Active participation of citizens in development initiative launched
The Star-Ghana Foundation, a civil society organisation, has developed an initiative to encourage the active participation of the citizenry in relevant issues that will improve living conditions in the country.
It will also ensure inclusiveness and the sustainable development of the country.
The initiative comes on the back of studies that say that active citizenship has been on the decline in the country in recent times.
The long-term framework will be implemented in phases, with the first phase spanning five years.
An active citizen refers to a person who acts both as a contributor and a beneficiary of public service delivery.
It also means people getting involved in the management of the affairs and resources of the country to ensure prosperity for all.
Giving an overview of the framework at a media and stakeholder engagement in Accra last Friday, the project consultant of the initiative, Mr Mawuli Dake, said the framework proposed four key areas — funding, knowledge brokering, partnerships and capacity building.
He said in the area of funding, the organisation was expected to set up specific strategic funds, such as public litigation and solidarity funds, to help provide reliable, timely, adequate and “no-strings-attachment” funding to drive active citizenship efforts.
Under the knowledge brokering sector, he said, the organisation was required to promote research to bring in new ideas on active citizenship.
He said partnerships that ensured effective coordination and solidarity were also needed, while recommendations had been made for the organisation to provide capacity-building support for active citizens, institutions and movements.
The consultant further said “the strategy recommends an extensive list for individual and collective efforts that can be initiated, adapted, amplified or supported by stakeholders, citizenry groups, associations and movements to enhance active citizenship”.
The framework also suggested the adoption of strategies such as community mobilisation, educational campaigns, volunteerism, strengthening cultural institutions, rejuvenation of student activism and labour mobilisation, as well as policy advocacy and lobbying to promote citizenship engagement for sustainable development, Mr Dake said.
Decline in citizenship participation
The Executive Director of the STAR-Ghana Foundation, Alhaji Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu, bemoaned the seeming decline in active citizenship participation to promote quality service delivery, good governance and the holding of duty bearers accountable.
He, therefore, suggested the need for the various institutions responsible for maintaining integrity and confidence in the state, including democratic institutions, the media and civil society groups, to serve as vanguards of accountability in service delivery.
“As a nation, we do not have mechanisms for promoting volunteerism,” Alhaji Amidu said, adding that these were some of the issues that were contributing to the decline in active citizenship.
He said Star Ghana found it worthwhile to transition from being donor programme driven to an organisation that would be able to support citizens’ efforts at good governance, transparency, accountability and improved and inclusive access to quality public goods and services.
The director further said his outfit was also focusing on promoting active citizenship and local philanthropy for development.
“We think that development that comes from outside will never be sustainable because whenever there is a change in government in any of these developing countries, development aid to that country changes,” he said.