Civil Society Organisations including networks, coalitions and associations, under the Ghana Civil Society Organisations Platform (CSOs) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and others have appealed to the government to convey a multi-stakeholder forum to mobilise resources for the national response on COVID-19.
In a release signed by Mr George Osei-Akoto Bimpeh, on behalf of members of Ghana CSOs Platform on SDGs, and copied to the Ghana News Agency said the forum would coordinate all interventions and align them with government priorities and respond to the needs of the vulnerable and the poor.
It said the over 400 CSOs operating in Ghana were mobilising for donations from all and sundry and had thus announced the establishment of a CSOs COVID-19 Response Committee to manage the CSOs COVID-19 Fund.
The statement said the Fund would complement government’s efforts by supporting the poor and the vulnerable groups as well as frontline health workers.
It appealed to Government to consider specific measures that would protect the lives and livelihoods of the poorest and most vulnerable women, men and children in society, including but not limited to permitting access for competent, qualified civil society organizations to these vulnerable communities to deliver potentially life-saving interventions to affected populations in the partial lockdown areas.
It said properly trained and equipped civil society workers could support Government’s efforts on Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE); Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); nutrition; Gender-Based Violence (GBV) prevention, response and support; Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA); psychosocial counselling and support; and livelihoods support, to name a few.
“We will request that humanitarian workers are considered as essential workers within the period of the lockdown,” the statement added.
It demanded representation at the committee established by the President’s Independent Board of Trustees to be chaired by the Mrs Sophia Akufo, former Chief Justice.
The statement called for enforcement of strict price controls on essential commodities and staple foods to prevent practices of price gouging being experienced in some local markets.
The group called for subsidised social services in basic essentials by freezing or reducing tariffs on access to water, electricity, and communication for all citizens.
It expected that all expenditures would be applied in a responsible, transparent and accountable manner to ensure such interventions reach out to the targeted beneficiaries.
“This is very critical since government did not begin its financial year with a budget line for COVID-19, as such every inflow and expenditure towards the crisis must be duly accounted for in a transparent manner.”
It said the civil society community under the leadership of the Ghana CSOs Platform on SDGs, other CSOs networks and individual organisations, recognized that the effort to deploy strategies and resources for a strengthened course of action was not only the responsibility of the government and that CSO had a complementary role to play, especially at the community level.
“We recognize that the coronavirus is not only a threat to health care but also to governance, and therefore call for a multi-faceted approach to supporting government in its approach to curb the pandemic.
“While health resources and technical capacity to fight the virus is central, engaging the communities and the individual households in taking on the challenge will also be critical,” the statement said.
It said, “We have already begun some initiatives in this regard and wish to state that our members are open and available to support the work of government in hard to reach communities and to identify hard to reach social groups to slow the spread and deliver a healthy nation.”