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The Second Largest Gathering of CSOs in Northern Ghana Takes Place in Tamale

More than 200 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) representatives in Northern Ghana have met at a forum in Tamale during which they were challenged as development actors, to primarily know their purpose and work collectively towards achieving measurable results.

The Executive Director of STAR Ghana Foundation, Ibrahim Amidu Tanko, who threw the challenge, said as CSOs, knowing their purpose would legitimize their cause, thereby giving them a bigger voice to speak truth to power on developmental issues.

The forum, the second of its kind, happened at a time that issue of duplication of efforts, slow progress, CSOs accountability and the inability to build synergies’ have become topical in the public space. The myriad of challenges include dwindling donor funding for development work and tagging development along partisan lines among others. 

The 2024 forum, which was the largest gathering of CSOs, therefore served as a rallying point for development actors across the five regions of the north; Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Savanna and the North East region, to enhance coordination of development in these parts of the country.

Held under the theme “Coordination of Northern Ghana’s development; challenges, opportunities and the way forward,” the forum which was jointly supported by the Star Ghana foundation, Oxfam, Actionaid, norsaac and the Ghana Community Developing Associations (GDCA), served as a prelude to the northern Ghana development summit; an annual event between state and CSOs actors – to share ideas, revitalize energies and commitments to drive development in the northern part of the country.

Amidu Tanko, further reminded CSO that they have to constantly question themselves regarding their accountability processes and what they have set as purpose for themselves.

Purpose drives everything. You don’t start from activities and strategies and then you begin to look for a purpose!” he stated adding that; “the purpose of the Northern Ghana development summit should be for mutual accountability, for effective coordination and looking ahead in terms of trends and how to fit in in an inclusive space.”

For his part, Country Director of Actionaid Ghana, John Nkaw said his organisation will be collaborating with others within the CSOs space in addressing issues such as climate change vulnerabilities, and how this affects the livelihoods and survivals of the people. 

We need to have a collective action point as CSOs. We are development actors in our own rights, and we have a high sense of legitimacy in the development of our communities and society,” John Nkaw added.

A member of the Steering committee of the CSOs platform and Executive Director of the GDCA, Alhaji Osman Abdul Rahaman, remarked that the state had the primary responsibility of tackling development; however, CSOs in the space were available to supporting to the primary actor. He said to do that effectively; they needed a coordinated and harmonized background hence the forum.

It is expected that a position paper will be generated from the forum which according to Alhaji Mohamed Awal, Executive Director of Norsaac will aid them to engage with state actors and donors. Among others, he enumerated the need to secure an up-to-date database of CSOs, having a well-defined purpose and having an inclusive society that reflects the realities of the north.

A program manager at Oxfam, Mahamood Mohamed encouraged CSOs to continually work together and be able to document learning’s particularly on CSOs contribution to Northern Ghana’s Development.

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