Community Development Monitors (CDMs) in the Tolon District have been advised to take keen interest in projects being executed in their areas to ensure contractors deliver quality work.
Mr Kassim Perez, Executive Director of Rural Media Network (RUMNET), a civil society organisation (CSO), who gave the advice, also told the CDMs that “You are the young ones, who will shape the development of your communities. So, be involved in the implementation of development projects in your communities to ensure value for money.”
Mr Perez was making a presentation on “the rights of citizens to participate in local governance” at a training for CDMs at Tolon to equip them with knowledge on initiation and execution of capital development projects implemented by the Assembly to ensure that they effectively monitored such projects.
This is to ensure that the projects such as health facilities, classroom blocks amongst others are executed according to specification and schedule such that they will be of high quality to ensure value for money.
The two-day training, which ended on Thursday, and attended by 75 CDMs drawn from various communities in the Tolon District, was organised by RUMNET as part of its implementation of the Ghana’s Strengthening Accountability Mechanisms (GSAM) project.
Topics treated during the training included; capital project planning and implementation process, citizen monitoring of capital projects, how to get your concerns heard and addressed, and the role of a CDM.
The GSAM project is being implemented by a consortium of three CSOs namely OXFAM in Ghana, CARE International, and Integrated Social Development Centre with funding from the United States Agency for International Development to strengthen citizens’ oversight of capital development projects to improve local government transparency, accountability and performance.
Mr Perez quoted the Local Government Service Act and told the CDMs that as citizens, the law empowered them to actively participate in the affairs of their communities with regard to projects being implemented by the government to ensure transparency and accountability.
He, therefore, challenged them not to sit unconcerned in their communities but to exercise their rights saying “If they are awarding contracts for projects in your communities, it is your right to demand the details of the contracts such that you can monitor to ensure that the projects are well executed.”
Mr Sharif Yunus Abu-Bakr, GSAM Zonal Officer at OXFAM in Ghana, who also made a presentation during the training, urged the CDMs to work with community leaders to make it possible for communities to interface with the Assembly as frequently as possible on identified issues from project sites for action to be taken on them.
Mr Abu-Bakr advised them not to be partisan in the performance of their duties and said that could undermine their work.
Hajia Balchisu Yakubu, District Chief Executive for Tolon described the role of CDMs as important to the Assembly as it put the Assembly in the right track in terms of whether or not projects were being well executed.
Hajia Yakubu, therefore, urged them to carry out their functions effectively to promote accountability while ensuring community ownership of projects.
Some of the participants spoke positively about the training and have the assurance that they would actively play their roles to ensure accountability in the delivery of projects in their communities.