Citizen Voices Identify New Service Challenges
Sekondi-Takoradi, a metropolitan assembly of twin cities nestled on Ghana’s southern coast, has long pursued a more inclusive, participatory style of government. Citizen scorecards for assessing public services, programs helping poorer communities engage in budget decisions, and a transparency portal that captures citizen feedback are among a few of the twin cities’ initiatives. Such policy innovations led to the selection of Sekondi-Takoradi as a pilot participant in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Local program in 2016.
Government and civil society leaders got together and enlisted civic participation experts to engage citizens in “co-creating” Sekondi-Takoradi’s action plan. Initially holding consultations with civil society, community leaders, trade unions, and business leaders, the government then turned to the wider public using a regular open space for officials to hear from a range of citizens.
This outreach resulted in an action plan that represented people’s concerns and tackled pressing problems faced by the community. Real progress has been made on important issues. Calls for better sanitation have led to pressure on landlords to provide toilets in all properties, improving overall health. Community policing is also being introduced to improve security, with 61 volunteers being trained, and hundreds of streetlights have been added to cut back on night- time crime.