The STAR-Ghana programme is set to hold further consultations on its proposed transition towards becoming an independent national entity (INE).
Proposals will be presented at five zonal consultation sessions held across as follows:
STAR-Ghana Steering Committee will also meet separately with key stakeholder groups, including faith-based organisations, the private sector, state institutions, recognised political parties, the executive arm of government, online activists and traditional media.
STAR-Ghana (Strengthening Transparency, Accountability and Responsiveness in Ghana) is a five-year programme, aiming to strengthen civil society and enable citizens to engage with the state to ensure democratic, accountable, transparent, responsive governance and inclusive development at both local and national levels.
Funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, the European Union and the Danish Government’s development arm, DANIDA, STAR is in its second phase, the first having ended in 2015.
A key component of the programme is to transition from its existing guise into an INE, a Ghanaian-owned, strategic and fundable organisation to sustain support for civil society beyond the lifecycle of the current programme.
The purpose of the next week’s sessions is to seek affirmation and create ownership of the proposed way forward.
From January to September 2017, STAR-Ghana held a first round of consultations within civil society, to help define the nature and form of the proposed entity and the gap it could fill in the evolving Ghanaian context.
The consultations helped test the relevance of this ambitious vision and generated innovative ideas for sustainability. There was specific engagement with key technical stakeholders and STAR-Ghana grant partners, targeted consultations with the media and meetings in all 10 regional capitals which were open to the public.
STAR-Ghana also sought stakeholder contributions through social media, surveys and targeted submissions. Around 700 people across Ghana were consulted directly on their views for the entity, and 1500 more indirectly.
Since the initial consultation phase, STAR-Ghana has:
- Identified a consensus on civil support areas and how to address these issues long-term
Secured the participation of civil society leaders and thinktanks and explored options in designing the INE
Used the findings to shape proposals on a way forward
Reviewed other examples that have worked and why in designing a national entity
Analysed views and recommendations from consultation phase 1, and assessed the pros and cons of various institutional structures and formats that were proposed.
STAR-Ghana believes it has secured strong buy-in from civil society.
‘Everyone consulted so far about STAR-Ghana’s transition to an INE agrees with the compelling vision of ‘an active and well-informed society mobilising active citizenship as a critical national asset to realise Ghana’s promise for the future – a more equitable and inclusive society that truly ‘leaves no-one behind’,’ said Professor Akilagpa Sawyerr, chairman of the STAR-Ghana steering committee.
‘There is an overwhelming consensus for the establishment of an autonomous Ghanaian institution, free from donor control, to facilitate and coordinate civil society action and voice on governance, transparency, accountability, social inclusion and balanced development.’
After the second phase of consultations, the proposals will be shared more widely. Insights will be incorporated into the final design of the INE.
A firm proposition on the INE will be delivered by December 2017, outlining its proposed functions and structure. This will be agreed with current donors and the steering committee, then robustly tested and fine-tuned through 2018 with a view to agreeing on ownership, operational mechanisms and financing strategy and launching a nascent entity by October 2018. From 2019-20, it will be operational, but in a period of incubation with support and advice from the current STAR-Ghana consortium and donors.