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Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance

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Woman with placard reading "women equal to men"
Women in Northern Ghana march to petition passing of affirmative action bill
USAID/Ghana

Ghana is a democratic nation with active political parties, a vibrant media, a history of successful political transitions, freedom of the press, an independent judiciary, and a strong civil society. Ghana has held eight free and fair elections since 1992, and continues to address corruption, poor governance, and weak accountability that slows its journey to self-reliance. USAID’s Democracy, Rights, and Governance Program supports the country to improve political, financial and performance accountability, ensuring that the government is transparent, answerable, and responsive to the public. USAID also supports Ghana’s efforts to address long-term challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and internal conflicts, especially in the northern part of the country, and implements interventions that support communities to prevent threats of violent extremism.

STRENGTHENING LOCAL GOVERNANCE

USAID works with the GoG to build the capacity of local governments to provide statutory services and govern their communities effectively and efficiently. Interventions include: 
Improving local government service delivery and strengthening their ability to generate revenue to meet local development goals. 
Improving agricultural governance in northern Ghana through sectoral policy reforms, land and other conflict mitigation measures, and women’s economic empowerment activities.  
USAID/Ghana has provided support to strengthen the competencies and effectiveness of 50 metropolitan, municipal, and district assemblies to improve their responsiveness to citizens’ priorities, feedback, and concerns. This has significantly improved service delivery, especially in agriculture, where women's access to improved inputs, land and fertilizers has tremendously increased.

INCREASING GOVERNANCE ACCOUNTABILITY AND COMBATING CORRUPTION

To achieve long-term stability and economic growth, Ghana needs strong governmental institutions that deliver public services transparently and with accountability. USAID/Ghana supports the GoG to increase accountability and combat corruption by:

  • Partnering with the Ghana Audit Service to conduct audits of the performance of state institutions on selected activities and programs across sectors.
  • Supporting civil society organizations to reduce corruption, strengthen incentives, and improve accountability through monitoring procurements, town hall meetings and information-sharing. 
  • Working with citizens and civil society groups to demand improved services from service providers.
  • Supporting the rollout of an integrated court case tracking system (CTS) that tracks criminal cases in the justice delivery system, from their introduction through sentencing or acquittal. 
  • Improving accountability of the political class, and reinforcing civil society efforts to promote reforms and strengthen public financial management systems.

USAID/Ghana facilitated refresher training on utilization of the CTS for over 1,500 staff from the Ghana Police and Prisons Services, the Judicial Service, Economic and Organized Crime Offices, Legal Aid Commission, and the Attorney General’s Department, in addition to providing internet access for about 500 out of a total of 757 CTS sites, to enhance the effective tracking of criminal cases. This has helped to increase utilization of the case tracking system from about 10% in September 2021 to about 40% as of March 2022.

STRENGTHENING ELECTION INSTITUTION AND PROCESSES

To improve the integrity of Ghana’s electoral and political processes, USAID partners with civil society to enhance electoral transparency, local government accountability and strengthen conflict management and mitigation mechanisms to foster sustainable peace and stability in the country. Interventions include:

  • Educating citizens on political processes, including civic, voter and peace education, for district assembly, presidential and parliamentary elections.
  • Promoting engagements between political parties and youth groups to ensure that party manifestos respond to the needs and aspirations of the youth.
  • Supporting the establishment of peace and mediation committees to address election-related violence and political vigilantism.
  • Supporting local domestic election observation and parallel vote tabulation to verify presidential and parliamentary election results.
  • Implementing initiatives to enhance increased active participation of women, youth and persons with disabilities in governance processes.

USAID/Ghana contributed to enhancing the credibility and transparency of Ghana’s 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary elections by training and deploying 4,000 election day observers and employing a Parallel Vote Tabulation methodology to independently verify the presidential results declared by the Electoral Commission. In collaboration with the National Commission for Civic Education, a total of 520 civic educators were deployed in all 260 districts of the country to inform and educate citizens on voter participation, peace and electoral processes.

COMBATTING CONFLICTS AND VIOLENT EXTREMISM

When conflicts are reduced in northern Ghana and citizens, especially women and the youth, advocate for the wellbeing of their families and the security of their communities, sustainable development in that part of the country becomes possible. To sustain peaceful communities and resilience against conflict and violent extremism in northern Ghana, USAID interventions: 

  • Strengthen community resilience through improved citizen security and community cohesion.  
  • Build community capacity to identify and utilize locally led and practical solutions to prevent, mitigate and recover from conflicts triggered by ethnic, political and religious divisions.
  • Engage peace actors and citizens to manage and mitigate conflicts. 
  • Utilize early warning systems and networks to combat violent conflicts and counter violent extremism.
  • Support women’s groups and networks to adopt peacebuilding mechanisms within their communities to strengthen conflict resolution and prevention. 

USAID supported a series of training programs on alternate dispute resolution (ADR) and conflict mediation for 159 citizens and traditional authorities in northern Ghana, resulting in strengthened stakeholder collaboration and improved conflict management at the local levels. The mediation process also contributed to the resolution of 39 conflicts in 2020, while an early warning mechanism was used  to defuse tensions from escalating into violence in about 27 communities in the Mamprugu, Dagbon, Nanung and Bimbillia traditional areas.
 

Last updated: November 30, 2022

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