2. KEY PARTNERS;MINISTRY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT&RURAL DEVELOPMENT (MLGRD)
3. NERTHALAND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIO(SNV) SINCE 2012.
1.1 Brief Background; The key objectives of the local government is to improve allocation of public resources, services provision and promote economic development. Decentralization and local governance does not only bring service providers closer to the citizens but also makes citizens part of the local decision making processes. Local governance is therefore expected to encourage government responsiveness to citizen's participation and, in the end, greater effectiveness, efficiency and accountability. However, the decentralization of governance structure alone does not automatically facilitate the increased participation of civil society or an improvement in the accountability of government. Decentralization is more beneficial if it is accompanied
1.2 The expected number the cross sections of the targeted people; groups by pro-active effort to involve citizens and stimulate pro-accountability processes. Social accountability is one of the key elements of local governance which brings the full benefit of citizens, participation and development to the decentralized local government systems. Social accountability is a mechanism or tool that is applied to development management with the aim of ensuring that stake holders adhere to the rules of participation and achieve better efficiency in performance for all stakeholders .Recognizing the importance of effective institutions in positioning cities as engines of growth and poverty reduction, the government of Ghana in collaboration with World Bank have initiated "Local Government Capacity Support Programme(LGCSP)for fort-six(46)Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies in Ghana. The implementation of the LGCSP involves three key state institutions; the Ministry for Local Government and Rural Development(MLGRD),Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning(MoFEP) and the Local Government Service Secretariat(LGSS) The Social Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability(SPEFA) process is the third component of the Local Government Capacity Support Project and SNV-Ghana has been awarded a consultancy service to lead a consortium of Civil Society Organizations for the implementation of the project. SPEFA will promote abroad range of actions using different tools such as participatory planning and budgeting, public expenditure tracking, monitoring of public service delivery, interactive radio discussions and many others. SPEFA would also bring both (Duty bearers(public officials) and rights-holders(citizens) together to share information directly and openly on developmental issues which ultimately affect citizens
The overall aim of the SPEFA is to improve citizens participations in urban management and increase their participation in development decision making with the metropolitan/municipal assemblies. The project is targeted at achieving the following broad objectives;
1 To provide consistent and high quality support for the development and operationalization of civil society-led SPEFA processes in the MMAs.
2 To build the knowledge and capacities of civil society organizations(CSOs) community based organizations(CBOs) and communities in Local government public financial Management(LGPFM)to equip them to engage Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies(MMs) and their sub- structures on these issues.
3 To strengthen CSOs/CBOs/NGOS, Members of parliament, Traditional and community leaders to effectively engage with the MMAs and sub-District structures on public financial management issues.
4 To support and underpin the government's Decentralization Policy Framework and associated policy implementation Framework and action plan on social accountability.
It has been noted that urban duellers tend to be more individualistic than communal in their livelihoods behaviours. This contrasts with the community mindedness of rural duellers. The individualistic attitudes of the urban duellers tend to make mobilization for communal action a challenge. Various actors and stakeholders at different levels of the local government system would be engaged to elicit their perceptions on pertinent issues relating to social accountability. A multi- pronged approach involving dialogues with the stakeholders to understand their perspective of issues, outlining and following through definitive processes, developing and delivering targets-specific training contents and collaboratively establishing support systems with the stakeholders would be applied to enable the achievement of the stated objectives.
OUTLINE OF CORE ACTIVITIES CARRIED DURING THE PERIOD UNDER REVIEW.
+IDENTIFICATION & REVIEW FORMATION OF SPEFA GROUPS(CITIZENS GROUPS/CSOs).
+RE- LAUNCHING OF SPEFA PROJECT.
+HOLD SPEFA MEETING/FORUM/TRAINING.
+HOLD TOWN HALL MEETINGS
+EMBARK ON FOLLOW UPS TO DEAL WITH ISSUES.
