Socioserve-Ghana holds workshop for ‘hard to reach and island communities’

Socioserve Ghana Workshop Some personalities at the event

Tue, 21 Jul 2020 Source: Michael Oberteye, Contributor

Hard to reach and island communities in the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region will this year have the opportunity to directly push for the inclusion of various issues of bother to their communities for inclusion in the 2020 manifestos of the various political parties and the medium term development plans of three district assemblies.

Various communities are difficult to access by virtue of their locations, to ascertain issues bothering them during elections and Socioserve-Ghana, a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Akosombo is providing these communities with the platform to present their issues to policy makers through its ‘promoting inclusion of hard to reach and island communities in the 2020 elections’ project.

The NGO as part of this project on Monday, July 20, 2020 held a day’s capacity building workshop for various civic groups based in the respective hard to reach and island communities in the Asuogyaman District, at the assembly hall of the Asuogyaman Municipal Assembly.

Programmes Manager for Socioserve-Ghana, Mrs. Rita Ntoso Ofoe explained that the NGO aims to get dwellers of the affected areas contribute meaningfully in the upcoming elections.

“We have realized that during elections, issues of hard to reach communities, especially those of the island communities do not get to the table and so our aim is to get those in the island communities to meaningfully participate in the 2020 elections and also get their issues into the political party manifestoes and also get their issues into the district assembly medium term development plan so that their issues can be addressed when the 2021-2024 medium term development plan is being developed and also get the parties to also address the issues of those communities,” said the Programmes manager.

The project, she added is being implemented in three districts in Asuogyaman, Afram Plains North and Afram Plains South, all in the Eastern Region.

Representatives from the assembly included the district planning officer, budget officer, national commission for civic education (NCCE), finance officer as well as representatives of the various political parties and persons living with disabilities.

The various participants are expected to present the issues raised to their respective leaders for the appropriate decisions and actions in the run up to the December polls.

Action plans towards the implementation of the issues raised were developed as part of the workshop and Mrs. Ofoe said the various issues raised during the training informed a holistic approach to the drawing of the action plan.

Asuogyaman District Electoral Officer, Watara Mumuni whose role is to enlighten various sections of society on what is engaged in the electoral processes leading to the elections as part of the project, outlined the evolution of Ghana’s Election Management Body over the years through the colonial and various administrative regimes to the creation of the current electoral system through Article 42 and its corresponding functions in Article 43 and the Act 451 of parliament which established the commission.

His presentation also captured the various reforms that have taken place through the period as well as Ghana’s current political system which created the current electoral system.

The District Electoral Officer further outlined the processes of demarcation of electoral boundaries, the compilation of electoral roll and the public display or exhibition of the provisional register.

Participants, as part of the workshop, outlined various issues they want policy makers address. These include bad road networks to hard to reach areas and islands, lack of potable drinking water, lack of electricity, outboard motors and subsidized fishing materials for fisherfolks and the call for good sanitation facilities including public toilets.

The PWDs on the other hand, identified issues such as lack of mobility and assistive devices and special guides, non-inclusion in the manifesto planning committees of the various political parties, lack of education on the electoral process, inaccessibility of polling stations and the absence of tactile ballot paper for the blind as issues of bother to them.

The project is being funded by STAR-Ghana Foundation.

Source: Michael Oberteye, Contributor