STAR-Ghana on Thursday signed a 7.6 million-dollar grant agreement with 49 organizations to execute various projects in health and the oil and gas sectors.
The grants will facilitate the implementation of the organization's proposals on their various thematic areas aimed at ensuring improvement in access to quality health services and also promoting transparency and accountability in the oil and gas industry in respect to revenue disbursement in Ghana.
Mr Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu, Programme Manager and Team Leader, STAR-Ghana, in an address explained said seven of the beneficiaries under the oil and gas were CBOs in the Western Region only while the others have national coverage. Among these organisations are Penplusbytes, Kumasi Institute of Technology and Environment (KITE), Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and Center for Democratic Development (CDD).
He said priority was placed on CBOs in the Western Region to encourage their vigorous involvement in ensuring grassroots participation in advocacy and local governance as far as the oil and gas sector and revenue management were concerned, to ensure their communities development.
He stressed that it was critical that the partners collaborated in their various fields of work to promote transparency and accountability in the oil and gas industry in Ghana by monitoring the disbursement of oil revenues and ensuring that they were not misused, but rather became beneficial to both their local communities and the nation as a whole.
Mr Amidu thanked the donor partners, which include the DFID, DANIDA, the European Union and the USAID for their continuous support.
Twenty nine organizations will benefit from the health thematic projects and 20 organizations for the oil and gas thematic projects. The projects span over a two-year period to promote access, transparency and accountability.
Beneficiaries include the West African AIDS Foundation, the Presbyterian Health Services, SEND Ghana, Ghana Integrity Initiative, Integrated Social Development Centre, Women in Law, Ghana National Association of the Deaf, Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights and ABANTU for Development.
Other areas are to enhance gender and social responsiveness of the National Health Insurance Scheme among some vulnerable groups such as head porters (Kayayie) and senior citizens, to initiate policy advocacy and promote HIV and AIDS interventions.
The oil and gas grant, Mr Amidu explained, were awarded to two sets of groups which were made up of registered and recognized Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) in the Western Region only, and then all other registered Ghanaian Civil Society Organizations (CSO).
He, however, stated that as donor funding dwindled, it was important that Ghana generated its own funding mechanism to ensure that projects such as those supported by STAR-Ghana were sustained over the years.
STAR-Ghana, a multi-donor pooled funded mechanism, seeks to increase the influence of civil society and Parliament in the governance of public goods and service delivery, with the ultimate goal of improving the accountability and responsiveness of Ghana government, traditional authorities and the private sector.