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The STAR Ghana Foundation (SGF)

The STAR Ghana Foundation (SGF), to be launched in November 2018, is a national centre for active citizenship and philanthropy. The Foundation works to strengthen civil society and enable citizens to engage with the state to ensure accountable, transparent and responsive governance at both local and national levels (see the Foundation’s Vision & Mission Statement in Section 2 below). It builds on the successful STAR-Ghana programme (Strengthening Transparency, Accountability and Responsiveness in Ghana), a multi-donor civil society initiative established in 2011. The establishment of the STAR Ghana Foundation as a Ghanaian-owned and led national institution follows from an intensive process of planning and public consultations with a wide range of stakeholders. It constitutes a major development in the landscape for active citizenship, civil society and philanthropy in Ghana and Africa as a whole.

In the period 2015-2020, the STAR-Ghana programme is jointly funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the European Union and DANIDA (Danish Development Cooperation), with a total programme budget of £22.9 million. Until 2020, the programme will continue to be managed in partnership with an international consortium led by Christian Aid with Social Development Direct, Humentum, the Overseas Development Institute, and Nkum Associates. It has a dual focus: catalysing the efforts of civil society towards systemic change; and transforming STAR-Ghana itself into a Ghanaian-owned, strategic national institution to sustain support for its vision and mission into the future.

The STAR Ghana Foundation, and its pathway to independence, builds on the results and learning from the initial phase of STAR-Ghana (2011-2015) as well as predecessor programmes, including: the Ghana Research and Advocacy Programme (G-RAP) (2005-2011); Kasa (2008-2010); the Rights and Voice Initiative (RAVI) (2004-2010); and the Civil Society Governance Fund (CSGF) (2004-2010). The STAR-Ghana programme has an enviable record of achievement and delivery. In its first phase (2011-2015), it delivered a strategic grant-making programme that worked with a wide range of civil society organisations and Ghana’s Parliament. An end-of-programme assessment by funders gave STAR-Ghana a score of ‘A+’. In the current phase of the programme (2015-2020), STAR-Ghana was again rated ‘A+’ in the 2017 donor review.


Elections | We have supported more than 89 projects and initiatives that contributed to achieving peaceful and credible presidential and parliamentary elections in 2012 and 2016. Our approach included support for activities before, during and immediately after elections, with a particular focus on voter education, peace and security, issue-based campaigns, observation and monitoring, and inclusive participation. We supported strategic initiatives which helped to build trust and the credibility of the election process by improving collaboration, systems and processes.

Local Governance | We continue to support partners working at on local governance issues to strengthen, scale up and consolidate the culture of accountability in service delivery and inclusion in decision making. Our partner, the Institute for Democratic Governance  (IDEG) is building an elite consensus towards the successful amendment of Article 55(3) through meetings with key stakeholders such as political parties, National House of Chiefs and members of Parliament.

Anti-Corruption | Through our anticorruption work, we are helping to develop models proven to work in the promotion of transparency and accountability. We have brought together a wide range of stakeholders from community, civil society, media, research and private sector organisations to create and test initiatives aimed at tackling corruption in the delivery of public services, supply chains, extractives and many other areas. Our 28 projects are enabling grant partners to take collective action on anticorruption, change perceptions and behaviours, influence systemic change and create an enabling environment for business to grow.

Gender Equality and Social Inclusion | STAR Ghana has targeted initiatives towards the removal of barriers to participation for marginalised groups, advancing their access to development opportunities. We have achieved this through grant support for 32 partners who are building collective action and movements for advocacy, learning and engagement. Two specific examples are work on land rights for women and accessibility of public buildings for persons with disability.

Ghana Beyond Aid | STAR Ghana recently supported a two-day national convening on Ghana Beyond Aid which brought together academia, CSOs Regional Ministers, Municipal and District Chief Executives, traditional and religious leaders in Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions, to support the identification of opportunities and critical entry points for action and engagement. This is the first in a proposed series of convenings aimed at creating a broad consensus around the issues of sustainability and to feed into the ongoing Ghana Beyond Aid Charter.

