Details of the project activities
1: Training workshops for communities, community-based organisations, traditional authorities and Assembly persons. These focussed on: community score cards to assess DAs’ progress on service provision (indicators included clean water facilities, public toilets, schools, health centres, waste disposal); gathering communities’ opinions on development needs and priorities; effective techniques for community dialogue and inclusiveness; and problem analysis.
In rating their DAs, 80% of the communities graded their performance as poor. None of the communities had potable drinking water or health facilities. Because clean water is such an important need, communities said access to water is their greatest challenge. Women and girls spend many hours each day fetching water, reducing their time for school, other household chores and earning an income. Education facilities were also lacking: only one community had a pre-school, primary school and junior school while the others had no school at all.
2: Workshops on skills to research and evaluate DA progress and quality of service provision and identify problems and bottlenecks in service delivery. The workshops focused on: District Assembly mandate and functions; Skills to monitor and evaluate service provision by DAs, with emphasis on participatory monitoring and evaluation; Ensuring inclusiveness; Research skills; group work, group presentations and Q&A sessions.
3: Production and distribution of a training manual on rights, participatory governance, coalition-building, people-centred advocacy, and policy dialogue to guide training activities. This is available online here.
4: Awareness durbars by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in the Volta Region. The topics included: roles and functions of Community Support Groups and WATSAN Committees; how to use Community Score Cards to assess service provision in communities; and Community leadership to demand rights and accountability from the DAs.
5: Capacity Building Training Workshop on Building and Sustaining Coalitions and DA Budgeting Process with broader stakeholder involved including the representatives of the District Assemblies, NCCE staff and media (radio and newspaper) along with communities, CSOs, Assembly persons and tradtional authorities. The media attended many of the project’s events, but their participation in this was particularly important to ensure strong links developed between themselves and the communities.
The workshops covered:
- Civil society networks and coalitions: what are they, why are they important, key principles, how to sustain them, and funding raising; and
- DAs’ Budgeting Processes: overview of the assembly systems; planning and decision making; general assembly, committees and subcommittees; complaints; and coordination.
Communities did not know they are permitted to attend DA budget decision-making meetings, and the Das firmly advised they attend in future to ensure their priorities and needs for community development are known to the DAs.
6. Media engagement, press briefings and press releases: Media personnel were invited to participate in most of the workshops, and this gave very good opportunities for briefing sessions and distribution of press releases. Consequently the project had good coverage in both the radio and print media.
Radio programmes in both regions to discuss water and sanitation issues and raise awareness of people’s rights and how they can ensure they are fulfilled. The radio hosts invited resource persons such as DA officers or community opinions, to discuss issues on air, which was followed by a phone-in sessions. Simli Radio near Tamale in the Northern Region produced a jingle especially for the programme so it would be instantly recognisable for listeners. Programmes were aired once a week in the morning at 8am and again in the evening when farmers returned from their farms. This was an extremely successful activity for raising awareness in communities far beyond the scope of the other training sessions. It resulted in communities that were not included in other activities being empowered to visit their DAs and demand their services, and some have already been supplied.
7. Establish community support groups in each of the participating project communities. These groups include: Assembly women/men, a representative of the traditional authority, women’s group members, community leaders, and any other person appointed by the community. They also play the role of water and sanitation committees. They support community mobilisation and project implementation, and will contribute to sustainability of the project activities.
8. Training sessions to build the capacity of communities for rights-based advocacy, effective negotiation, and policy dialogue in each project region on the following themes: The roles and responsibilities of local governments (District Assemblies) and the rights of citizens; Community entry and participation; Effective community leadership; Skills for lobby, advocacy and negotiation; Community monitoring and evaluation; and Policy and inclusive dialogue.
9. Workshops on Rights and Accountability for communities and their traditional authorities and assembly persons. The topics covered included: Communication skills; Group dynamics; Community leadership; and Advocacy skills and practice.
10. Training workshop for civil society on advocacy skills and tools, and methods for community entry for communities, their leaders, NCCE staff and media representatives. Topics covered included: Advocacy skills and tools; Policy engagement; Community entry skills; Policy dialogue; Community entry techniques; Skills of a good community facilitator; Advocacy tools and skills; Q&A sessions; and interviews with the press.
11. Training workshop on policy dialogue and inclusive governance: Besides the communities and their CSOs and leaders, this workshop also included assembly persons, DA representatives, NCCE staff and media. Topics covered included: 1) Communication: effective communication and its challenges; establishing and improving communication skills; and tools for effective communication; and 2) Advocacy: effective advocacy; barriers to effective advocacy; and the importance of inclusiveness when determining communities’ needs and priorities to be included in the advocacy plan and action.
12: Capacity building training workshop on rights-based advocacy and policy dialogue for communities, community leaders, assembly persons, DA representatives and the media (Might FM (Savelugu), Simli Radio (Kumbungu), Radio Savanna, Radio Justice and Zaa Radio, in the Northern Region, and the Ghanaian Times and Volta FM in the Volta Region). Topics covered were: Policy dialogue, what it is and which tools to use; Rights based advocacy, including qualities of a good advocate; How to ‘do’ advocacy; Effective ways to ensure policy and law makers hear you; and People’s rights to water and sanitation, including the fact it is the DAs’ role to provide clean water and sanitation facilities, and that communities have the right to demand these services from the DAs using the methods discussed during the workshop.
13: Capacity building training workshop on DA and community engagement towards participatory governance for community members, DA officials, assembly persons, and media representatives. The issues addressed were: meaning of governance; meaning of participation and participatory governance; benefits of participatory governance; and tools for participatory governance.