Residents of Ashaiman in the Greater-Accra Region have been urged to use available platforms including digital tools to demand accountability from the Ashaiman Municipal Assembly (ASHMA) .
Mr Jerry Sam, Programmes Director of Penplusbytes (PPB), a non-governmental organization engaged in enhancing grassroot civic participation, made the call during a day’s workshop for citizens, civil society organizations and the media at Ashaiman.
The workshop was supported by the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI).
Mr Sam said to empower residents to demand accountability from the Assembly, PPB had initiated projects in six districts dubbed “Enhancing Grassroots Civic Participation in Governance using New Digital Tools.
He said the project was aimed at using online and offline platforms such as Whatsup platforms, website among others to reverse the exclusion of citizens in the local governance process.
He further explained that apart from using workshops as avenues for awareness creation on the need to communicate with the Assembly, some innovative and integrative mechanisms had also been introduced by PPB to close the existing loopholes and institutional capacity gaps by transforming the relationship between state and non-state actors at the local level.
He noted that while Ghana was lauded for her electoral successes, citizens’ participation in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of government policies and programmes had remained generally weak due either to the limited or complete lack of attention in mobilizing citizens or the lack of requisite knowledge and skills.
Mr Sam therefore stressed that there was the need to provide the platform to create awareness among residents on issues such as allocated budgets and development plans to arm them with the needed knowledge to enable them contribute meaningfully to the effective management of their resources for the benefit of the Municipality.
Madam Khadija Osman, Deputy Ashaiman Municipal Development Planner, took participants through the procedure of Assembly budgeting and encouraged them to fully participate in the public forum organized by ASHMA in the community.
Madam Osman said the Assembly had a total annual budget of GHC22, 198,447.20 for 2017 out of which GHC 1,775,000 and 2,057,864.32 would be going to the education and health sectors respectively.
For the health sector, she announced that ASHMA had budgeted to complete the first floors of the male and female wards as well as construct a 20-bed capacity isolation ward for the Ashaiman Polyclinic.
Other projects include completion of a health post with residential facility at Tsui-bleoo, organization of children immunization activities, HIV/AIDS awareness programmes and roll-back malaria programme.
The education sector, she noted, would also see the supply of 360 mono-desks to the 12-unit classroom block constructed at Tsuibleoo, construction of a library, presentation of scholarship for brilliant but needy students, organization of my-first-day-at-school, among others.