A total of 150 Community Development Monitors (CDMs) in the West and East Mamprusi Municipalities have undergone training to equip them with the knowledge to monitor capital projects in their communities.
This is to ensure that projects, including health facilities and classroom blocks, initiated by the Assemblies and any other organisation in the communities are executed according to specification, quality and on time to ensure value for money.
The training, held at Walewale in the West Mamprusi Municipality and Nalerigu in the East Mamprusi Municipality of the North East Region, was organised by Centre for Active Learning and Integrated Development (CALID) in partnership with OXFAM in Ghana as part of the Ghana Strengthening Accountability Mechanisms (GSAM) project.
The training was facilitated by representatives from CALID, OXFAM in Ghana, Planning Officers and Works Engineers from the two Assemblies.
The CDMs selected from various communities in the two Assemblies were exposed to information on the Municipal Assemblies’ capital projects initiation, planning and implementation processes, rights and role of citizens.
They also learnt what to look out for when carrying out monitoring and how to get their concerns addressed by the Assemblies when there is an ongoing project in their communities.
The GSAM project is being implemented by three civil society organisations; namely OXFAM in Ghana, CARE International, and Integrated Social Development Centre with funding from the United States Agency for International Development.
It is to strengthen citizens’ oversight of capital development projects to improve local government transparency, accountability and performance.
Mr Arimeyaw Basintale Somo Lucky, the Municipal Chief Executive for West Mamprusi, who addressed the participants during the training at Walewale, said studies had indicated that Assemblies in the country spent about 70 per cent of their capital resources on development projects.
He said, “These huge investments in capital projects require proper monitoring and supervision to ensure value for money and maximum benefit to the citizenry.”
However, evidence gathered throughout the lifespan of the GSAM project showed that Assemblies and other structures were unable to embark on proper monitoring because of limited logistics, a situation, which creates an avenue for corruption and poor execution of some capital projects by contractors.
He, therefore, urged the CDMs to see themselves as playing a complementary role in the monitoring of projects in their communities since the Assembly could not be everywhere.
He, however, cautioned the CDMs to be circumspect in their activities and not to report false information or become bias.
“As monitors, you are like security dogs and you should be very careful not to be barking when there is no need to.”
Mr Emmanuel Amoarchibey, the West Mamprusi Municipal Coordinating Director, urged the CDMs to see themselves as agents of change in their communities and the municipality.
He commended CALID and OXFAM in Ghana for the training, saying it would help the Assemblies to play their roles effectively.
Mr Mohammed Awal Sumani Bapio, the Executive Director of CALID, in his presentation on the roles of CDMs, said a good CDM must be confident, active, vocal and able to influence communities for a positive change.
Mr Bapio, however, urged the CDMs to desist from partisanship in their work and avoid discrimination in the communities and advised them to monitor all projects, including projects awarded from Accra and to seek relevant information on projects undertaken in their communities.