Citizens Empowerment and Community Action
Ghana’s Fourth Republican Constitution and the Local Government Act, 2016 (Act 936) upholds and provides structures for citizens’ participation in governance. However, while the structures have been created, accountable local governance has been elusive. Citizens and civil society participation in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of economic and social policies and programmes is generally weak and ineffective. This is largely because many CSOs pay less attention to mobilizing citizens to participate in public policy processes. The few who get involved have limited capacity in research, resource mobilization and networking skills for effective collaborations. This represents an important gap in civil society’s capacity.
Building accountability that relies on civic engagement between ordinary citizens and public officials is an effective way of ensuring citizens’ participation in governance. Interventions aimed at building citizens interface capacity needs; mainstreaming them into governance processes; mobilizing and empowering them to effectively engage and influence policies; enhancing their knowledge on local government structures; and creating institutional spaces for citizens to monitor and demand accountability are so crucial in bringing ordinary citizens within the governance space.
Furtherance to this, the IDEG will strengthen its interventions within the Governance Issues Forum (GIF) framework to empower citizens and mobilize community action towards development. The GIF is a socially integrative mechanism for promoting citizens participation in decision making and development at the local and national levels. In this new strategy, the IDEG will focus more on its civic empowerment programme area and develop it as a niche area for the Institute.