The STAR Ghana Foundation has called for active citizenship in order to ensure a strong and healthy nation.
Mr Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu, the Acting Executive Director of STAR Ghana Foundation, said active citizenship was the willingness of citizens to stand-up and be part of any action to improve the society.
He said citizens acting individually could not be as effective as when they came together to pursue common objectives.
He said it was important to have effective civil society organisations (CSOs), adding that, CSOs required resources to act, so they needed the kind of philanthropy and grant making that supports CSOs action.
He said for citizens to be active, they need to work in groups, adding that, “we need active CSOs”.
“For us to achieve change it is important to have active citizens,” he reiterated.
Mr Amidu made the appeal in his opening remarks at the STAR Ghana Annual Strategic Learning Event in Accra.
The three-day workshop on the theme: “Lessons for Active Citizenship”, is being attended by over 70 participants.
The Strengthening Transparency, Accountability and Responsiveness (STAR) in Ghana programme is a governance and accountability programme, supported by UK Aid, DANIDA and the European Union, and aims at strengthening engagements between civil society organisations and state actors to promote increased transparency and accountability in governance.
The goal is to develop a vibrant, well-informed and assertive civil society, able to contribute to transformational national development for all Ghanaian citizens in an inclusive manner.
Mr Amidu said there was the need for all people to see themselves as part of the process to address issues.
He said extreme partisan politicisation of issues drew a lot of citizens out of the process, adding that, the tagging of civil society as belonging to a particular political party was a way of stiffling their activities.
“Increasingly, we are seeing problems and solutions in terms of which party is proposing or which party is in favour; that is making a lot of people step back,” he said.
“If your child fails his exams, it has nothing to do with NPP (New Patriotic Party) or NDC (National Democratic Congress), it has everything to do with the quality of education,” he said.
“If there is a cholera outbreak, it doesn’t ask for party membership, it attacks people. So we should look at it that way and begin to see how we can support citizens to work together outside of this partisan interest to address our common problems.”
Madam Hamdiya Ismaila, a Member of the Governing Council of STAR Ghana Foundation, said part of their intention for holding the workshop was to showcase the newly launched STAR Ghana Foundation, as a national centre for civil society, active citizenship and philanthropy and inform the deliberations of its new Governing Council.
Madam Taaka Awori, Executive Director of Busara Africa, urged STAR Ghana to redefine what was meant by philanthropy.
“For a long time philanthropy has been defined simply as a worthy person or a worthy organisation or country giving to somebody who has less or a poorer person or country. But what we have started learning is that philanthropy in the African is quite different. It is a lot more of social justice.”
Other speakers at the event included Professor Akilagpa Sawyerr, a former Vice Chancellor, University of Ghana.