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Opinions of Friday, 29 January 2016

Columnist: Abdulai, Alhaji Alhasan

Let’s get local people in community development

By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

Under the directive principle of state policy of the 1992 constitution, a provision has been made to make democracy a reality by decentralizing the administrative and financial machinery of government to the regions and districts and by affording all possible opportunities to the people to participate in decision-making at every level in national life and in government.

By this, the constitution requires that government provide support towards community development directly and indirectly through ministries, departments, authorities and local councils.

However despite the efforts of governments since 1993 to give adequate support to the people through this method, it has been facing challenges towards providing all the needs of the people at all times .There are a few district and municipal assemblies that are able to raise adequate revenues locally with financial and material supports from central government, some donors and nongovernmental organizations to supplement their incomes. However there are many others that are unable to raise enough revenues for development. Due to rapid increase in population and urbanization in any towns there are gaps at all times in the number of much needed amenities such as schools, clinics, community centers and playgrounds in most localities.
To be able to meet halfway or supplement the efforts of government and the donors in local development, it is advisable to embark on the following;
All communities made up of house owners, churches mosques, businesses, schools and vehicle owners should be encouraged to come together to set up or strengthen on voluntary basis existing town and community development committees or associations. The town development committees or associations should be made to set up national, regional and district steering branch committees or associations. To be able to succeed in their programs, the committees or associations should be made to set up sub committees on such areas as health, sanitation, sports, education, security and fund raising committees.
The district and municipal committees should be made to work in tandem with the existing assemblies in the districts and municipal council areas. Some localities in Ghanaians have tried this method in the past under town development committees and associations with great success having raised funds to build roads, schools markets and community centers. In all these programs the Chiefs, Priests and Imams should not be left out as their positions and roles as development agents in all localities are important.
Under education committees they could be made to provide support for school going children and assist parents to send and keep their children in schools. The committee could help in awarding scholarships to needy students build or renovate school blocks, provide furniture, with the help of government through regional, district and municipal assemblies.
Under health, this committee could support needy children, the handicapped, aged and other needy people to access medical care through the Health Insurance Scheme and provide help to the needy with food and other needs. If possible the committee could provide health posts to provide medical care for its community members. Sanitation programs could also be promoted through regular hand washing tips, clean up exercises in our homes, schools work places and townships centers.
Under security the community members could also provide volunteers to help the police to maintain security in their localities and to sensitize periodically the people in the areas on matters of security advising them to live together in peace irrespective of their partisan, religious or ethnic backgrounds and factions in chieftaincy.
Under sports, the committees would be made to identify a playfields and a center to promote soccer, athletics and indoor games for the youth and the aged
Under fund raising, (which is essential in local development), there is the need for the formation of finance and fund raising committees to work with the community members ,donor agencies and financial institutions operating in the communities to raise funds for their projects.

To give guidance towards community development programs, there is the need to have the support of regional and national coordinating councils to give the local councils the much needed support. The proposal as mentioned requires the attention and involvement of all people in the localities irrespective of their ethnic, religious, and political and other positions in society. This way we would be able to follow the much needed policy of decentralization contained in the constitution for rapid and orderly development through self help and the spirit of domestication, relying less on central government in the country at all times for development.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
EANFOWORLD FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
0244 370345/ 0264370345/0208844791 abdulai.alhasan@gmail.com/eanfoworld@yahoo.com