The fourth phase of the Empowerment for Life (E4L) Program has been launched to improve government transparency, accountability, and performance through civil society engagement.
This phase of the E4L Program focuses on equity and sustainable development for all, and its thematic areas include education, governance and inclusive growth and employment, with issues of youth as crosscutting themes.
It seeks to enhance the capacity of civil society organisations (CSOs) to play a crucial role to ensure there is improvement in the distribution and use of resources in the education sector especially at the basic level.
Under the program, rural communities in five districts in the Northern Region including Mion, Kumbungu, Nanton, Karaga, and the Savelugu Municipality will receive a range of support to make them climate adaptive and have improved livelihoods and resilience, whilst there will be increased focus on advocacy and networking at national and international levels.
The four-year program, which will end in 2023, is being implemented by the Youth Empowerment for Life, Ghana and the Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA) and their subsidiary units – School for Life, and Changing Lives in Innovative Partnerships.
It is being funded with an amount of 5.6 million dollars by the Ghana Friends, and the Civil Society in Development, which are Danish organisations.
Alhaji Osman Abdel-Rahaman, Executive Director of GDCA, during the launch of the program in Tamale on Wednesday, said it was to amongst others respond to new development challenges such as increased inequality, youth unemployment and corruption in the country.
The E4L Program began in 2009, and this new phase of the programme builds on strategies and lessons learned from the phase three of the programme.
During the phase three of the program, partners worked to strengthen the organizational capacity, technical skills, and ability of 240 local community based-organisations to promote a vibrant civil society that improves the rights and livelihoods of people in the northern part of the country.
The current phase, therefore, seeks to ensure that the intervention remains sustainable and that the results achieved in the form of stronger local civil society, will catalyse change beyond the groups themselves and benefit more people through increased focus on the national level.
Professor David Millar, President of Millar Open University, who delivered the keynote address during the launch, expressed the need for affirmative action for the northern part of the country to address its peculiar development needs.
Professor Millar, therefore, urged stakeholders to take firm stance on some developmental issues and articulate them within this political season such that they would become part of the agenda of the political parties to implement when they assumed power.
He raised issues with the centralization of decisions regarding certain development interventions at the local levels, which affected social accountability, expressing the need to give the people opportunity to prioritise their needs.
Professor Seidu Al-hassan, former Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University for Development Studies, who chaired the event, called for meritocracy in society by assigning responsibilities to qualified people as well as ensuring thorough implementation of policies to ensure the well-being of the citizens.