Our City, Our Say: Including women’s voices in local governance
“People are finally starting to see how the taxes they pay are linked to the ability of the city to deliver services.” —Global Communities
people reached through radio programmes
2 Toll-free Hotlines
established to make citizen complaints free of charge
June 2014 End date
In Sekondi-Takoradi, as in the rest of Ghana, very few women are involved in politics.
Less than 10% of Members of Parliament are female and, despite Ghana's vibrant women's movement, women’s voices are often excluded from public debate at the local, municipal and national levels.
Global Communities is working with the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) to ensure the poorest residents of the city, and particularly women, have a voice in prioritising and improving the city’s service delivery.
The project builds on a long term partnership between Global Communities and the STMA, which is the local government of the twin cities of Sekondi and Takoradi. Already, the partnership includes a citizen report card system and a toll-free customer service hotline.
Funding from Making all Voices Count increases the ability of the team to follow up on complaints raised in the citizen report cards, and publicly advocate for citizens’ priorities in service delivery through production of a new governance-focussed radio programme ‘Our City: Our Say’.
Our City: Our Say’ uses information from phone in guests and the toll-free hotline to publicise where government is failing to deliver services. The programme also features city employees, service providers and elected officials answering questions about how Sekondi-Tekoradi district can improve its services, and represents a unique opportunity for ordinary people to interact with their local government.
Global Communities is an international non-profit organisation that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable people.
Governments need to learn how to listen – but citizens and civil society need to learn how to communicate effectively
When government representatives can’t resolve issues, they won’t respond, it’s as simple as that.
Global Communities saw that citizens submitted ´very big´ issues to the Department of Infrastructure about roads that needed to be built whereas the department simply did not have the budget nor the capacity to do it.
It's a two way conversation. Although the responsibility is placed on government, simple logic about ‘how to get things done’ needs to be applied.
Successful civil society groups know this: Ask for what’s reasonable. Understand limitations; Make sure you know the path towards the ultimate goal.
This is a new concept in citizen reporting and citizen complain mechanisms, but one that we at Making All Voices Count see recurring frequently.
Monitoring tools are successful when it´s part of a government’s working process
The most effective service provision-monitoring mechanisms are part of the government department’s performance management system - where heads of department ask employees about how they are responding to complaints.
In Sekondi Takoradi, the Department of Waste Management uses the projects´ platform to respond to citizens’ complaints because it forms part of their job. They have a clear responsibility to respond to these issues, and their Head of Department holds them accountable if they don’t follow up these complaints.
In other departments, where this platform is not part of the working process, it’s often not used at all - because duty bearers have other priorities for which they are being held accountable by the Head of Department.