Mr Ronald Strikker, Dutch Ambassador to Ghana
Mr Ronald Strikker, Dutch Ambassador to Ghana

‘Giving for Change’ launched

Two civil society organisations have launched a project to promote domestic resource mobilisation and philanthropy.

The project, Giving for Change (GfC), is a strategy to increase local ownership of projects and influence civic actions for inclusive development.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands is funding the five-year project which is being implemented by the STAR-Ghana Foundation and the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI).

Read: NDF, STAR-Ghana present development proposal to NDC


Public interest

Launching the project in Accra on June 17, the Chief of Pishigu in the Karaga District in the Northern Region, Naa Alhassan Andani, said it was important for philanthropists to provide for the good interest of the public.

“Good societies leave no one behind. We carry everyone along and so let's give for public good,” he said.

Describing philanthropy as a private initiative meant for public good, he said the Ghanaian society had evolved and survived around philanthropy over the years.

Going forward, Naa Andani said the country needed to invest in strong and energised civil society organisations (CSOs) with the required ability to articulate their position in the interest of the citizenry.

“Pushing for public good should be done without any biases against any individual or political regime. ,Coordinating public good is very expensive and, therefore, this forum seeks to appeal to all active citizens and organisations to ensure that we can put ourselves together to support our society,” he said.

Read: Commit to compromise, accommodation

Great prospects

The Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Ron Strikker, said the project had great prospects and was likely to be a game changer to help meet the needs of the citizens.

He said The Netherlands believed that strong CSOs were essential for a good functioning democracy and inclusive society.

As a result, he said The Netherlands supported CSOs to contribute to reduce inequality, combat corruption and strengthen the voice of the public to stand for their rights.

“Because a smooth and functioning society is based on prosperity and stable economic growth,” he added.

He stated that a free society such as Ghana should have citizens that stood for their interest rather than being subject to their rulers.

“Ghana is a free country; its citizens have much freedom like we also have in The Netherlands and that is a fantastic thing because such freedoms are not found in other countries. The support for CSOs is vital and that was the reason The Netherlands initiated the project to further enhance freedom of speech by amplifying community voices claiming their rights towards power holders through philanthropy, with the support of other state and societal actors,” he added.

Local sources

A Representative of the Governing Council of STAR-Ghana Foundation, Hamdiya Ismaila, observed that funding for most programmes were from donors.

However, she said such funding sources were no longer sustainable, therefore as a matter of urgency local sources to fund internal initiatives needed to be identified.

That, she said, would enable the citizenry to take direct ownership of the programmes.

“We are here to launch the Giving for Change project and I am told it seeks to promote domestic resource mobilisation and philanthropy as a strategy to increasing local ownership and influencing civic action for inclusive development,” she said.

The project

The project has a dual focus to promote civic and civil society space and strengthen communities’ ability to claim rights and entitlements from different actors, particularly government.

It is also to encourage domestic resources, through philanthropy, including local giving for transformational social change.

The five-year programme will be implemented in Brazil, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Palestine and Uganda, and is led by a consortium of four organisations: The Africa Philanthropy Network, Kenya Community Development Foundation, GFCF and Wilde Ganzen.

The aim of Giving for Change – part of the Dutch government’s ‘Power of Voices’ programme – is to foster local giving as an expression of voice, civic participation, solidarity and dissent.

The programme will build evidence around new thinking, approaches and leadership that support community philanthropy development.

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