Conservation Foundation (CF) is an environmental, non-political, non-profit organization based in Agona Ahanta in the western region but operates in the central region as well. It was founded in 1999 with a vision of a world where sustainable livelihoods is assured to everybody irrespective of gender, culture, ethnicity, race, religion and status in an environment where equity prevails. Thus, Conservation Foundation seeks to promote fundamental socio-economic development that enhances self-sufficiency and self-reliance for advancement of people within a sustainable framework of development.
In their quest to bridge the gap between the local government for improved community development, CF has been engaged in activities that enhance public policy and citizen engagements. Through these activities or initiatives, most women in the district have been empowered through an affirmative action to participate in the local governance system and contest for the District Assemble elections. CF has also facilitated communities to draw their plans for consideration into the Medium Term Development Plans of two districts in the western region and also making the forest sector transparent. With this, the development of the district will be a true reflection of the concerns and needs of the people and not just making decisions for the people. The organization is also embarking on Governance and Transparency project which improve on the engagement between local government and the citizens.
CONSERVATION FOUNDATION UNDER MWANANCHI
Conservation Foundation under the Mwananchi Project is aiming at promoting a more inclusive participatory and accountable local governance system in six (6) communities in the Ahanta West District. It is especially focused on bridging the gap between traditional authorities and unit committees in order to improve information flow within the communities and enhance community development. The target beneficiaries under this project are farming and fishing communities (which have a high rate of illiteracy and consequently high levels of poverty and marginalization in local and national decision making), traditional authorities and district assemblies.
Through the Mwananchi Project, local authorities are sending out well coded information to the communities as well as some traditional authorities collaborating with unit committees to engage citizens for community development. With this, marginalized people in the study area are gaining access to information in a way they can understand and this has necessitated for a call from the neighboring chiefs to replicate the process in their communities and the media gaining interest to go to the communities and interact with the people.
Also, the capacity of institutions, traditional authorities, media, elected assembly members, departments and NGO’s in reaction to the promotion of good local governance have been boosted. Innovations and traditions in information and communication governance process as well as ways of participating in legislative decision making processes have been identified so as to contribute in the effort of bridging the traditional authorities and the unit committees.
Based on the successes achieved, there is the need to intensify the education on promoting inclusive and accountable local governance so as to bring back the lively interactions that traditional authorities used to have with their subjects which led to the planning of development projects for their communities. This will contribute to the unearthing of some of the teething problems that characterized the mode of information dissemination and the kind of information that communities would like to receive and any innovations that could be brought to bear on it.