Ghana’s Strengthening Accountability Mechanism (GSAM) has deepened its monitoring concept in Wassa East District of the Western Region, focusing on the assembly’s capital projects for the past six years.
GSAM, which has so far monitored efficient execution of eight capital projects in the district, including school blocks, CHPS compounds, market centres and a police station, will from January this year cover three more areas. These are health, water and sanitation and education, with particular emphasis on health issues, which have been identified as the major challenge facing the people.
Reports indicate that many HIV patients in Wassa East see distance as a barrier because they do not have the means of travelling to health centres for their anti-retroviral drugs. The monitoring exercise is therefore to ensure safety and comfort of the residents in the heavily populated district in addition to value for money.
Ten strategic communities have been selected as a pilot project under the assembly’s four-year medium term development plan.
Information available to the Daily Statesman has it that a team of experts from different non-governmental member groups of GSAM such as USAID, ISODEC, OXFAM, and CARE visited Wassa East on November three last year to study situation on the ground ahead of monitoring.
Support for Community Mobilization Projects and Programmes (SCMPP), a local non-governmental organisation, is the implementing agency of the GSAM project in Wassa East, assisted by 75 trained monitors.
At a stakeholders’ meeting at Daboase to deliberate on the way forward, the team leader of SCMPP, Agyapah Buah, lauded GSAM for widening its monitoring scope, which he said would go a long way to deepen demand for accountability from government and service providers.
Besides using indicators to score higher marks in the three aforementioned key areas, Mr Agyapah said the deepened concept would promote local government participation amongst women, the youth, civil society and community based organisations.
The team leader outlined activities to be embarked on by stakeholders to enable the communities evaluate ongoing projects and also improve their responsiveness to issues pertaining to local governance. These include interface meetings with service providers, Town Hall Meetings, consultations and empowering the residents and CSOs to advocate for quality service delivery. Mr Agyapah Buah also spoke about radio programmes to disseminate information on Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly development projects as well as stakeholders’ meetings to enable the residents advocate for improved HIV service delivery.
The GSAM project seeks to empower the under privileged, marginalized and vulnerable segment of society and is being implemented in 50 districts throughout the country. Approaches adopted in the implementation of the project include behavioural change, leveraging knowledge, skills and capacity of CSOs and Community score cards.
The project is in its seventh year of implementation and subjected to review every two years.