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Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance

Group of women in traditional garments
Female leaders from Ghana's Western Region took part in a USAID-supported workshop to introduce them to the local governance system.

Ghana is a stable, democratic country with a free press, independent judiciary, apolitical military, and active civil society. USAID supports Ghana’s efforts to consolidate democracy by strengthening civic participation in democratic processes and ensuring that local and national governments are responsive to the needs and interests of their citizens. In 2011, USAID commissioned an independent assessment of governance and democracy in Ghana. The Ghana Democracy and Governance Assessment provides exceptional research and insight in the areas of decentralization and other administrative reforms, rule of law, civil society and the electoral process.

Governance and Rule of Law

USAID supports Ghana’s efforts to strengthen civic participation in democratic processes and ensure that local and national governments are responsive to the needs and interests of their citizens.

In Ghana’s Western Region, we are increasing local governments’ capacity to plan, budget and implement their work effectively—and with citizen input. We supported a citizen survey to assess current knowledge and opinions on local governance issues. By supporting 21 civil society organizations with small grants, we enhance citizen participation in local governance and promote the responsiveness of local authorities and staff to civil society. Our program engages traditional authorities—including women leaders—and formal local government on issues such as community spatial planning and land use. Other recent accomplishments include spatial mapping to improve the accuracy of property ownership databases.

We also support a rigorous monitoring and evaluation system for a government assistance program to reduce poverty. Since 2008, the Ghana Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare has conducted a cash transfer program targeted toward 45,000 of the most vulnerable households. These extremely poor households (often including the elderly, orphans and vulnerable children, and persons with severe disabilities) have no alternative means of meeting basic needs. However, apart from anecdotes, the ministry did not have the information it needed on the program’s performance and impact.  

With USAID’s assistance, the ministry will be able to measure and assess to what extent the cash is reaching the intended beneficiaries on a regular basis. The evaluation system will also help the government assess the impact of the program and how to best lift vulnerable households out of poverty. 

Last updated: April 16, 2015

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