A delegation made up of 5 NGC members and 3 members of NGC Secretariat travelled to Ghana for a study tour on the invitation of the Ghana APRM Secretariat. The objective of this experience sharing trip was to share experience between the Ghana and Ugandan process and most importantly to share best practices. The NGC team was made up of the following; Prof. Josephine Ahikire (Leader of Delegation), Joshua Kitakule, Sarah Walusimbi and Hon. Amos Lugolobi. The team from NPA included; Dr. Joseph Muvawala, Ms. Silvia Angey Ufoyuru, Rosette Kuhirwa and George Mutagubya. The delegation departed for Ghana on 28th March and returned to Uganda on 2nd April 2013.
2.0 Meeting with Gomoa West APRM DOC:
The delegation, which was led by Professor Josephine Akihire, Chairperson of the council, visited Gomoa West District to interact with the Oversight Committee to examine the structure of the committee and study how it goes about the District Governance Assessment Project.
The Ugandan delegation was accompanied by Professor S.K.B. Asante and Ambassador Alex Abankwa, members of the National Governing Council of Ghana and some officials of the APRM Secretariat held a meeting with the Gomoa West District Oversight Committee of the African Peer Review Mechanism to have a hands-on experience on how the system works.
This particular DOC has over the years been visited by delegations from member states of the African Union, including Mali, on similar studies given its proximity to Accra and accomplishments. It for this same reason why the district was meritoriously selected for the launch of the 10th anniversary of the APRM
2.1 Statement by Dr Mark Nii Lamptey, Chairman Gomoa APRM DOC:
Dr Mark Nii Lamptey said the work of the APRM must be of interest to Africans because it is the citizens of Africa who own the process. However, he said it had not been easy creating effective awareness of enhanced functionality of the peer review mechanism within Gomoa District. He further observed that it is for the realisation of citizens’ ownership of the process that the District Oversight Committees engage public and private sector players, all religious bodies, traditional authorities, Ghana Education Service, the police, Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), assembly members, the judiciary, etc. for sensitisation, accountability and governance assessment to arouse stakeholder consciousness and obtain relevant data for analysis
2.2 Statement from Prof. S.K.B . Asante:
According to Prof. S.K.B . Asante the author of a book titled “ A decade of Ghana’s APRM experience” which focuses on Ghana’s process as a country that has been Africa’s trailblazer and shining example in the implementation of APRM process, the DOC system as made Ghana the APRM “Mecca” for all APRM practicing countries as they have been visiting Ghana to learn how it works. APRM District Oversight Committees mechanism has ensured that the APRM process cascades to the grass roots.
That this has ultimately led to citizen participation and ownership of the Ghana APRM process. Therefore, the DOC mechanism is one of the best innovations in Ghana’s APRM process it has helped ensure that the voices of the ordinary Ghanaian citizen is captured and it influences the Annual APRM Progress Reports and other processes.
3.0 Lessons Learnt/ How DOCs Operate:
- The Oversight Committees are the decentralised structures of the APRM and undertake sensitisation and education of the citizenry on the progress of the APRM.
- They carry out surveys at the district level, organise validation platforms on governance assessment and send data to the secretariat for further processes.
- The capacity of DOC members have been built in sampling techniques; participatory monitoring and evaluation; report writing; and mobile data collection.
- Their functions include implementation of decisions and directives of the governing council; assisting with the validation monitoring and evaluating reports and ensuring broad-based participation, accountability and transparency.
- Others are the preparation and submission of annual, biannual or quarterly plans to the governing council; deepening the community’s understanding of the APRM; and assisting the governing council to build strategic partnerships at the district level.
- The project addresses these challenges by assisting both civil society actors and local government authorities to jointly develop local governance and service delivery indicators resulting in the development of a Citizen Report Card (CRC) to monitor progress.
- The process enables civil society actors to monitor and report on the progress of implementation of the NPoA at the district level. It also affords civil society, as final beneficiaries of all the activities outlined in the APRM Programme of Action, an opportunity to hold local government authorities and service providers accountable for the quality of governance and service delivery.
- The project also supports an apolitical platform for civil society and local government authorities as well as public service providers for engagement during the district report validation process.
- The District Governance Assessment (DGA) survey is a perception survey aimed at measuring governance and effectiveness of service delivery at the local government level. The survey elicits views of key stakeholders including district assembly members, public servants/service providers, traditional authorities, private sector actors and citizens.
- The district governance assessment surveys assess and track the progress of governance and service delivery in Ghana.
- The overall aim of the District Governance Project is aimed at enhancing and scaling up the capacity of civil society actors and district assembly members on governance and social accountability at the district level by providing them with the relevant training and skills to conduct district governance assessments.
4.0 How does the system work?:
4.1 District Governance Project:
- That the District APRM Governance Project is an action research process designed to investigate the state of governance and service delivery at the district level. The core components of the District APRM Governance Project are a survey of perceptions of Members of District Assemblies, Public Servants, Traditional Authority and Citizens.
- The District APRM Governance Project constitutes a significant contribution to citizen’s understanding of good governance practices and also provides a useful self-assessment tool for participating districts. This is part of the process of domesticating the APRM questionnaire and other instruments in Ghana that Uganda can emulate. However, it is still based on the four thematic APRM areas; Democracy and Good Political Governance, Economic Governance and Management, Corporate Governance and Socio-Economic Development
- The data collected during the initial phase of the survey is analysed and provisional findings are prepared and these form the basis for the next phase. Phase Two of the District APRM Governance Project involves a systematic verification process to ensure the integrity of the final report and the recommendations thereof before its submitted to the Ghana APRM NGC.
- The verification and clarification of the information of the information collected in the first phase is therefore subjected to focus group discussions which involve representatives of all stakeholder groups e.g. District Assembly Members, Public Servants and Citizens (Women Groups, Youth Groups, PWDs)
- Moreover, secondary data is collected from institutions at the district level in order to compare respondents’ perceptions against the reality on the ground.
- That the participatory and interactive District APRM Governance Project methodology has the advantage of bringing different local government stakeholders together to formulate a common perspective on the issues confronting the Assemblies. This creates the basis for consensus interventions geared towards improvement and collaborative solutions, rather than a set of technical directives to District Assembly officials and Assembly members.
4.2 Link between DGP and DOCs:
- In order to formalize the interaction between local governments and civil society, the NAPRM-GC has inaugurated 170 District APRM Oversight Committees (DoCs) in all the regions of Ghana. These Committees are formally recognized by the District Assemblies and Government as the agents who assist the Governing Council to prepare Annual Progress Reports for onward submission to the African Union.
- The District APRM Oversight Committees collect both qualitative and quantitative data using the above outlined methodology undertake an analysis of the data and prepare a district APRM M&E Report. The reports generated through the monitoring and evaluation activities of the DOCs are presented to forums at the district level for validation.
- The validated reports are then laid before the District Assembly for debate. The import of this exercise is for the APRM report to inform the activities of the Assembly since the report contains the voices of their constituents as regards good governance and service delivery.
- During the District Assembly debates it is envisioned that the District Assembly (comprising Assembly members, and heads of decentralized departments) would prioritize issues that need to be urgently addressed and draw up Action Plans. The District Oversight Committees would then monitor the implementation of the Action Plans and report on them during the next cycle.