By: Okunyin Boaz Orlan-Hackman
A Social Accountability Expert, Mrs Magdalene Kannae, has urged the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to make Social Accountability an integral part of their action plans to ensure that public funds and assets are prudently used to the benefit of the people and communities and accounted for accordingly.
Mrs Kannae made this appeal at a day’s workshop dubbed: “Social Accountability Concepts, Principles and Implementation Mechanisms” for staff of the Ga East Municipal Assembly at Abokobi.
The workshop, organized as part of a project under the auspices of the IPE Global Company Limited in collaboration with the Local Government Secretariat which aims at ensuring that the Assemblies institutionalize Social Accountability, was attended by the Heads of Departments and Units of the Assembly.
Mrs Kannae, who was the Resource Person for the workshop, took the participants through topics including the definitions of the concepts of Accountability, Social Accountability, Principles of Social Accountability, Benefits and Risks as well as Mechanisms and Tools for implementation among others.
There was a plenary session after the presentation where the participants discussed the issues of: “How can MMDAs improve communities’ awareness and participation in their work”, and “In which ways can MMDAs sustain and institutionalize Social Accountability in their work?”
After the discussions, there was a consensus among participants that there was the need for more information dissemination and that the Assembly had to strategize on ways of communicating information on its work to the people.
They also accepted to incorporate Social Accountability into their action plans to enable the Assembly to come out with a holistic plan for implementation.
Speaking to GEMANEWS after the workshop, Mrs Magdalene Kannae noted that “Social Accountability is not a concept that has come from the mind of anybody but it is in our laws, in Article 20 of the 1992 Constitution,” hence, the need for all Assemblies and public officers to mainstream it in their activities and programmes.
She also underscored the significance of Social Accountability to the Assemblies when it is inculcated into their action plans and implemented.
“It has become necessary because the works of Assemblies, here and now, are being criticized. There are certain times some Assemblies are working very hard to satisfy community members but community members fail to see because they are not getting enough information of what the Assemblies are doing”.
She further outlined what the Assemblies needed to do to achieve Social Accountability.
“What Social Accountability is saying is that Assemblies and Assemblies’ staff must begin to engage community members more and more about their work. What are they doing, and how did they come about certain things? so that community members can get enough information, so that they don’t sit down to perceive certain things but they get the real stories from the Assemblies” Mrs Kannae explained.
The Social Accountability Expert also suggested the use of the media as a critical tool in disseminating information to the public and advised the relevant Departments and Units to strategize in this direction.
She appealed to the officers to make Social Accountability their own responsibility and not shirk it unto others.
The Municipal Planning Officer (MPO), Mr Sampson Slessor Agbeve, was grateful to the Resource Person and her partnering team for the vision and desire to promote Social Accountability.
He reiterated the importance of the workshop and advised the participants to make the knowledge acquired to “be part and parcel of everything you do and render account to the beneficiaries from whose taxes we are paid salaries as government workers”.
Similar workshops are being organized in the various Assemblies throughout the country with the expectation of creating the needed awareness on Social Accountability and impressing upon the Assemblies to develop strategies to implement it.
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