UCSOND’S ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2010
United Civil Society Organization for National Development is an umbrella organization of community based organizations, farmer based organizations, women groups, youth groups, christian groups, trade groups and artisans with the sole aims of building a united front to advocate on issues that affect the welfare of members and also demand transparency and accountability from duty bearers.
To mobilize and empower civil society organizations to demand for accountability and transparency in the governance of natural resources and public service delivery.
To reach sustainable citizen satisfaction through citizens’ participation
MEMBER GROUPS OF UCSOND
Farmer Based Organizations (FBO’s)
Christian Mothers Associations
Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU)
Ghana National Tailors and Dressmakers Assoc. (GNTDA)
Ghana Hairdressers and Beautician Association (GHABA)
Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT)
Ghana National Association of Teachers Ladies (GNATLAS)
Market Women Associations (MWA)
District Council of Labour (DCL)
Ghana Federation of Persons with Disability (GFD)
Cooperative Distillers Association (CDA)
BOARD CHAIRMAN’S BRIEF
Advocacy is an important democratic tool to ensure good governance in any state.Though Civil Society Organizations have made remarkable achievements in the country’s democratic dispensation and the general developmental agenda at the national, regional and district levels, a lot remains undone. Undoubtedly, UCSOND had made significant impact in the area of advocacy and awareness creation in Nzemaland but a lot remains especially with the discovery of oil and gas off the shores of the three Nzema districts.
UCSOND has intervened in some of the critical issues like sanitation, forestry, mining and governance in the three Nzema districts. That measurable achievements were made with some challenges, prominent among the constraints being inadequacy of financial resources, stepping on toes of duty bearers and the attitude of people. I strongly believe that given more financial, this vibrant organization can achieve higher heights.
On behalf of the board, i wish to sincerely commend the dedicated staff of UCSOND for the good work done and to encourage them to work harder. i wish to extend my warmest appreciation to the numerous dedicated volunteers without whose support these successes could not have been recorded. my final appreciation goes to our faithful donors, the district and municipal assemblies and also the traditional councils for their invaluable supports without which we could not have made these stride.
I therefore implore management to intensify their membership drive to strengthen the numerical strength of UCSOND. I thank the board, management and staff for their good work done.
The relevance of UCSOND in our democratic dispensation cannot be underrated. UCSOND with its daunting challenges has been able to ensure that the District Assemblies in the three Nzema Districts, especially Nzema east and Ellembelle, become more open, transparent and accountable to the people at grass root.
The year under review presented both opportunities and challenges to our resolve to advocate and provide voice for the voiceless in our society. During the year, UCSOND in collaboration with ATWWAR facilitated the establishment of three Community Radio initiatives in each of the three Nzema districts. The important thing about community radio broadcasting service is that the station is about, for, by of a specific community; whose ownership and management is representative of the community; which pursues a participatory development agenda; and which is non-profit, non-partisan and non-sectarian. It also provides voice for the least voiced and within the context of the larger nation, it enables communities to build their distinct collective identity and pursue their development priorities.
UCSOND believes that Community Radio being a powerful educational tool and driven by the people to meet their felt needs, can hep to unearth and develop the tourism potentials of the district, protect the forest and also change the negative behaviors and practices of the people as well as manage challenges associated with the oil and gas discovery.
UCSOND’s main challenges has been the National Communication Authority’s refusal to award frequencies to community radio stations. The leadership of UCSOND intends to pursue the community radio project to it logical conclusion.
UCSOND pursued an aggressive membership drive to bring on board five more members to increase it membership strength from nineteen o twenty four.
I would want to take the opportunity ti acknowledge the contributions of United Nations Development Fund (UNDEF), Ghana Community Radio Network (GCRN),Participatory Development Associates (PDA), ISODEC, Public Agenda, Friends of the Nation, Kite, Platform for Oil and Gas, and the CAFA for their support, both financial and technical, that has kept UCSOND moving.
