The Media Foundation for West Africa has rolled out Phase III of its “Media for Accountable Local Governance Project” to improve information disclosure between local assembly authorities and citizens on revenue inflows and expenditure; and community developments in the three northern regions of Ghana.
The project which seeks to strengthen the capacity of the media for effective reporting and programming on local development/ governance issues is being carried out in five (5) Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) with eight (8) local radio stations in Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions of Ghana.
Against the backdrop that an informed citizenry is an empowered citizenry, the project seeks to influence MMDAs to effectively utilize already existing structures and the media to disclose publicly information on local developments, revenue inflows and expenditure as well as increase citizens’ participation in local governance process
“Our research and several others prove that when fully utilized, local radio stations engender greater citizens’ participation in governance processes at the local level as they set the agenda and provide platforms for community members to question local assembly authorities, demand actions and responses to pressing needs as well as offer suggestions for local development.
At Media Foundation, we believe that we this cannot happen without public access to information and that is why a strong cooperation between local Assemblies and local radio stations is so important” Rikke Sig Hansen, Programme Associate at Media Foundation for West Africa noted.
As a first activity, the MFWA will hold consultation meetings with project partners to strengthen partnership between the MMDA’s and local radio stations to improve the flow of information to citizens and increase quality and quantity of reporting on local governance issues by local radio stations.
In addition to this, the MFWA will support weekly radio programmes and documentaries where local assembly officials are featured on developments within the local assembly. Another programme called “State of the District” is also to be instituted live on local radio stations where district assembly officials are hosted on radio to discuss the state of the district periodically.
To enhance citizen’s engagement with their local authorities on issues of development concerns the MFWA will further support a number of community forums in the project MMDAs.
The Project is in collaborating with the District Offices of the National Commission of Civic Education (NCCE) for improved civic education on local governance.