Dialogues for Change: MPs and Citizens Working Together for Inclusive Development 

Overview

The project sought to achieve accountability and inclusion in development by bringing citizens’ voice especially voices of people in hard to reach communities, unemployed youth, youth in and out of schools, Persons with Disability (PWDs), women in the informal sector (small scale business) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), into the decision-making/law making process in Parliament. Ultimately, the project wanted to ensure responsive citizens’ representation that meets the needs and aspiration of all by enhancing the capacity of vulnerable and excluded groups to engage, create spaces for these groups to engage and lastly, advocate for the institutionalization of parliament-citizens engagements. The project was implemented from 2017 to 2019. 

Interventions

The project worked with the Parliamentary select committees on Education and Health. At the local level, the project engaged citizens, Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from district assemblies from the Northern (former) and Eastern regions of Ghana. Decentralized departments and state institutions such as the National Commission for Civic Education were also engaged. Interventions included:

  • Capacity building for target parliamentary committees around citizens engagement; and advocacy to get the committees to value Parliament-Citizens’ engagement and adopt it as a mechanism for including citizens’ voices in decision making
  • Mobilization of citizens groups and CSOs around thematic issues and building their capacity towards engaging parliament
  • Parliament-citizens engagements in selected districts
  • Media advocacy around Parliament-Citizens’ engagement

Outcomes

The project successfully: 

  • created spaces and opportunities for citizens (particularly vulnerable and marginalized groups such as women, youth, Persons with Disability etc) to engage with the Committee on Education of the Parliament of Ghana. Citizens were able to articulate their experiences and needs as it related to the education sector.  
  • opened up the Committee on Education to new ways of engaging citizens, whereby extensive dialogue was fostered on thematic basis and specific groups such as the vulnerable and the underserved segment of the public were targeted for their views. 
  • built the capacities of citizens (particularly vulnerable and marginalized groups such as women, youth, Persons with Disability etc) to not only engage parliament and other duty bearers, but also to claim more spaces and make their voices heard in decision-making particularly at the local level. 
  • provided opportunities for state agencies/service providers such as the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Ghana Education Service and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to directly engage citizens within their localities. 
  • Produced a manual on Parliament-Citizens’ Engagement to serve as a reference material for parliamentary committees and CSOs working to bridge the parliament-citizens gap.  

Partners 

  • Parliament of Ghana
  • NORSAAC
  • Socio-Serve Ghana
  • STAR-Ghana Foundation

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