GGA-WA has carefully analysed the developmental pathway of the four countries in which it is implementing its programmes and activities and has identified the following as key areas for its interventions:
Local Economic Development (LED)
Promoting vibrant and productive economies capable of delivering the jobs people need and raising revenue to fund development.
Local Governance, Land Reform and Property Rights
Supporting the capacity building of local administrations and stakeholders to embrace best practices in delivering their mandates, particularly good land governance and property ownership.
Early Childhood Education
Introducing effective childhood education modules to address Africa’s human resource development challenge right at the beginning.
Civil Action for Accountability and Transparency
Partnering with relevant CSOs to push departments, agencies and bodies tasked to deliver development to do their work openly and to be answerable to the public. Be the voice of the marginalised in society.
Approach to delivering our programmes
Brief Introduction to the Study on Ghana’s Fiscal Decentralisation
By Edward T Sarpong
Decentralisation in Ghana is a well-accepted form of governance and has been in practice for more than three decades now. Successive governments have all taken critical decisions to further deepen the process of decentralisation over the years. The political, administrative and fiscal aspects of Ghana’s decentralisation process are being improved from time to time. More powers and leverage in governance have been transferred from the central government to local authorities across the country under the political decentralisation arm. The local authorities, formerly referred to as the district, municipal and metropolitan assemblies (MMDAs), are classified according to their size, population and level of services. They have received an enormous boost in the past decade in the transfer of qualified personnel to man the various departments at the local administrative offices under the administrative decentralisation arm of decentralisation.
Fiscal decentralisation, the third arm of the county’s decentralisation system, has also undeniably received considerable support and push over the years. Central government has continuously ensured the transfer of resources to the MMDAs, as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. Although the transfer system is faced with challenges such as delays, inadequate amounts, and certain central-level deductions, generally the system has been very supportive. Development partners (DPs) and other donors have also given technical and financial support to shore-up local funds for development. The MMDAs themselves have raised funds locally, though these have been very small and limited in scope. Nevertheless, all these support efforts are still considered as woefully inadequate and rightly so, because of the enormous developmental gaps that exist at the local level after years of neglect and limited interventions. There are several studies on fiscal decentralisation and the financial systems of local governments in Africa that have attempted to investigate and reveal the lapses in financial engineering by governments to address local development. However, these studies have been very technical, with critical analysis which may be difficult for certain levels of technocrats involved to assimilate in their attempts to implement fiscal reforms.
The GGA-WA centre commissioned a study into Ghana’s fiscal decentralisation to review the current systems put in place and how responsive or otherwise they have been. Particularly, the study adopts a qualitative approach to information gathering to enable actors within the fiscal decentralisation space to voice their experiences and observations of what works and what does not. The images attached are snapshots from the validation sessions on the draft study report.
Watch this space to read more from the Final Study report and its Policy Brief.
Ms Gifty Obeng opens the Greater Accra validation workshop on the research GGA has conducted on fiscal decentralisation
Early Childhood Education
GGA-WA’s intervention in early childhood education began in 2015. The centre resolved to concentrate its activities in the education sector at the first rung of the academic ladder as it is at that stage the potential lies to interest the child in academics.
The first childhood training intervention involved the piloting of a “child friendly model”, where the instructors were made to understand how the child’s brain worked and how to get the child interested in what was being taught. The environment within which the child was being engaged was also transformed to appeal to the children aesthetically and for better appreciation.
The model also focuses on the use of play to study the original teaching guidelines by the Ghana Education
Service in a much more effective way, using an easy to absorb approach for children. This has won praise from officials of Ghana’s education ministry.
To create a friendly learning atmosphere, the children are taught how to use waste materials to create learning objects. In effect, the children learn from an early age how to protect the environment by reusing waste in their community.
Communities that have benefited from this intervention thus far are: have benefited so far from this intervention are:
- Ekumfi in the central region
- Dodowa in the greater Accra region
- North Tongu in the Volta region
“A good teacher must be able to put himself in the place of those who find learning hard.” – Eliphas Levi
Civil Action for Accountability and Transparency
GGA-WA, under this thematic area, promotes promotes advocacy on varied topics of national interest. Depending on the issue at stake, the centre partners with other relevant stakeholder(s) to come together for dialogue and to make recommendations for addressing the issue at hand. The following are some of the events organised so far:
August 2015 – Workshop on fluctuations of the currency exchange rates and their impact on doing business in Ghana
November 2016 – Voter education and peace campaign forum
July 2017 – Small-scale mining formalisation in Ghana: Changing the paradigm of illegal mining (galamsey)
December 2017 – Symposium on the 2018 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Ghana
“While transparency reduces corruption, good governance goes beyond transparency in achieving openness. Openness means involving stakeholders in the decision-making process. Transparency is the right to Information, while openness is the right to participation” – Narendra Modi
Local Economic Development
In recent years, a topical issue for most African countries has been the issue of unemployment, especially for the youth. The inability of African economies to generate the jobs needed to absorb the growing number of graduates from universities and other training institutions is a cause for concern. The phenomenon is growing to alarming proportions and even threatens security on the continent.
In Ghana, for instance, a group calling itself the Unemployed Graduate Association of Ghana (UGAG) sprung up in 2011 due to a persistent failure of the system to absorb graduates from the various higher level training institutions. This development is not unique to Ghana as other countries on the continent have suffered various forms of agitation due to unemployment. One example is the xenophobic attacks in South Africa due to claims by a section of the country’s youth that foreigners had taken their jobs.
Successive governments in Ghana have tried to nip this developmental challenge in the bud by creating some form of job opportunities through projects such as the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA) and the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo). All these initiatives, although lauded by a section of the population for providing relief for unemployed youth, are severely challenged in their ability to provide long-term sustainable jobs and remain short-term fixes.
In 2019 GGA-WA embarked on vigorous training sessions for local governance actors on ways to stimulate economic activities in their areas of jurisdiction. Through the promotion of democracy and decentralisation, power, functions and resources have been transferred to the local authorities (districts as they are called in Ghana) to develop their communities. Actors at the local level need to be trained and equipped with the tools they need to harness the economic potential of their regions. Thus, GGA-WA has undertaken two training sessions for carefully selected actors at the sessions for carefully selected actors at the district level:
- April 2019 – Roles and responsibilities of MMDAs in local economic development for districts in the greater Accra region
- July 2019 – training of local actors in the western region
GGA-WA also promotes local economic development through capacity building for smallholder farmers in Ghana.
Capacity building and training partnership between GGA-WA and B-BOVID
The partnership between B-Bovid, an agro processing and training company, and GGA-WA dates back to 2017. Together, the two institutions have trained several smallholder farmers, mainly in the oil palm plantation sub-sector, on best-farming practices to help them get value for their investment. Three successive years of offering technical assistance and refresher training for farmers in the western and central regions of Ghana under this partnership has seen farmers gain more from their existing farms.
The introduction of better seedlings and the adoption of mixed-crop cultivation on their farms has enabled these relatively poor subsistence farmers grow to become smallholder farmers with sustainable forms of income and livelihoods.
Going forward, the partnership will move into finding ways of modernising the farming activities of these smallholder farmers to reduce their workload and make the profession more attractive to the youth. Other, technological, organisations will be brought on board to introduce simple but efficient ways of collecting data on farms and managing the different aspects of farm operations.