Posted by: rumnet | May 24, 2012

GDCA grants empowerment for Life

 GDCA Grants Empowerment for Life

(Published in the May 2012 edition of the advocate)

By Joseph Ziem

The first phase of the Empowerment for Life (E4L), a five year programme jointly being implemented by the Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA) and Youth Empowerment for Life (YEfL) with funding of GH¢5,554,055.28 from the Ghana Venskabsgrupperne (Danish partner) has ended with some appreciable level of successes.

E4L is implemented in 15 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the Northern Region of Ghana. They include Tamale Metroplis, Yendi Municipality, Tolon-Kumbungu, Savelugu-Nanton, Karaga, Gushiegu, Saboba, Chereponi, Nanumba North, Nanumba South, Zabzugu, West Mamprusi, East Gonja, West Gonja and Kpandai Districts.

The programme which was launched on 1st January, 2010 and is expected to end on 31st December, 2014, is aimed at empowering the poor, vulnerable and marginalised groups in the target areas to have the capacity and ability to improve their quality of life through education, employment, local organisation as well as better access to and management of food and water resources through a rights based approach.

The programme is among other things targeting a primary group of 66,545 people and a secondary group of 64,815 people. It has been grouped into two phases with the first phase covering the period from 1st January 2010 to 31st December 2011 whilst the second phase covers the period from 1st January 2012 to 31st December 2014.

The EfL project is relying on strategies that would focus more on advocacy as compared to service delivery and also focuses on tracking all root causes of inequalities and making them known to those who should fulfil those rights.

Whilst supporting the rights holders to demand their rights and giving voice to the voiceless, capacity building is also being organised to help duty-bearers and rights holders with the needed capacity to carry out their roles and responsibilities effectively.

The programme would further focus on the advocacy for the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives, increment in the number of women at the Assembly level, construction of the Eastern Corridor and Tamale-Nawuni roads, activities of alien Fulani herdsmen, among others.

Achievements of E4L so far

Recounting the achievements chalked so far under the first phase of the E4L programme, the Programmes Advocacy and Communications Officer of GDCA, Mrs. Rosemond Sumaya Kumah, at a media review meeting, said communities in the beneficiary MMDAs were gradually becoming highly aware of their rights and responsibilities and work together on critical issues affecting their progress. “Unions are formed to organise communal labour in support of development in their areas. Established community advocacy groups have received attention from duty bearers through the provision of water facilities and agricultural services, especially in the Karaga District and Yendi Municipality,”    she cited.

According to her, for the first time since 1989, a woman contested for and won the District level election of 2010 in the Nyingali Electoral Area in the Karaga District while the number of female appointees and those elected has increased compared to previous years. This, she observed, was an indication that community people are now softening their stands on discrimination against women and want to include them in decision-making processes.

Mrs Kumah disclosed that under the first phase of the programme, 5,062 out-of-school children became literates in their mother tongue under the School for Life (SfL) model, stressing that out of the figure 4,369 (2,385 males and 1,984 females) graduates were integrated into the formal school system by the end of September 2010. With support from UNICEF, 750 children in 30 communities in the Savelugu-Nanton District were taught in their mother tongue.

She said the government has adopted the SfL model and drafted two important policy documents – the Strategic and Operational Plans- which would lead to the piloting of the Complementary Basic Education (CBE) Policy.

Besides, a functional think-tank made up of the academia, research institutions, government and non-governmental organisations under the Right to Food Security component of the programme, are combining research knowledge and local farmers’ expertise to address local-farmers’ challenges for improved food security. “Farmers are adapting to innovative farming practises in terms of post harvest and crop diversification introduced by the think-tank”, she stressed.

Mrs Kumah added that through the serious advocacy that was done in collaboration with the media, the Eastern Corridor road has been awarded on contract while part of the Nawuni road is being constructed under the Millennium Development Authourity project.

Challenges encountered in the first phase implementation   

The Programmes and Advocacy Officer of GDCA observed that during the implementation of the E4L programme, a number of challenges were encountered some of which had to do with difficulty in getting civil society organizations with funds to replicate the SfL model in other areas and difficulty in getting qualified female instructors to teach children in their mother tongue.

According to her, the MMDAs and other duty bearers also failed to support development advocacy activities during the period under review while at certain times, deliberate attempts were made to escape from advocacy groups and duty bearer engagement programmes.

Under the second phase which spans from 1st January 2012 to December 31, 2014, Project Officers of the various projects under the E4L programme would continue to address some of the issues that came up during the first phase implementation.

They would advocate for the inclusion of community action plans in the Medium Term Development Plans of MMDAs, the share of the MPs Common Fund, the use of the District Development Fund and the District Assembly Common Fund by MMDAs and also for a common yam market in the Eastern part of the Northern Region.

Other advocacy issues to consider include advocating for streamlining of the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), sensitization on the possibilities of the NYEP programme and its limitations, work with duty bearers and stakeholders to create trust in the programme by ensuring fair and accurate recruitment, work towards the introduction of pre- and post-recruitment reviews in the programme and advocate for the decentralization of the National Youth Council at the local level.

Also, CBE Policy strategic workshops would be organized to fast track the policy including a national forum as well as organize exhibitions to advertise Learning and Development Centres to the Ghana Education Service and other stakeholders.


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