The Country Director of CARE International in Ghana, Ambassador Elkanah Odembo has undertaken a working visit to Wawase, a community in the Afigya Kwabre District of the Ashanti Region.
The visit was to enable him interact with citizens of the community and to observe at first-hand in what ways the Ghana’s Strengthening Accountability Mechanisms (GSAM) project had empowered the citizens and contributed to improved implementation of infrastructural projects in the community.
In February 2016, the Afigya Kawbre District Assembly, in line with its development mandate, identified, planned and awarded for construction a Social Centre at Wawase.
The GSAM project supported Access to Life Foundation (ALF), a civil society organisation, to build the capacity of citizens in Wawase to monitor the project from initiation until completion and handing over. The community members were given the opportunity to meet with the assembly officials to put forward their concerns and get them addressed.
The project was subsequently commissioned and opened for use by the community and its neighbours for social events and public activities on December, 2nd 2016.
Observations and impressions during the visit
Conducting the CD and his team round the centre, the Assemblyman for the Wawase Electoral Area, Hon Solomon Sarfo explained that the Social Centre was originally designed to be an open space for public events. However, when the citizens were given the opportunity to share their concerns, they advocated adjustments to be made to the design of the project to include a conference room, changing rooms and washrooms.
He said the District Assembly responded favourably to the requests of the citizens and made changes to the project design.
“The Assembly sourced additional funds and constructed the centre to meet the community’s needs,” he noted.
Visibly impressed with this result, Mr Odembo enquired from the citizens how the facility was being used, how it was being managed and maintained and also the benefits the community was deriving from the project.
From the citizens’ responses, it was established that a seven member management committee – made up of five males and two females – had been set up to supervise, manage and maintain the centre. A levy of GH¢100.00 has also been fixed for citizens to pay anytime they use the centre for events. Monies accruing from the use of the centre are lodged in a bank account for the maintenance of the building and pay for its utilities.
Ambassador Odembo advised the committee members and those who were part of the GSAM project intervention to apply the knowledge they gained from the GSAM project to other projects that the District Assembly would implement in their community.
He encouraged the leadership of the community to take keen interest in capital projects being executed in their communities and take active part in the process and also give support to their citizenry to demand accountability from duty bearers.
Ambassador Odembo, who was accompanied by the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist for the GSAM project, Mr Samuel Addai-Boateng and other key personnel, later made a stop at the Wawase Chief Palace to express his condolence to the family on the demise of chief. He was shown paintings and plaque documentation about the history, transition and major events that took place in the community, including GSAM activities. The CD was particularly impressed about the quality and precision the late Wawasehene, Nana Oboadum Kusi Antwi II, took to document historical antecedents and display them openly in the palace.
Article & Photos: Peter Porekuu