Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and participants at the recently-held STAR-Ghana Partners’ Learning Event have resolved to continue to play their surveillance roles and sustain the outcomes of the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) initiative.
The learning workshop which was held at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Kumasi was spearheaded by accountability, Transparency and resource-pooling NGO, STAR GHANA, which has been working with partner civil society organisations on a five-year Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) project.
A total of 120 participants from STAR-Ghana’s GESI, Media and Strategic Opportunities Grant Partners, Steering Committee, Programme Management Team(PMT), Donor Representatives, State Actors, Civil Society Organizations and the Media took part in the two-day learning event.
The GESI Project was jointly funded by the DFID, DANIDA and the European Union to increase the influence of civil society and Parliament in the governance of public goods and service delivery in Ghana.
The initiative falls in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4 which seeks to ensure gender equality, human rights, the rule of law and universal access to public services.
According to STAR-Ghana, the goal of the programme was to develop a vibrant, well-informed and assertive civil society who will be able to contribute to transformational national development for all Ghanaian citizens in an inclusive manner.
Speaking to journalists after the two-day event, Chairperson of the Steering Committee at STAR-Ghana, Dr Esther Offei Aboagye said participants have learnt about how policies are being implemented on the ground, how effectively they have been, how the methods and assumptions have been tested and emerging areas that need attention.
She said the event has also revealed the need for a collaboration amongst CSOs and Government entities and other players in the sector.
Dr Offei Aboagye indicated that issues regarding maintaining the credibility of NGOs and CSOs and also coordinating funding and sustaining efforts by way of resources also came up for discussions at the event.
She further said there was the need to ensure the proposed review of the Disability Act was carried out, ensuring that the ongoing Affirmative Action Bill integrates the inputs of persons who have been under-served or marginalized in the society as well as seeing to the passage of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill. She said the communique that was issued by the percipients will be communicated to the state actors STAR-Ghana works with to encourage Government to respond to such issues.
She stated that STAR-Ghana was guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are intended to leave nobody behind, and particularly SDG4 which aims at achieving gender equality, social inclusion and human rights for all.
“STAR-Ghana has tried to ensure that gender equality and social inclusion are taken account of in all of our activities, partnerships and our approaches to convening, catalyzing, coordinating and learning”.
The participants resolved to provide technical support to each other’s work and projects in order to build synergies around shared GESI goals, maintain and promote inclusion of beneficiaries in project design, implementation and feedback loop to help sustainability and ownership of results among others.
The participants said they have acknowledged the progress made towards promoting gender equality and social inclusion for sustainable development through the collective actions of CSOs, the media, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies(MMDAs) and other state institutions such as the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection; the National Council for Persons with Disabilities; the Ministry for Inner Cities and Zongo Development and Parliament.
Some of the participants, especially persons with disability lauded the efforts of STAR-Ghana and called on state actors to ensure their voices are not always relegated to the background.
The event was on the theme “Social inclusion for sustainable development.”
By: Hafiz Tijani/citinewsroom.com/Ghana