Government has been urged to involve local entrepreneurs in social intervention programmes so as to ensure their sustainability and positive impact on local communities.
At a social accountability clearing forum, organised by Pensplusbytes on Friday in Accra, the Country Director of SEND Ghana, Mr George Osei-Bimpeh said the disengagement of local tailors at the community level from the free school uniform initiative for instance, was not the best.
According to him, local tailors could have been used to sew the school uniforms to serve an employment avenue for them instead of giving the contract to big players.
A section of the participants at the forum
Many local artisans, according him migrate to urban centres in search of greener pastures as a result of lack of job opportunities in their communities.
Hence their involvement in the sewing of the school uniforms would have helped to grow small businesses at the community level.
Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye facilitating an aspect of the forum
Rather, he said government gave the sewing of the free school uniform to seven established companies and denied local artisans from getting a stake in the programme.
As a result, Mr Osei-Bimpeh said forums such as the accountability clearing platform, was important to equip citizens with usable information and methods, which would enable them to monitor relevant sector policies, indicators and programmes to hold government accountable.
Mr Osei-Bimpeh said because locals were not used in the school uniform programme for instance, many of the uniforms were oversize when they were handed over to the beneficiary pupils.
Some participants at the forum
According to him some pupils were ridiculed for wearing oversized uniforms, hence some parents prevented their children from accepting the uniforms.
He was speaking on the topic: “Civil society interventions in monitoring the implementation of social protection policies.”
School feeding programme
Touching on the school feeding programme, Mr Osei-Bimpeh said, due to lack of effective and proper monitoring, there were a lot of leakages in the way the system works in beneficiary schools.
As a result, some of the players engaged by the government in the implementation of the programme have taken advantage of the weak nature of the systems to milk the government of its limited resources.
Mr Jerry Sam, the Director of Programmes at Penplusbytes
For his part, Mr Jerry Sam, the Director of Programmes at Penplusbytes, the organisers of the forum advised government to de-politicise the implementation social protection policies in order to ensure that such policies achieve their goals and objectives.
According to him, the politicization of social intervention programmes does not help to achieve the purpose for which such programmes are instituted.
A section of the participants
He said social accountability projects were most effective when citizens were supported to understand what services they were entitled to through awareness creation.
The programme was attended by heads of civil society organisations, state actors and donor organisations.