Citizens in six districts in the Northern and Upper West regions of Ghana will enjoy access to more platforms that enable them to engage their local authorities on pertinent governance and development issues. Through consistent radio programming and community governance dialogues, the citizens will more importantly have increased opportunity to interact frequently, hear more about local developments, ask questions and highlight their concerns for appropriate actions and responses from their local government authorities.
Leaders of the six Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) committed to improve information disclosure and accountability to citizens when the Media Foundation for West Africa facilitated and brokered collaborations between the MMDAs, local-based radio stations and Community Based Organisations under the Media for Participatory and Accountable Local Governance Project.
The MMDAs are Tamale Metropolitan, Savelugu-Nanton District and West Mamprusi District in the Northern region; Sissala-East District, Nandom District and Wa Municipal in the Upper West region.
The Radio Programmes
Between December 2015 and August 2016, more than 80 weekly radio discussion sessions will be held on six selected local-based radio stations. Each session termed “Time with the Assembly” will feature local government officials on a different topic with phone-in and Whatsapp platforms that allows citizens to ask direct questions and raise concerns during the programmes.
There will also be the “State of the District” Radio Broadcasts where District Chief Executives will feature on air and discuss how the district fared over a period, the gaps and way forward. Additionally, several Governance Community forums will be held to augment citizens’ sensitisation and duty bearers’ responsiveness to issues raised by citizens through the radio and other governance dialogue platforms.
The MFWA’s Programme Officer for Media, Democracy and Development, Abigail Larbi-Odei said “citizens’ participation is central to good governance and development and for proper development to take place, citizens must be consulted and adequately engaged in the governance of their daily lives, a process radio provides a significant impetus”. She added that “when leaders commit to and actually disclose information to citizens; it helps to build trust in leaders and reduce the agitations and apathy on the part of citizens towards local development”. Hence this initiative to bridge the communication gap between citizens and their local government leaders.
The MFWA’s “Radio for Participatory and Accountable local governance project” has been implemented in more than 20 districts across the country in different phases. Feedback from the earlier phases of the project showed demonstrable listener satisfaction, improved service delivery and demand-driven development.
This is the third phase of the project in the Northern and Upper West regions of Ghana funded by the Canadian High Commission and the Embassy of the United States in Ghana respectively. The project partners and collaborators in the Northern region are: Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, Radio Justice and the Centre for Active Learning and Integrated Development (CALID); Savelugu-Nanton District, Might FM and Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA) and West Mamprusi District, Eagle FM and Asiri Bisi Self Help Project.
The others in the Upper West Region are Sissala East District, RADFORD FM and Action for Sustainable Development (ASUDEV); Nandom District, Radio Freed and Partnership for Rural Development Action (PRUDA) and Wa Municipal, Radio Progress and Centre for the Alleviation of Poverty, the Environment and Child Support (CAPECS).