African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) held a two-day intensive capacity building workshop for some CSOs from the three regions of the North in Tamale to engender effective participation and representation of citizens in governance and decision-making processes through enhanced civil society –parliament engagement.
The training was to ensure building professional competence of CSOs for a constructive engagement with the Parliament of Ghana.
It was also to help the participants to take advantage of the workshop to network and form synergies with the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and individual Legislators to leverage Parliament for decision making to bring about development in the country.
The training with funding from the French Embassy was also to help enhance the capacity of CSOs to coordinate effectively and engage their local constituency in order to appropriately capture and articulate their voices at the national level.
Some of the beneficial CSOs were the Centre for Active Leaning and Development (CALID), Songtaba, Urbanet, NORSAAC, Grameen-Ghana, Partnership for Rural Development (PRUDA), TradeAID, NORPRA and CODAC.
A senior Governance Advisor Mr Issifu Lampo noted that the Parliamentarians are in parliament to help address the needs of the people they represent and therefore the need to be held accountable by citizens.
He noted that the Parliament of Ghana is a major national stakeholder that is critical to the public policy advocacy of CSOs in making the voices of CSOs heard in decision-making processes.
He stressed the need for the parliamentarians to attend to the needs of their constituency in order to help know their grievances for redress.
“The ability to engage duty bearers in decision making will influence change in society and the nation at large” he stated.
The Executive Director of ACEPA Dr Rasheed Draman stated that“Parliament is a very conservative institution, and we don’t want civil society groups to just get up and go and start making noise and in the process the messages are lost, and so we wanted to ensure that there is a constructive way of engagement.”
“We wanted to ensure that there are proper mechanisms of engagement so that these groups when they get up and they want to engage, at least they know what to say and they know how to focus on the issues that are important and they know how to engage the members of Parliament” he added.
He emphasised the need for the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs to constructively engage Civil Society Organizations across the country at all levels of the decision-making processes.
He said the training was to build the capacity of CSOs to effectively engage parliament through their input into drafting laws and budget deliberations.
According to him it will also encourage the CSOs to engage the Parliamentarians for more effective oversight legislation and representation.