17 September 2012

Ghana: Vulnerables Empowered to Hold Gov't Accountable

Vulnerable people, especially non-literate women and girls, have been empowered to hold traditional authorities, government officials and public servants accountable to provide resources and a conducive environment for social growth and development.

The people were empowered at a day's orientation workshop organised by PAMOJA Ghana Reflect Network in partnership with ActionAid Ghana in Accra. The workshop was on the theme "The Showcasing the Power of REFLECT in Sustainable Social Development." The workshop brought together people from various parts of the country. It was on the use of Regenerated Freirian Literacy Empowerment through Community Techniques (REFLECT).

The workshop was aimed at promoting the empowerment of the poor, the vulnerable and the excluded ones in society to assert and uphold their rights and responsibilities, and engage policy makers and implementers for enhanced access to education and other social goods and services.

The National Co-ordinator of PAMOJA Ghana Reflect Network, Millicent Akoto, explained that the workshop was meant to educate the people to stimulate effective development that responds to both individual and community needs. Madam Akoto added that this would contribute to poverty reduction at the grassroot levels as a result of the capacity building of individuals that would make vulnerable people improve upon the quality of their lives. Education, she noted, was the best tool for poverty eradication as well as development.

REFLECT includes a wider analysis of development through collective and individual efforts and involves participatory rural appraisal tools like maps, calendars, matrices and diagrams to analyse issues in the environment leading to identification and discussions of challenges, resulting in practical solutions for sustainable development.

The use of REFLECT increases citizens's participation in decision-making and engagement with policy processes through local and national advocacy, and building of stakeholder capacities in participatory decision-making methodologies which results in equitable distribution of resources and development.

Madam Akoto observed that in recent times, Civil Society Organisations have received unprecedented level of attention as partners in development. She wondered what the trends and tendencies in strategies and methodologies for programme implementation were; whether sustainable social developments in project areas were achieved; and what challenges confronted developers.

To help find solutions to these questions, she said PAMOJA Ghana in collaboration with ActionAid Ghana decided to organise the workshop on how to resolve some of the challenges in disadvantaged people's lives. Some of the participants expressed satisfaction about the event and noted that it had served as an eye opener for them to take education seriously.

PAMOJA Ghana Reflect Network is a group of youth and adult education practitioners who use mainly REFLECT and other participatory methods for literacy and development work.

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