The general development of a robust civil society sector is paramount for Ghana to meet the needs of good governance and democracy. Ghana has an array of different civil society organizations that have come a long way in the advocacy for a democratic Ghana. The civil society organizations have been at the forefront of paying lip services for reforms in the country. Ghanaians celebrate living in the current social milieu as a result of the efforts of civil society organizations.
The promotion and protection of the fundamental human rights and freedom of Ghanaians has been a critical function of civil society organizations in the society. This article takes a look at some examples of civil society organizations in Ghana and their duties.
Types of civil society organizations
The civil society organizations have an important role in different facets in Ghana. The civil society forms the “third sector” in the Ghanaian circle. The other outer rings form part of the government and businesses.
In Ghana, the civil society works outside the Ghanaian government to manifest the will and interests of the people. This forms part of a wide range of non-governmental and non-profitable organizations that have an impact on public life. This helps to express the interests and values of the members and others based on their ethical, cultural, political, religious, scientific or philanthropic considerations.
Types of civil society organizations include;
- Groups in the community
- Labour and trade unions
- Grassroot public groups
- Worldwide organizations that carry out charity work
- Religious organizations
- Professionally-based associations
Added to the list is the voluntary collective activity where people combine to achieve a particular change for a specific issue. Other types of civil societies in Ghana include;
- International bodies such and theUN and Red Cross
- Neighbourhood self-help schemes
- Religious-based pressure groups
- Human rights campaigns in repressive societies
- Non-governmental organizations that improve the health, education and the overall living standards of both developed and developing countries.
Role of civil society in Ghana
Having been involved in the third center of the circle forming the leadership and economy of the country, the civil societies have a role to play to ensure the stability of the country and their own as well. Listed here are some of the functions.
1. Promoting peace and security
Civil organizations in Ghana play a vital role in the promotion of peace and security through ethnic cohesion and religious tolerance in Ghana. They also enhance the inter-tribal cultural exchange that increases the understanding between different communities. This is done through the engagement of the various ethnic and religious groups through mutual interactions.
2. Fights against diseases and epidemics
The civil societies are at the forefront in mediating for the fight against diseases in Ghana. They are instrumental when it comes to the battle against the HIV pandemic which has affected many Ghanaians. Civil societies lend a helping hand in times of disaster such as famines, accidents, floods and other vital disaster response programs. This is all to alleviate the effects of the crash.
3. Implementation of development programs
The civil societies play a massive role in securing the development of Ghana for future prosperity. This is through the focus on the core issues affecting Ghana such as health, education, sanitation, water and housing. This is also through the mainstreaming of the significant issues such as environment, gender marginalization and the case of vulnerable people living in the community.
4. Sharing of resources
Resource sharing is a significant role played by the civil societies through the use of different activities such as providing education, healthcare, water and sanitation, food, and other economic incentives.
5. The sound of justice for the vulnerable
The civil societies act as the watchdog for the community. This is through the checking of the government systems for the prevention of the government excesses such as authoritarianism and dictatorships, embezzlement of public funds and corruption. They also fight for the discrimination based on gender and protects the execution of the Ghanaian constitution.
List of civil societies in Ghana
The societies have clustered themselves by the issues they tackle. An organization cannot possibly help solve one issue on its own unless it has several arms that lend it a hand in doing so. Here are some of the categories and the societies that fall under them.
Civil societies for human rights in Ghana
The non-governmental organizations are useful when it comes to the organization of credible gender policy advocacy. They are also famous for being experts and have garnered the experience of strengthening the management and service delivery of the organization.
The civil societies in Ghana aim at promoting unity among the democratic and progressive students’ movements in the African continent, based on a common anti-imperialist, anti-neocolonialist and anti-colonist objective that is created among the broad masses of the African people on the awareness of the challenges that face Africa.
They have a woman-centred perspective that seeks the attainment and protection of human rights of women. It focuses on bringing the capabilities of women, attitudes, values and other experiences that promote the engagement for the gender equality and women advancement in life. They formulate policies and procedures that emphasize the affirmative action and the women-centred perspective to approach gender equality.
They are involved in offering legal aid to women, men, family counselling, family mediation, civic education and human rights training for men, women and children. Their mission is to promote the women’s individual and collective power to claim their rights in all aspects of their lives. It seeks to shift the society into one that respects and upholds the rights of all people.
Some of the civil societies that advocate for the human rights such as gender include:
- All Africa Students Union (AASU)
- ABANTU for Development
- Ark Foundation
- FIDA Ghana
Civil societies for development in Ghana
The mission of the these civil societies in Ghana is to contribute to the restoration and the conservation of the ecologically-sensitive areas and transforming the understanding of people to the appreciation of the creation of God. The organizations are involved in supporting disabled people with tools, employment opportunities and other resources.
With their advocacy works, they seek to influence the government and other international development actors and the private sector to formulate policies and services at the local and global level which look into the needs of the disabled people in Ghana. This is a forum that seeks to promote the cooperation and the exchange of technical information that comes between the operators of the internet-connected networks in Africa.
They also facilitate development through group skills and other income generating activities, farming and environmental sustainability projects and initiating agro-forestry and other development projects. They are involved in the promotion of sustainable development in Ghana through the community and self-help initiatives. They carry out different programs that touch on development projects that are aimed at improving the lives of the local Ghanaians.
They aim at promoting and nurturing a culture of the evidence-informed decision making in the government institutions to build a stronger community of practice in Africa. They are involved in implementing interventions that strengthen the institutional and individual leadership. They also are involved in improving the health and development of information systems that enhance the monitoring and performance and accountability systems to address the challenges that face growth.
Some of the civil societies involved in development of the communities in Ghana include:
- A Rocha Ghana
- Action on Disability and Development (ADD)
- AMURT International
- Center for Development Partnerships (CDP)
- Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG)
- Child Aid
- Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
- Youth Empowerment Synergy
- Ghana Employers Association
- Mastercard Foundation
International civil society groups in Ghana
They function similarly to civil societies in each and every aspect. The only difference is that their arms are stretched globally as opposed to civil societies which only have their focus in one country. The organizations are involved in the reduction of poverty and the economic and social development in the least developed African countries. This is done through the funding of projects and programs. They also offer technical assistance for the studies and the capacity building activities.
The organizations undertake programs aimed at changing and increasing the human rights impact and growth. They are involved in voicing the human rights themes and other situations and their effects on the people and communities. They also endorse materials to the sections for campaigning.
Some of the known international NGOs that have made tremendous efforts in changing the society in Ghana include:
- Action Aid International
- Young Women's Christian Association(YWCA)
- Young Men's Christian Association(YMCA) of Ghana
- School for Life
- Save the Children
- Project Concern International
- Pathfinder International
- Oxfam GB
- Friends of the Earth
- Foundation for Security and Development in Africa
- CARE International
- Africa Development Foundation
- Amnesty International
- Solidaridad Network
There are a host of other civil society organizations that are doing tremendous work to impart change and transformation in the Ghanaian society. Most of the focus of some of the examples of civil society organizations in Ghana are in the eradication of poverty, justice for the vulnerable, gender equality, education and emergencies. With the help from the central government, much can be accomplished to ensure a better future for all Ghanaians.
READ ALSO: Types of Business Organizations