The new Foundation will respond to key leadership gaps and opportunities in the Ghanaian civil society space identified in the pre-launch feasibility and consultations process:

  • The necessity to look ‘beyond aid’ and move away from over-dependence on waning official development assistance by creating locally-owned platforms to mobilise new domestic and international resources to sustain citizen-based social change initiatives;
  • The opportunity to nurture a more resilient civil society and citizen sector, providing strategic and pro-active support that includes but goes beyond grant-making;
  • The need to put gender equality and social inclusion firmly on Ghana’s policy agenda, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the ‘Leave No One Behind’ agenda;
  • The opportunity presented by Ghana’s economic and democratic gains to grow local resource mobilisation and private philanthropic support for active citizenship work;
  • The challenge to build a stronger enabling environment (legislative, tax and policy) for civil society, active citizenship and philanthropy;
  • The need to shift civil society mind sets and catalyse collective action around partnerships, resource mobilisation and sustainability;
  • The opportunity to forge new forms of multi-stakeholder collaboration around salient change issues that can capture the energy and imagination of citizens.

Central to the vision for the Foundation are the following innovative features of the STAR-Ghana programme:

  • The 3C’s and Learning approach (3C&L), the Convenor, Catalyst, Coordinator and Learning mission that encapsulates the distinctive, value-added role of the Foundation;
  • A commitment to put Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) at the heart of everything STAR-Ghana does;
  • An integrated continuous learning approach, nurturing ‘communities of practice and learning’ (CoPL) with partners and stakeholders to harvest learning from the programme and apply them in the spirit of ‘adaptive programming;’
  • An ‘embedded’ political economy analysis (PEA) methodology that generates a continuous analysis of the fast-changing Ghanaian context;
  • Working through partnerships, brokering dialogue, collaboration and relationships to catalyse collective action for change;
  • A focus on growing the resource base for CSOs and strengthening the enabling environment for social justice philanthropy in Ghana.

The Foundation will mobilise a flexible range of STAR-Ghana tools and approaches – from inclusive policy dialogue and multi-stakeholder convening to targeted grant calls, strategic partnerships, up-to-date political and social analysis, bespoke GESI tools, citizen feedback, peer learning, innovative media engagement & communications, and effective knowledge management. Core thematic programme areas for 2015-2020 are:

  1. Elections (promoting peaceful, credible, issue-based and inclusive elections)
  2. Gender equality and social inclusion (strengthening citizen engagement and collective action to advance gender equality and social inclusion)
  3. Media (increasing the effectiveness of media action and partnerships with civil society for accountable, responsive and inclusive governance)
  4. Anti-Corruption (support and enhance the effectiveness of citizen, community, and civil society organisation initiatives and actions to fight corruption)
  5. Local Governance (strengthening inclusive local governance and active citizenship at local level)


The STAR Ghana Foundation’s vision, mission and objectives

About STAR Ghana Foundation


Background and purpose of stakeholder outreach events

In order to deliver on its vision and mission, and to build a sustainable national institution, it is important that the STAR Ghana Foundation begins to explore and forge new relationships with a wider set of stakeholders and partners. Immediate priority stakeholder groups to engage are:

  • The Ghanaian business sector
  • Bilateral and multilateral development partners
  • International NGOs with a strong presence and programme in Ghana
  • African and international foundations and strategic grant-makers
  • Civil society and philanthropy resource agencies and support networks (local, African and international)

In order to start building dialogue and relationships, the Foundation will embark on an initial series of stakeholder outreach events, in conjunction with the launch of the Foundation. The priority groups for this series of events with be the business sector, official development partners and INGOs (with other outreach events and activities to follow at a later stage).

The objectives of the events will be

  1. Introduce the STAR Ghana Foundation (background, mission/vision, 3C&L approach, key activities
  2. Build relationships and explore collaboration with business, development partners and the wider development community on issues of common concern
  3. Seek advice and input from the wider development community as the newly-launched Foundation gets established

These events will be a platform for transmitting messages highlighted in the Foundation’s Branding and Positioning Strategy and to make the case presented in the Foundation’s updated Case Statement. Although these events are not explicitly fundraising events, they will also serve to build trust, visibility, relationships and lines of communication with key actors and constituencies that may become resourcing and funding partners in future. Thus, the events will advance the objectives of the Foundation’s Financing & Fundraising Strategy and help to set the scene for future resource mobilisation.

With Thanks to our Funders

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