Hold Town Hall Meetings to promote participatory development - Assemblies urged

BY: Zadok K. Gyesi

The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) in partnership with the Rural Initiatives for Self-Empowerment- Ghana (RISE-Ghana), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has organised a Town Hall Meeting at the Kasena Nankana West District of the Upper East Region aimed at promoting equitable and sustainable participatory development in the area.

Dubbed: “Promoting Social Accountability through Citizens Participation In Local Governance”, the project is aimed at increasing demand for transparency, participation and feedback in local government planning and budgeting processes through increased citizen participation.

Funded by the Open Society for Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the project is being implemented in 20 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the country with other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

Although Ghana’s new Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936) seeks to promote equitable and sustainable participatory development in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), many of the MMDAs are unable to hold the required mandatory meetings such as Town Hall Meeting to engage their citizens.

Speaking at the meeting, the District Coordinating Director of the Kasena Nankana West, Mr A. K. Awity said Town Hall meetings will strengthen the accountability incentive and thereby improve upon the timeliness and the quality of services planned and delivered at the local level.

“The staff of Assembly are service providers. The satisfaction of the people we serve can only be measured through dialogue and feedback,” he said, adding “This town hall meeting is one of the platforms for dialogue and feedback on the services we provide.”

He expressed the view that the Town Hall Meeting is the only way the assembly will be able to measure the services it provides and also improve on its activities.
Mr Awity, therefore, commended CDD-Ghana, Rise-Ghana, and OSIWA for the inclusion of the district in the project, saying the project would help to improve local governance activities in the area.

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The Project Manager of Rise-Ghana, Mrs Jaw-haratu Amadu said it is important that citizens are actively engaged in the local governance process.
According to him, when citizens are actively engaged in the local governance process, it would enable them to hold duty bearers to account, hence improving the service delivery and the wellbeing of the people in the district.

Madam Theresa, a seamstress who took part in the Town Hall Meeting said expressed the hope that the assembly would continue to engage the citizens on what they do regularly.

This is the first time that we have all departmental heads come to us to tell us what they do and also hear from us our challenges and how we can together improve the developmental process of the district, she said.

An assembly member, Mr Tijamba Sampson was of the view that the Town Hall Meeting has increased his understanding and satisfaction “on what the assembly does with our money.”