The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has held a workshop for stakeholders at Tarkwa to sensitise them on the Single Window Citizens Engagement Service (SWCES), a grievance redress mechanism.
Addressing the participants from the Western and Western North regions, Miss Naa-Dedei Antie, the Principal Social Development Officer, said the SWCES was launched by the Ministry in December 2017 and had since commenced operations.
She said the SWCES was established to coordinate the grievance redress mechanism of the various social programmes such as Livelihood Employment Against Poverty, National Health Insurance Scheme, Ghana School Feeding Programe, and Labour Intensive Public Works, to achieve efficiency and increase transparency and accountability in service delivery.
Miss Antie said it was later expanded to receive complaints related to other social issues handled by the Ministry.
“The SWCES has been in operation for the past three years and its activities were limited to Accra. There has been a consensus on the proposed SWCES structures to accommodate the influx of calls that are being received centrally,” she said.
She said it had, therefore, become imperative to intensify the sensitisation and deepen the awareness as well as broaden the operationalisation of SWCES at the decentralised levels.
That, she indicated, would allow citizens at the local levels to easily seek redress for their complaints and ensure the usage of the system.
Miss Antie said the objectives of the training was to deepen collaboration and coordination between SWCES and its stakeholders, facilitate responses to public queries and grievances, and provide feedback to the public.
Capacity at the local level would be enhanced to handle some criticism and citizens would be able to report their grievances for redress both at the centralised and decentralised levels, she said.
Madam Juliet Masamaka, the Senior Programme Officer, said the Ministry operationalised the SWCES as part of efforts to strengthen systems and improve coordination among social protection programmes.
The SWCES was a system designed to provide a single-entry point for citizens to report grievances for redress about the implementation of the major social protection flagship programmes, she said.
Madam Masamaka said the intention was to facilitate the common use of appropriate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for case management.
“From January-August, 2021, the total number of calls received were 3,739, actual grievance received 1,204, feedback call 118, silent prank calls 890, follow-up calls 1,527 and resolved calls 961,” she said.
Through the intervention of the helpline, some women who were trafficked to Saudi Arabia had been rescued and reunited with their families, Madam Masamaka said, adding that some of the children had also been rescued from early child marriages and supported by some non-governmental organisations to enroll in vocational schools.
She said the Ministry would intensify community outreach and advocacy programmes throughout the nation to create awareness on the helpline.
The Deputy Director of the Western Regional Coordinating Council, Madam Daphine Kemeh, said: “The success of these programmes depend on our commitment. I implore you to apply the knowledge you have gained in your respective districts and municipalities”.