Promoting Public Participation in Local Governance: MFWA Trains 40 Citizen Journalists in Ghana

Forty young and vibrant community citizens from four Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in Ghana have received training on how to actively participate in governance processes at the local level through the effective use of the media and other governance dialogue platforms.

The participants included staff of Civil Society Organisations, senior high school graduates, university graduates, teachers, and some administrative staff of media houses drawn from the Tema Metropolitan in the Greater Accra region, Wa Municipal in the Upper West region, Twifo Ati-Mokwa in the Central, and Ellembelle District in the Western region. They received in-depth knowledge on the concept of citizen journalism, ethics of citizen journalism, communicating more effectively and basic writing skills.

A cross section of participants at the workshop in Tema

Participants were also assisted to create Blogs, Facebook and Twitter accounts and how to effectively utilise them to participate in governance processes and demand accountability in the management and utilisation of public resources in their local assemblies.

Some participants composing tweets for the first time during the workshop in Wa

The training, which was organised by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), formed part of activities under the project: “Promoting Citizens’ Participation in Local Governance through Increased Access to Information”. The MFWA’s Access to Information Project seeks to promote accountability, transparency and inclusive governance. It is currently being implemented in partnership with DW Akadamie in four pilot districts across the country.

Two participants at the training had this to say:

“I never knew I could contribute to my community by being a citizen journalist. With this training, I am going to be an active citizen in the community by highlighting and sharing the development challenges in Tema on the blog and twitter accounts which I created during the workshop. This I am confident will reach the rest of the world, hopefully, someone will come to our aid” – Richard Martey.

Another trainee  who is a children’s rights advocate indicated how the training will enhance her work.

“Being an advocate for children’s rights, I believe that the skills I have acquired will help me to highlight the challenges facing school children in the Wa Municipality”, said Monica Tungbani.

The MFWA’s Access to Information Project involves town hall meetings, comprehensive capacity building programmes for assembly officials and journalists of local radio stations based in the target districts as well as support for media programme production on community development and governance issues.

Other activities under the project include the production of policy briefs highlighting community development and governance challenges in the target districts.

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