Business News of 2013-12-22

STAR-Ghana signs grant agreement with partners

STAR-Ghana has awarded financial grants totalling 45 million United States dollars to it partners in Democratic Governance and Access to Justice.

Six out of the 29 partners under these criteria signed the agreement at a ceremony in Accra on Friday.

The grant is to help improve access to justice for all Ghanaians and also strengthen democratic governance through civil society engagement and advocacy.

Beneficiaries for the Democratic Governance were Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), VOICE-Ghana and the MultiMedia Group Ltd, while those for the Access to Justice were African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA), Community Development Alliance, as well as the Centre for Public Interest Law.

Mr Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu, Programme Manager of STAR-Ghana, said out of the total of 200 applications received, 29 were selected for the grant with the major areas being the Democratic Governance and Access to Justice.

They are to look at strengthening civil society engagements with Independent Government Institutions (IGIs).

Platforms for citizens’ engagement with IGI on rights and administrative justice would be strengthened and citizens’ monitoring of, and engagement with the Constitution Review process with regards to the justice sector would be greatly enhanced for improved social inclusion.

Mr Amidu said the projects to be carried out also aimed at strengthening pro-poor justice mechanisms in areas such as legal education, particularly for excluded social groups, on issues such as protection of rights and conflict resolution.

This, he said, would ensure simplifying legal processes and procedures in user friendly and accessible formats and language would be beneficial, particularly for excluded social groups.

Mr Amidu said strengthening formal and non-formal mechanisms such as Alternative Dispute Resolution which complement the formal justice system would improve access to justice in the country.

The main areas for the Democratic Governance include enhancing decentralised governance in Ghana through evidence-based advocacy on implementation of the National Decentralisation Action Plan.

Democratic Governance is also geared towards improving the usage of Information and Communications Technology and Social Media to enhance citizen’s engagement with decentralised governance structures, particularly district, municipal and metropolitan assemblies.

The beneficiaries thanked STAR-Ghana for the initiative and pledged to work hard to achieve the aims and objectives of their respective contract projects.