The Local Governance and Decentralization Program is a three year program in Ghana’s Western Region funded by USAID. It is a collaborative program between MSI, an international development company based in Washington, D. C., and SNV, a Dutch development organization with strong presence and experience in Ghana.
Our work is underpinned by USAID/Ghana’s Strategic Objective 5, “Strengthened Democratic and Decentralized Governance through Civic Involvement.”
We are working throughout all the Western Region’s Districts to:
• expand public participation in local governance;
• support targeted districts to increase the amount of funds they generate internally; and
• achieve comprehensive development planning.
The Western Region is bounded by the Gulf of Guinea to the south, Cote d’Ivoire to the west, Brong-Ahafo region to the north and the Ashanti and Central regions to the east. It is well-endowed with natural resources, such as cocoa and gold and, in 2007, a large reservoir of oil was discovered off its coast. The administrative capital and business hub is Sekondi-Takoradi.
The population of the Western Region is approximately 2.37 million. The literacy rate is 58.2 percent and there is high attrition between primary and junior secondary school. Modern health care is not widely available. The main languages are Fante, Wassa, Sefwi, Ahanta, Nzema, and English.
The Program began work in September 2010 immediately commissioning an extensive citizen survey of the Western Region to gauge satisfaction with local government service delivery. Once this was complete we used the findings to inform a major Open Space workshop for a wide range of stakeholders from the Western Region. We wanted their input into fine-tuning our program and to renew the mandate for our work. Participants urged us to place strong emphasis on spatial planning and to help in broadening district revenue bases through facilitating the development of electronic district databases.
We used the information gained from the Open Space Workshop and Citizen Survey findings to further refine and coordinate our three key result areas:
Result 1: Public participation in local governance expanded
Result 2: Internally-Generated Funds of targeted local districts increasedResult 3: Comprehensive development planning for local districts achieved
The Program closely collaborates and coordinates with a wide range of national, local and regional governance bodies, NGO networks, donor organizations and private sector organizations in the extractive industries.
We have taken a lead role in bringing together the different implementers working in the Western Region. This has included starting regular meetings which provide donors and international NGOs with the opportunity to come together to share work, gain knowledge and enhance cooperation.
During the course of our program we will continue to renew our mandate with stakeholders. We work in a complex institutional environment and it is important that we regularly assess that we are on target to deliver on our result areas.