Increasing government responsiveness to the needs of Ghana’s poor and disadvantaged
Client name: UK Department for International Development (DFID), Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), European Union (EU) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Coffey is working to improve government accountability and responsiveness by strengthening the influence of civil society and Parliament in the governance process.
Despite significant progress in reducing poverty and consolidating democracy, Ghana is experiencing deepening inequality and is struggling to lower maternal mortality rates, reduce gender inequality and improve environmental sustainability. Recent oil and gas discoveries offer potential for growth but also pose a danger of rising social exclusion.
One obstacle to overcoming these challenges has been a lack of accountability and responsiveness on the part of decision-makers – primarily the government, traditional authorities and the private sector – to the people of Ghana. This is partly due to power relations that result in incentives to maintain the status quo and prevent poor and disadvantaged groups from accessing the benefits of development.
Similar programs in the past have often focused on improving organisations’ advocacy skills. However, this has not always lead to real change in people’s lives.
Coffey and its partners are running the multi-donor Strengthening Transparency, Accountability and Responsiveness in Ghana (STAR-Ghana) program which is working to strengthen civil society and parliamentary influence over the governance of public goods and the delivery of services.
STAR-Ghana provides grants and technical assistance to civil society, parliament, and the media, including funding to promote sustainability after the conclusion of the program.
Coffey is working to ensure that this support for civil society translates into greater citizen influence on government behaviour and that there is a discernible improvement in the delivery of services to the poor.
- supporting civil society organisations (CSOs) to increase the participation of women, children and excluded groups in government policy-making and implementation
- building partnerships between national and local civil society organisations to help them more effectively influence policy
- improving Parliament’s efficacy and strengthening its oversight role, to make government work more transparent and more responsive to citizens’ demands
Over the duration of this program numerous achievements have been made on both a small and large scale in all of the program’s five major outputs:
- greater capacity of grant partners to hold government to account
- enhanced engagement by CSOs with legislative and government bodies so that the government is more responsive to the needs of citizens and has a framework for engaging with CSOs through outreach initiatives
- quality monitoring and evaluation systems to enable CSOs to use evidence to inform government policy and practice
- increased media coverage of development issues, to promote sustainable and inclusive development messages on issues such as health, education and good governance
- greater effectiveness of select parliamentary committees