The program Community Development develops society and local capacities to attain human security through the respect for human rights; demand for services from the state and realization of self-sufficiency, poverty reduction and sustainable development in Ghana.
It has two main components, namely: Governance and Population Health Environment (PHE). These two areas are integrated in such manner; it leads to building synergy in achieving the overall purpose of the program.
In simple terms, the program seeks to bring governance to the doorstep of ordinary citizens by giving them a voice and also, providing platforms for them to exercise it. The program organizes civil society to establish its presence and play its expected role in the tripod of governance (government, markets and civil society) by facilitating local capacity development for rights-based engagements between
- Citizens-Private sector
This enables participation, collaboration, transparency, respect for rule of law, responsiveness, consensus building, equity and inclusiveness, effectiveness and efficiency and accountability in policy development, implementation, monitoring and tracking public goods and services. Practically, it facilitates civil society, media, elected representatives, and traditional leaders’ engagement to enhance ordinary citizens’ ability to hold governments accountable, and improve delivery of essential public services (such as health and education).
Actions under Governance
Acknowledging the intricate inter-connection among humans, their health and their environment, Population, Health and Environment (PHE) initiatives attempt to address the challenges through efforts that simultaneously attempt to improve access to health services, especially family planning and reproductive health care services, but also water and sanitation issues. Concurrently it facilitates communities’ management of local natural resources through practices that improve their health and livelihoods and conserve critical ecosystems upon which they depend.
Actions under PHE
FoN targets community youth and stakeholder agencies for awareness creation and training. In coastal western Ghana; namely Shama, Sekondi-Takoradi, Ahanta-West, Nzema-East, Ellembelle and Jomoro, large populations are struggling with low dwindling fish catches and socio-economic destruction by coastal erosion has contributed to the vicious cycle of over exploitation of natural resources through unsustainable and illegal methods. These situations are induced by over-population and inadequate training/unemployment and to some extent, greed. Few examples of unsustainable utilization are
- Sand winning: Resultant in floods, and destruction of turtles’ nestling grounds (this is inimical to fishing and tourism),destruction of landing bases (communities’ economic avenues and Assemblies’ revenue potential reduced)
- Pollution of water bodies: Sources of drinking water for populations living in urban and rural areas (as is in the case of the Pra and Ankobra Rivers through illegal small-scale mining (galamsey), open defecation and indiscriminate mangrove extraction.
Implemented in only 4 out of the 6 coastal districts (due to funding constraints), the project facilitated capacity enhancement of the communities to plan, implement and carry out demand-driven integrated programs in health and conservation. In-school youth and teenagers in a total of 24 schools operating under the Ghana Education Service (GES) are being “groomed” as Youth Ecosystems Conservation Ambassadors. The program brought together the GES, the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission (WD) and, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).
As PHE is relatively new in Ghana, the community of practice is being augmented gradually through collaboration with the Esiama Community Health Nurses Training School (ECHNTS) to increase the number of PHE–savvy grassroots health personnel. Through this, messages of sustainable ecosystems utilization would touch base at all levels of society.
The United States Peace Corps (PCVs), other local volunteers and cooperation with local organizations like Central and Western Fishmongers Improvement Association (CEWEFIA), has availed communities a pool of trained persons who capably take into their own hands, their development agenda.
- Increased pool of personnel with adequate knowledge and training
- Efficient community participation and peer education
- Increased access to health, agricultural/fisheries extension services
- Provision of informal learning through drama and home visitations