I thank the District Assemblies for supporting our cause. Lastly, I would like to thank the management team and our dedicated volunteers for their sacrificial work to mankind.
MAJOR ADVOCACY ISSUES WITHIN THE YEAR
During the year under review, UCSOND undertook two major advocacy interventions in waste/sanitation management and mining. The management of waste became a big issue especially, for the district capitals and the fast growing communities such as Ayinasi, Esiama and Aweibo as they were finding it difficult to dispose off their waste. The Assemblies responded by providing waste containers at certain vantage points to deal with the situation. The only challenge, which, which UCSOND is still pursuing is the emptying of waste containers when they get full.
Mining operations at Nkroful and it environs has affected the major source of water supply to the people of these affected communities. in addressing this issues, stand pipes have been provided. However, quality of water from these stand pipes leaves much to be desired. the traces of minerals, especially iron, in the water are so high that without any form of treatment the water cannot be used for domestic activities.
The Water Board complains of high cos of chemicals required for the treatment of the water. UCSOND will not relent on its efforts in addressing the issue.
MEMBERSHIP DRIVE AND AWARENESS CREATION
The leadership embarked on an aggressive membership drive resulting in two youth groups, one women group and one christian mother group becoming members of UCSOND. The public address systems, popularly known as Local FM stations in the communities were used to create awareness about UCSOND and it activities in the districts. The strategy of meeting the community members through the chiefs and elders was adopted to minimize cost and also have face to face encounter with some of the traditional authorities on governance issues at the local level.
In the year 2010, UCSOND organized training programme for it newly recruited volunteers to enable them function effectively. the staff strength stands at five permanent staff an twenty one dedicated volunteers. The staff, in the course of the year, attended series of workshops in oil and gas.
TRAINING AND CAPACITY BUILDING
UCSOND deems training and capacity building of its staff, members and other citizens who support it cause as a great asset. For this reason, we are very committed to find any possible means to train and build the capacity of our member groups involving young women, young men, adult women and adult men. During the year, UCSOND allocated a significant part of it dues contributed by its member groups in training the leaders and other committed members of various member groups. In all, forty five member group leaders including twenty eight women and seventeen men were given training in leadership skills and basic management.
Nine people made up of five women and four men of UCSOND members and staff had the opportunity to undergo a week long intensive training sponsored by Ghana Community Radio Network with support from UNDEF. Some of the areas that the training focused were community entry, giving voice to the voiceless, communication skills, development of community agenda, participatory design of community project, volunteerism, and expectation management in oil and gas. These nine trainees went to four selected communities to train a total of one hundred and forty four (144) community members.
UCSOND presented one staff and one member to be trained in the national budget process and how the youth and the civil society organizations can influence the national budget. Two staff of UCSOND got the opportunity to participate in various workshops in the Civil Society Consultation on the oil and gas draft policy and legal frame work which paved the way for USCOND to join the national oil and gas platform.
CHALLENGES AND THE WAY FORWARD
UCSOND as an organization is confronted with so many challenges. Prominent among them being the following;
Funding has been one of the most limiting factors on the progress of UCSOND. Considering the large number of dedicated volunteers, UCSOND has the capacity to do a lot if funding is made available. UCSOND would, however, continue to rely on the meager monthly dues of its members for sustainability.
Community and opinion leaders who are sometimes supposed to be part of a delegation to the district assemblies to address issues affecting their communities are often reluctant to do so. This sometimes slow the pace at which certain issues could be handled.
UCSOND needs to have offices in each of the three districts to be able to deliver effectively.
Some of the members sometimes openly declare their political affiliation.
- Members who declare their political affiliation, no matter how dedicated they are to the cause of UCSOND, would be asked to step aside.
- The general public (elders and opinion leaders) would be given enough education on civil society work to enable them participate in local governance effectively.
- Member groups will be encouraged to pay more dues to move UCSOND forward.