The Ghana Strengthening Accountability Mechanism (GSAM) Project, has been launched at Takoradi in the Western Region.
The project, which is the eighth regional launch in the country, is being executed by the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) committed to the promotion of human rights and social justice, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USA-ID).
The project, which sought to strengthen the citizens’ oversight of capital development projects, to improve local government transparency, accountability and performance, would be carried out in some selected districts in the region for the next five years.
The event was attended by District Coordinating Directors, planning officers, finance officers and a cross section of some selected civil society organisations (CSOs).
Launching the project, the Western Regional Minister, Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, in a speech read on his behalf, by a Director at the Regional Coordinating Council, Mrs Dorcas Hutchful Aidoo, observed that the initiative would improve social accountability at the local level through quality information to the citizens.
The regional minister said sensitisation and capacity building of individuals and CSOs would enable them serve as watchdogs and mouthpiece of the community.
He noted that with a wider understanding of the decentralisation process, the citizens could demand accountability from people entrusted with the development of the area.
Mr Aidoo said that assemblies were already involving the people in local governance through the assembly sittings, public hearing at the various zonal and area councils to solicit input for formulation of development plans.
The GSAM Chief of Party, Clement Nana Tandoh, advised Ghanaians “not to attach political colours to development projects.”
The Director of Finance and Administration at ISODEC, Mr Tay Awoosah, said the project was to assist the assemblies to mobilise the people to participate in the development process, adding “it facilitates development and in the end it becomes a win-win situation for everyone.”
The Omanhen of the Essikado Traditional Area, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, who chaired the event, observed that the intervention of ISODEC was vital for the execution of development projects.
He called for the monitoring and evaluation of projects to ensure good governance and prevent corruption, and warned that “we should never allow Africa to go back to the days of colonial rule and slavery.”
From Peter Gbambila, Takoradi.