Local government officials and traditional leaders in the Eastern and Greater Accra regions have welcomed the implementation of the Ghana’s Strengthening Accountability Mechanisms (GSAM) project, describing the intervention as one that would significantly increase participation and transparency in local governance.
The project is being implemented by CARE International, IBIS and the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and aimed at strengthening citizens’ oversight of capital development projects to improve local government transparency, accountability and performance.
Under the five-year project (2014-2019), local civil society organisations (CSOs) are supported to monitor and disseminate information to citizens on the planning and execution of capital development projects by their respective District Assemblies. This would enable citizens to hold their local authorities accountable and to demand improved service delivery.
The project is being implemented in 100 districts across the country. For the Greater Accra and Eastern regions, the districts are Shai Osudoku and Ayensuano, Kwahu South, Birim North and South, Lower and Upper Manya Krobo, Akuapim South, Fanteakwa, Asuogyaman, Kwaebibirem, Suhum and Kwahu Afram Plains, respectively.
At the regional launching of GSAM in Koforidua on Thursday, September 10 for the Eastern and Greater Accra regions, the Eastern Regional Coordinating Director, Mr Korzie Sambo said the GSAM project offers a unique opportunity for reassessing citizens’ involvement in the transparency and accountability processes at the district level.
“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 decentralization process in Ghana.”
Mr Sambo, who represented the Regional Minister, Hon. Antwi-Bosiako Sekyere, said development projects are undertaken with the taxpayers’ money and therefore need to be handled judiciously.
The Kuntihene of the New Juaben Traditional Area, Baffour Nyantakyi Tutu Boateng said it was very essential that citizens and district assemblies work together in planning and executing development projects so as to avoid suspicions of corruption and inefficiency.
He called for proper coordination to ensure that all stakeholders played their roles effectively to ensure that success of the GSAM project.
The Chief of Party for the GSAM project, Mr Clement Tandoh noted that the project was designed to address the information and accountability gaps at the local level because these setbacks were limiting citizen’s participation in the governance process and creating the necessary conditions for corruption and poor service delivery.
“By providing citizens with information on the capital development projects of their assemblies, we are putting them in a position to monitor the work of their assemblies and to demand quality service delivery,” he said.
“Through the GSAM project, citizens would be better informed and involved in the planning and execution of district assembly projects by their district assemblies and there would be responsive and accountable governance on the part of duty bearers.”
Mr Bishop Akolgo, the Executive Director for ISODEC, said the GSAM project was very unique because it would involve the use of technology for the monitoring of capital projects.
“A number of citizens would be supported to use cameras and mobile phones to gather information of district assembly capital projects and this would be fed into an electronic platform that has been created to receive, aggregate and provide real-time information selected capital projects in GSAM districts.”