Local governance

STAR-Ghana's local governance work aims to strengthen, scale up and consolidate the results of previous and ongoing local governance focused initiatives, particularly in the areas of inclusive voice, improved access and transparency in service delivery.

This grant call is open for applications until 2nd March 2018. Visit our grants pages to find out more and apply

Why local governance?

Ghana has been implementing a decentralisation process of devolving political, administrative and fiscal authority to local governments called assemblies since 1988. Drawing on the lessons of reforms over the years, assemblies were designed to be the highest political, decision-making, planning, budgeting and executing body at the local level.

Over the years, the assembly system has evolved through the implementation of incremental reforms designed to strengthen administration and management; deliver local economic development and poverty reduction; and enhance local capacity for social development and accountability.

In 2010, a new Decentralization Policy was formulated which anticipated further improvements in decentralized service delivery, local economic growth and social development. It was anticipated that through administrative strengthening, inclusiveness, better coordination and greater collaboration with civil society and local government stakeholders there would be rapid change. This was accompanied by a National Action Plan and the two documents were reviewed in 2015. A new Decentralization Policy was formulated in 2015 and this gave the basis for the passage of Act 936 – the New Local Governance Law in 2016.

In 2016, the current government in his manifesto promised to ‘oversee the direct election of MMDCEs within 24 months of election into office to coincide with the next District Assembly elections in 2019’. This promise, if it is to be fulfilled within the time specified, may require either the reactivation of the stalled constitutional amendment process or at the least a referendum to answer the question of partisan election of DCEs. For MMDCEs to be elected on a partisan basis, there is the need for a referendum to be held or Article 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution to be amended to make the position a partisan one.

STAR-Ghana’s scoping study, foundational Political Economy Analysis (PEA) document and other resources foresee 2018/19 as focusing heavily on local level governance issues. This includes the proposed election of MMDCEs, the creation of additional regions and attendant possibility of creation of new districts, District Assembly Elections, which are due to be held in late 2018 or early 2019, as well as the revival of the constitutional amendment process in one form or the other.

STAR-Ghana is therefore, based on the foregoing, proposing to develop and launch a targeted Call for proposals on Local governance. The call will focus on on-going or recently completed projects on the key issues identified above.

Expected outputs

  1. Spaces for collaboration between civil society (including private sector associations and media) and state actors on service delivery at local level strengthened.
  2. Horizontal and vertical linkages amongst CSOs to address systemic local governance, public participation and inclusion challenges strengthened.
  3. Inclusive voice and participation in local governance.
  4. Mechanisms for increased transparency and responsiveness in local governance enhanced.
  5. Issue-based and inclusive DA elections, including the election of women, PWDs and youth promoted.
  6. Citizen participation in the processes around the creation of new districts and regions, election of MMDCEs and creation of new districts enhanced.

Our focus areas

The local governance call will focus on unfinished business in local governance in the following areas:

  1. Promoting basic service delivery and development management at local level:
    - Participatory development of clear service delivery standards to guide providers. This will include gender mainstreaming protocols in service delivery.
    - Enhancing the role of traditional leaders in local governance.
    - Monitoring quality and effectiveness of service delivery through participatory methods such as citizens score card.
    - Advocate for a legal framework to support the involvement of CSOs in assembly level work.
    - Effectiveness of representation by assembly members and understanding the roles of MPs in the district assembly process
  1. Innovative technologies and media for promoting citizens participation, accountability and public access to information in local governance.
    - Support to local media to use technology to expand citizens access to information on local governance.
    - Support the development of user friendly and accessible applications for information sharing and advocacy.
    - Improve use of innovative technology and media to ensure wider reach in rural areas.
  1. Gender inclusion, disability and diversity in local governance.
    - The design and use of socially inclusive tools to enhance participation in local government.
    - Increasing the numbers of GESI groups taking part in local elections and decision making.
    - Gender mainstreaming in service delivery protocols.
    - Attention to commitments to vulnerable groups including persons with disabilities. 
    - Poverty reduction, local economic development, resource mobilisation and budgetary utilisation at the local level
    - Citizen-led budget tracking of revenue and expenditure at assembly level.
    - Local economic development policies are GESI appropriate and support the needs of marginalised groups.
    - Enhanced space for debate and discussion on use of local resources.
    - Participation of citizens inputs into national and local planning and budgeting processes.
  1. Implementing the new Act 936, party political elections of MMDCEs and voter education and sensitisation towards Referendum.
    - Enhanced voter education ahead of local or national referendum.
    - Voter education towards District Assembly elections. 
    - Election processes, information sharing and other electoral related issues. 
    - Political interference and polarisation. 
    - Socio cultural practices and the fear of victimisation and electoral violence.


The call is divided into two components:

Strategic partnerships component

This component will support national level CSOs with capacity to do strategic level policy influencing to implement projects aimed at addressing systemic constraints at the policy levels. Projects shall have a maximum duration of 24 months and grant fund support not exceeding GHC 600,000.


Local partnerships component

The local partnership component will support local actions at the district and local levels, enabling citizens address locally salient service delivery issues. It will particularly focus on processes of social inclusion and vulnerable groups interaction with the local governance mechanism. Projects shall have a maximum duration of 12 months and grant fund support not exceeding GHC 250,000.


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