+PROVIDE ACTIVITY REPORT
DELIVERABLES/OUTPUT OF ACTIVITIES;
+120 MEMBERSHIP SPEFA GROUPS FORMED
+SPEFA PROJECT OFFICALLY RE-LAUNCHED IN THE NZEMA EAST MUNICIPALITY.
+FOUR(4)SPEFA MEETINGS/FORA/TRAININNGS ORGANIZED.
+TWO(2)TOWN HALL MEETINGS HELD/MEDIA PROGRAMMES
+SPEFA GROUPS ABLE TO IDENTIFY&DEALING WITH ISSUES.
+FOUR(4) QUARTERLY &A FINAL REPORTS SUBMITTED TO NCU./KEY STAKEHOLDERS.
WHAT WENT ON WELL (ANNUAL SUMMARY)
(!)Participation and contributions made at both SPEFA meeting and town hall meetings by the audience that include the MMA staff, traditional rulers, youth, women, CSOs, media and other citizens groups were very useful for the advancement of the project.
(2) Training and meeting organized for citizens/SPEFA groups to develop their abilities to engage the state actors and government officials were successfully organized.
(3)The state actors presentations at various SPEFA meetings/form & Town hall meetings enabled them to capture the trust and confidence of the public and the citizens groups ie. the rights owners.
(4)Cooperation from both duty bearers and demand sides to carry out the year one activities that led to the SPEFA groups formation thereafter, led to the emergence of a SPEFA Central committee to coordinate SPEFA activities and to promote a strong coalition among the citizen groups.
(5) Approach for the engagements and handling of issues by the citizen groups /CSOs without confrontation, helping the municipal assembly to provide gradual solutions to the issues currently identified without suspicion or any reservations. For example the issue of establishing a market complex in Axim which the women requested has been accepted for funding by the Ghana Social Investment Fund-Accra.
(6) In spite of the presence of only one recognized FM radio and four community radio stations the media had not faired badly mostly the Ankobra FM station whose staff showed their presence at every SPEFA event during the period.
WHAT NEED IMPROVEMENT
Need to reach more people through the effective use of the community radios and the organization of SPEFA forum and town hall meetings at the zonal councils.
Increase information to the SPEFA groups and their leadership to improve their engagement of the actors/government officials.
ACHIEVEMENT AND CHALLENGES
(1) The Stake holders trust has been won as a result of the community entry approach. Therefore, enabled us to organize the planned four (4) SPEFA meetings /fora/trainings and
the two(2)town hall meetings jointly with the municipal assembly successfully.
Current membership of the SPEFA groups stands at 135with 33% being females.
(2) There is exiting cordial collaboration among the municipal actors and the SPEFA groups .
(3) SPEFA activities leading to the identification of citizens priority needs (salient issues) for the municipal assembly act to tackle.
Example, the disbursement of the 2% disable fund,
ways to improve internal generation of fund to enable the municipal assemble to implement some project besides the common fund ¢ral government projects.
(4) Improving signs of accountability and transparency in the use of public funds, goods and services delivery by the duty bearers and public officials to the rights owners.
(5) Citizens involvement in the Nzema East Municipal planning and budget processes, decisions and the procurement management witnessed appreciable level of improvement during the period under review.
(I)Reduction of the citizens demand for much reward as a result of poor volunteeri sm and lack of social commitment to learn and have time to engage the duty bearers need to be dealt with.
The trainings and the information sharing was a good strategy or tool which must continue.
(1)Citizen groups cooperation and appreciation of the actors frustrations and dilemma was realized during the period and this has paved the way for the project to organize subsequent platforms in the second year.
(2)The SPEFA activities brought to bear the weaknesses and the non -functioning of the zonal councils which both citizen/CSOs and the municipal authority must work towards their improvement.
(3) It was also observed the training ,sharing information and providing the citizens voices at public fora will contribute towards the improvement of social accountability and good governance at the local level
(4)SCMPP therefore recommend for the effective applications of the laid down STEPS for SA tools ,as spelt out in the SPEFA training manual by all the CSOs(IPs) & their SPEFA Groups. We are very grateful to the NCU Team and our key collaborators such as the ILGS..