‘Vulnerable groups key to achieve sustainable development’

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Development Studies (UDS), Prof. Seidu Al-Hasaan, has said that no persons should be excluded in the quest to achieve sustainable development because of their vulnerability.

He said that the vulnerable such as persons with disabilities, the aged, women, and children among others, all form part of the society and so, it was important to mobilise all of them to be part of the development process.

“We must recognise that our own society, country, is vulnerable because it is exposed to so many risks such as economic crisis, global wars, internal wranglings and conflicts. We must develop very robust systems to withstand such shocks while ensuring that we don’t leave anyone behind because of their vulnerabilities,” he said during an engagement with some civil society organisations (CSOs) in Tamale in the northern region.

Speaking on the principles of active citizenship (AC) to achieve sustainable development, he said that AC required that citizens get involved in their communities and democracy at all levels.

He cited awareness of vulnerabilities, good organisation and innovation as some of the tenets of AC for sustainable development.

“How best are we organizing ourselves as a country in ensuring law and order to ensure the resources that we have we manage them efficiently? Innovation is the only way that can put us on the path of sustainable development”.

“What I see in an active citizen is patriotism, nation building, protection of state property, discipline, obedience, honesty, reliability, and selflessness,” he outlined.

Tamale launch

The engagement formed part of activities to mark the 5th anniversary of STAR-Ghana Foundation, a national centre for promoting active citizenship and local philanthropy for sustainable development.

The Foundation was set up as part of efforts to find a space, and a mechanism that will enable a better coordination of development efforts, and to ask the fundamental questions about the state of affairs.

Again, it was to find a space that will help hold the hands of very young organisations and support them to grow to take their places.

Read more: STAR-Ghana Foundation Active Citizenship Strategy launched

One of such spaces over the years is the Northern Development Forum, that looked at civil society coordination.

The Executive Director of the Foundation, Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu, explained that Northern Ghana epitomizes the rationale for setting up the Foundation, with majority of the partners and organisations the Foundation has worked with are based in Northern Ghana.

“The second major active citizenship lecture took place in Tamale, which showed the centrality of northern Ghana in the whole set up of the foundation. It was Northern Ghana that informed the need to have a Foundation that will nurture civil society, help to promote active citizenship, and help to promote inclusive development,” he recalled.

Alhaji Amidu said although five years is a relatively short time looking at the development challenges facing the country.

Therefore, the engagement with partners is to reflect and account on the journey so far.

The kind of transition of the STAR-Ghana Programme into a Foundation is unique. To take something that was established by donors and turn it into a Ghanaian-owned and a Ghanaian-led entity focusing on national issues.”

“There are three of such in Africa, and so it requires that at every stage, we should pause to reflect,” he said.

Read more: STAR Ghana Foundation calls for active citizenship

On his part, the Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Shani Alhassan Shaibu, expressed gratitude to the Foundation for the support and collaboration that have helped build the capacity of the Regional Security and Peace Council, promoting peace and tranquility in the region.

The Board Chairman of the Northern Development Authority (NDA), Dr. Sulemana Abdulai, said the work of the Foundation has helped strengthen the capacity of parliamentarians and other policy makers.

“We should not see the Foundation as a source of funding but as a partner in promoting responsible citizenship for national development,” he said.

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