the ministry’s support towards the initiative to improve the decentralisation process as well as service delivery in Ghana.
Mr Andy Karas, Acting Mission Director, USAID, who launched the project, said the initiative is expected to bring down the institutions of corruption in Ghana and serve as a model for others.
Mr Elkanah Odembo, Country Director of Care International, cited the lack of accountability as the bane of Africa’s underdevelopment and indicated that the GSAM would address these challenges to ensure good governance and national development.
He said plans are also advanced to re-launch the project in the regions, which has been grouped into three zones, to ensure citizens involvement.