CSOs, Staff of Parliament Commends ACEPA for Citizen Engagement Training

Members of Staff of Ghana Parliament and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have commended the Africa Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA), the Parliamentary Centre and it’s funding partner, the  Global Affairs Canada/Affaires Mondiales Canada for taking interest in building their  capacity to enable them engage citizens effectively.

The CSOs and the staff of Parliament made the commendation after a two-day capacity building program, held in Accra over the weekend. The two-day event covered topics such as, ‘Building a common understanding around citizen engagement,  how to explore ways to capture the views of women and girls on selected draft laws, incorporating new formats/approaches,’ among other relevant subjects.

Participants during the session

Speaking to EXPRESSNEWSGHANA after the training, the Director of Public Engagement in Parliament, Superintendent Efia Tenge  (Rtd) commended ACEPA and its collaborators for giving them the training which she described as “an eye-opener.” According to her, the knowledge she gained during the training would enhance her work in parliament, especially now that parliament is embarking on policies that would bring the legislative house closer  to the  people.

Supt Afia Tenge (Rtd)

“This training is good and necessary for me, because the topics touched on issues that are directly under my work in parliament.  It has become imperative for parliament to bring legislation more  closer to the people and I think this training would help a lot,” Supt Tenge (Rtd) said.

She applauded ACEPA  and its funding supporters for the opportunity giving to her and her colleagues and expressed the view that, such programme should involve few Members of Parliament (MPs) so the appreciate the need to engage the public.

A Senior Programs Officer at ABANTU for Development, Dr Abena Kwatemaa Karikari said she has learnt a lot  and it would help her organization to do more advocacy for development. She commended ACEPA and its funding partners for organizing the training, adding that  the CSOs needs such exercises so they could improve upon their  work.

Dr Abena Karkari, ABANTU

On his part, the Program Officer at the Ghana Federation of Disability, Abdul Wahab Adams, described the training by ACEPA as “very impactful and revealing” and emphasized the need for such training to be regularly organized for CSOs to enhance their citizen engagement activities. He commended ACEPA for bringing the CSOs together with parliament staff, as such would further establish strong relations and the support for one another in their work.

Lawyer Keziah Peace Azumah, a Gender Advocate at FIDA Ghana, urged ACEPA to continue to organize such capacity building programs for CSOs to enable them actively voice for the voiceless in society.

She said sharing knowledge and experience at such programs would not only benefit the institutions but rather go down to the citizens when the CSOs are well-equipped.

Mr Issifu Lampo, a Policy Analyst and Public Accountability Specialist, who took the participants through the various topics, emphasized the importance roles of parliamentary staff and CSOs to enhance citizen’s participation in national issues. He highlighted the significance of developing a shared understanding of citizen engagement to strengthen the nation’s democratic system and rule of law.

Mr. Lampo stressed the importance of CSOs to formulate policies on Safe Space which guard them in their engagement with the citizens for their support and active participation in national issues “If we want to enhance our engagement with citizens then there is a need for us to build strong partnerships, understand the Safe and Space module, where you will be able to know which people to involve, the language and what you want to achieve in the community. The Safe and Space is a sure way to also set the input of citizens to have a unified voice that seeks lasting solution,” Mr Lampo added.

Mr Issifu Lampo, taking the participants through Safe Space module

He further elucidated the need for identifying genuine engagement against forced engagement during interactions with authorities, emphasizing that genuine citizen engagement contributes to collective problem-solving and prioritization.

Participants for the two-day training programme were from various departments of the Parliament of Ghana and CSOs including FIDA, SEND Ghana, ABANTU, CDD Ghana,  NORSAAC, Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations  (GFD), and NETRIGHT.

 Source: expressnewsghana.com

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