The Northern Regional Stakeholders Engagement on the USAID/Ghana Performance Accountability Activity (PAA), has been held to brainstorm on ideas for achieving the PAA's objectives and identify potential barriers and strategies for overcoming them.
The day's event, held in Tamale and attended by representatives from public institutions, civil society organisations (CSOs)youth groups, trade organisations and the media, further explored ways to sustain the PAA's outcomes beyond its conclusion.
The PAA is a five-year $17.5 million USAID- funded activity to build on existing Ghanaian strategies, programmes and capacities, and leverage on related support being provided by USAID and other donors to reinforce ongoing Ghanaian efforts at promoting transparent, accountable, and inclusive governance.
It is being implemented by Democracy International in collaboration with Norsaac, a CSOto deepen accountability and promote citizens participation in local governancefocusing on improving public sector service delivery and adhering to quality standards.
Madam Linda Ofori-Kwafo, the Deputy Chief of Party of PAA, who gave details of the activity during the regional stakeholders' engagement in Tamale, said it was being implemented in 70 districts across 10 regions including NorthernNorth EastSavannah, Upper EastUpper WestOti, Volta, Western, Western North, and Central
Madam Ofori-Kwafo emphasised that the PAA's core objectives included increasing citizens' demand for responsive service delivery, enhancing government service efficiency through robust regulatory standards and empowering local-level public service providers to uphold quality standards by strengthening the connection between Ghanaian values and performance standards.
In the past decades, donor partners attempted to increase the quality and accountability of service delivery in the country without consistently recording sustainable impacts.
To overcome this situation, the PAA proposed a strategy that was inclusive, sustainablebehaviour-led, and collaborative, with an emphasis on social and behavioural change.
In addition to technical inputs in its interventions, the PAA would focus on underlying behavioural obstacles and facilitators at the level of valuesattitudesmotivations and social identities of service providers and citizen recipients of local government services.
This strategy focused on anchoring performance accountability activities to core Ghanaian values of respect, solidarity, and collectivism, as well as traditional participative structures and authority systems that held significant cultural weight.
Madam Ofori-Kwafo added that the PAA would enhance the capacity of government partners including Ministries, Agencies, and the targeted 70 districts as well as civil society and community-based organisations to implement behaviour-led capacity building and institutional strengthening interventions.
Mr Mohammed Awal Alhassan, the Executive Director of Norsaac said the PAA would provide an opportunity for citizens to connect effectively with public sector institutions in ensuring accountability at both the national decentralised levels, where a significant portion of national resources were expended and complemented by local resource mobilisation
Mr Alhassan said the activity could not have come at any time better than nowas the world was grappling with economic challenges with dwindling resource availability, thereby requiring a more efficient and accountable utilisation of the limited resources that nations could lay their hands on for development.
He called on the Regional Coordinating Councils, chiefs, queen mothers, media, and all other stakeholders to lend their support for the successful implementation of the PAA.
Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, the Northern Regional Minister, who was represented during the event said it was incumbent on the districts to involve citizens in all their activities as well as be accountable and transparent to the people.
Alhaji Saibu lauded the PAA, saying it would help enhance service delivery at the local level, expressing support for its implementation.
Participants expressed support for the PAA and shared ideas to help ensure its successful implementation.