The governance forums taking place in the Nandom and Sissala-East Districts, and Wa Municipality are the second in the series of meetings to be held by the MFWA and its partners, the Programme Manager for Media, Good Governance and Democracy at MFWA, Ms Abigail Larbi Odei said.

MFWAThe ongoing dialogue running from August 2 to 3, 2016 would offer an opportunity for citizens to engage their local authorities on pertinent governance and other pressing development issues, Ms Odei told the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday.

This would afford the assemblies the opportunity to respond to questions and concerns raised by community members, she said.

Basic issues such as roads, water, sanitation, tolls, markets, local development projects, planning and budgeting and common fund allocations are expected to be addressed.

According to Ms Odei the sessions are being broadcast live on partner radio stations.

“They will feature district officials from the assembly including the chief executive, heads of departments, assemblymen, unit and zonal committee members, women, youth, Persons with Disability, community based organisations and officials from the US Embassy,” she said.

The dialogues formed part of the MFWA efforts to improve citizens’ access to information and participation in local governance processes.

It is under the project title: “Promoting Participatory and Accountable Democratic Governance through Professional Media and Community Dialogues in the Upper West Region.

The project has for the past eight months created and increased platforms for citizens-local authorities’ engagement in the three districts of the Region.

She said it is being implemented with funding support from the Embassy of the United States of America, and has seen the production and broadcast of about 30 weekly local governance interactive radio programmes – “Time with the Assembly” on partner stations.

Topics discussed included the assembly, its work and structures; information disclosure and engagement efforts by the local assembly; medium term development planning for communities and sources of funding to assemblies and revenue mobilisation.

The rest are: challenges with disbursement of 2 per cent allocation of the District Assemblies Common Fund to Persons with Disability; sanitation and waste management; and the citizen’s role in promoting local development.

There has also been periodic and interactive “State of the District Radio Broadcasts” which featured the chief executives of the project districts to discuss the state of the district and the way forward.

Ms Odei said the project has, amongst others, resulted in increased citizens’ awareness and knowledge of the work of assemblies, improved revenue mobilization and increased authorities’ responsiveness to local development concerns.

“Listener satisfaction of the radio programmes is demonstrated in the increased phone calls and messages sent via SMS and other social media platforms,” she said.

The MFWA’s project collaborators are Sissala-East District, Radford FM and Action for Sustainable Development; Nandom District, Radio Freed and Partnership for Rural Development Action; Wa Municipal Assembly, Radio Progress and Centre for the Alleviation of Poverty, the Environment and Child Support.

Source: GNA/News Ghana

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