SEND-Ghana is a policy research and advocacy-based organization working to promote good governance and the equality of women and men in Ghana, with a vision of engendering a Ghana where people’s rights and wellbeing are guaranteed. Through its activities, SEND-Ghana helps to build the capacity of civil society to self-organize, influence policy, improve transparency, and address access to social services. They coordinate Ghana’s MDG campaign, monitor improvements on the Goals, and issue a report that is used to highlight the importance of good governance. SEND is also part of Ghana's aid-effectiveness forum.
In 2002, SEND-Ghana began convening civil society organizations to monitor government policy by using citizen groups – the beneficiaries of government programs. SEND’s initial mobilization effort focused on monitoring the use of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative funds. Almost a decade later, SEND continues to conduct monitoring exercises of government programs and generates policy briefs that are disseminated among Ghanaian influentials, including parliamentarians. The impact of SEND-Ghana’s work has rendered them a reliable resource, not only to civil society organizations, but also the government, in being able to effectively carry out their own development monitoring efforts. SEND-Ghana’s activities have helped to create better accountability practices, empower civil society in Ghana, and promote improved access to social services.
ONE Africa Award is honored to award SEND-Ghana the 2010 ONE Africa Award prize for their work in advancing one or more of the Millennium Development Goals in Ghana.
Update on activities and achievements
The global recognition accorded SEND Ghana by the ONE Africa Award has challenged SEND West Africa ( the parent body) to mainstream the MDGs implementation into all of its programs and intensify the capacity building of civil society organizations to hold governments to account for the MDGs in poverty reduction programmes. This following examples from Ghana and Sierra Leone highlight the different ways SEND’s programs are mobilizing grassroots organizations and government agencies to ensure that development programmes are driven by the MDGs.
SEND Ghana: promoting MDGs through Networks
SEND Ghana’s Grassroots Economic Literacy and Policy Advocacy Programme (GELAP) in partnership with three networks is expanding and strengthening civil society engagement and implementation of the MDGs. Through Ghana Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation Network(GPM&EN) SEND Ghana has successfully built the capacity of 550 district based civil society organizations who are monitoring and using their findings to engage and influence pro-poor programmes intended to address the MDGs. For example, the GPM&EN is monitoring the impact of National Health Insurance Scheme on reducing maternal and under fives death as well as the Ministry of Science and Technology Climate change programmes impact on agriculture and food security in particular. Similarly, SEND Ghana is building the capacity of more than 100 civil society organizations who are members of the Ghana AID Effectiveness Form (GAEF) to monitor the national budgets and hold ministries, departments and agencies of government to account for the MDGs. The Civil Society Platform on the Ghana School Feeding programme coordinated by SEND includes Dutch development NGOs, private agencies and educational institutions as well as national and international NGOs interested in promoting education in northern Ghana. Under the leadership of SEND Ghana the platform regularly lobby the Ghanaian and Dutch governments to ensure adequate funding to the Ghana School feeding program activities in the three poorest regions of Ghana: Upper East, Northern and Upper West.
SEND Financial NGO (SENDFiNGO) and Eastern Corridor Livelihood Security Promotion Programme (ECLSPP ) are empowering men and women in the resource poor northern Ghana to realize the MDGs in their lives. SENDFiNGO through its credit with education is reaching more than 16,000 beneficiaries of which 60% are rural women. The sexual reproductive health and gender education provided to SENDFinGOs beneficiaries is empowering especially the women with skills and self-confidence to demand access to improved and quality health care for mothers and under fives in their communities. Likewise, ECLSPP is supporting more than 3000 farmers to address food and nutrition insecurity by growing and consuming soya bean. Also through the co-operatives farmers are successfully influencing the district council to improve extension services to their members.
SEND Sierra Leone: Promoting MDGs through capacity building
In Kailahun, the most deprived district in Sierra Leone, SEND-Sierra leone is strengthening the council and community based development groups to promote the MDGs. For example, the Women in Governance program has established Kailahun Women in Governance Network(KWIG) which has 100 women groups as members. Through KWIG Network, women leaders including councilors and ward development committees are being equipped with leadership and negotiation skills which they are using to advocate for the prioritization by the district council of the MDGs in development programs. Also a gender audit of the council by SEND-Sierra Leone is serving as a guide for the councilors to develop bye-laws to increase women’s participation into the district administration. Under The Kailahun Health Sector Governance program SEND Sierra Leone has established an Annual MDG Award of US10,000 to motivate community health workers in the district to improve their performance in delivering services to pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and under-five year children.
2015 is less than four years away when countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana are expected to achieve the lofty development goals set out in the MDGs. These countries can attain a significant number of the MDGs if the governments are transparent and accountable in the use of development resources as well as increase their interactions and partnerships with civil society organizations.