- On November 25, 2014
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SEND GHANA was established on August 4, 1998 with the maiden name Social Enterprise Development Foundation of West Africa.
The organisation has evolved into a reputable and credible national Non-Governmental Organisation with specialty in;
a: Policy research and advocacy focusing on pro-poor policy and development programme monitoring in Ghana and
b: Service delivery through the promotion of livelihoods security.
SEND GHANA implemented its first programme dubbed the Eastern Corridor Livelihoods Security Promotion Programme (ECLSPP) with the aim of addressing practical development needs of communities in the eastern corridor of Ghana through an integrated approach to service delivery. The programme in Eastern Corridor was fragmented into projects for: (1) food security through cooperation, (2) human rights and peace education, (3) rural youth, self-employment and reproductive health and (4) rural commercial and micro-financial services.
By 2008, the ECLSPP had reached out to a wide range of groups with significant impact following successes earlier chalked.
Earlier in 1999, SEND initiated a working relationship in Liberia with a local NGO, the Rainforest Development Centre, but it was forced to pull out due to the escalation of the civil war.
Between 2001 and 2004 SEND GHANA implemented a service delivery and national policy advocacy programme which began with a food security project in partnership with the Canadian Cooperative Association (CCA) and Canadian Department of International Development (CDID). Parallel to its economic development programme, SEND implemented a community-based approach to peace building and conflict management.
In 2002, the organisation took a strategic decision and started the implementation of its flagship research and advocacy programme known as the Ghana (Highly Indebted Poor Country) HIPC Watch project. The purpose of the HIPC project was to demand transparency, equity and accountability in the use of resources that the government of Ghana accessed as a result of reaching the decision point of the HIPCs’ initiative.
From 2002-2004, through 25 District Monitoring Committees, SEND monitored the use of HIPC funds in the implementation of Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS).
The HIPC watch project of SEND GHANA resulted in greater transparency, equity and accountability in the use of the HIPC funds making it a reference point for civil society work and engagement on public expenditure monitoring.
The work on the school feeding programme contributed immensely to the subsequent improvement in the implementation of the programme such that issues around poor targeting, which the organisation consistently raised were heeded to by government, paving the way for the retargeting policy that was recently introduced to ensure that the most impoverished part of Ghana were selected to benefit from the programme.
The successful implementation of the project later culminated into the development of SEND GHANA’s celebrated flagship programme known as the Grassroots Economic Literacy and Advocacy Programme (GELAP). By the end of 2004, SEND had become one of the most established advocacy organizations in Ghana, with civil society partners in 25 of the poorest districts of Ghana. GELAP which was established to foster and deepen the institutionalization of civil society-government engagement at district, regional and national levels is currently operational in 52 districts in five regions (Upper East, Upper West, Northern and Western regions) in Ghana.
In addition to this, the organisation is also working, through a loose network with local organisations, in two other regions including Ashanti and Eastern regions.
The main constituents of SEND GHANA include socially excluded and marginalised groups such as women, persons with disability, small holder farmers and in general poor people.
An innovative framework, known as the Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation Framework which has four key components including; policy education, participatory research, policy engagement and policy responsiveness phases was developed as the tool for public policy advocacy.
The framework has been used to monitor a number of government pro poor programmes and policies. Key among them is the Ghana school Feeding Programme; the Capitation Grant; the National Health Insurance Scheme; Agricultural and trade policies; maternal health promotion and the use of local government revenue and mineral royalties. At the core of the monitoring activities of SEND is the application of what is referred to as the Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation Network (PM&E) framework used to monitor public expenditure in the health, education, and sectors among others.
The successful application of the framework has led to the establishment of platforms for civil society – government engagement at the district, regional and national levels. At the national level, SEND GHANA has developed effective working relationships with various parliamentary select committees and key ministries with an objective of influencing government policies through citizens’ feedback mechanism. Besides that, SEND GHANA has strengthened the advocacy capacity of district civil society organisations and community-based organisations, especially women groups and people living with disability to champion the demand for alternative policies. As a result of these engagements SEND GHANA has successfully pushed for improvement in good governance practices by monitoring the implementation of pro poor government interventions.
SEND GHANA has worked with its partners to engage government to live up to its commitment of increasing investment in the agricultural sector to a minimum of 10 per cent of national budget. Currently Ghana is investing almost 12 per cent of total national revenue in the agricultural sector representing improvement from the 2009 levels of 9 per cent.
SEND GHANA has made internal investments to improve staff skills, competencies and knowledge as part of our change management processes. As of now, eleven (11) employees have variously been supported to advance their education up to master’s degree level. Of this number, 54.5 per cent were women and 45.5 per cent were men. With improved staff competency, SEND-GHANA since 2008 no longer secures services of external consultants to carry out its core businesses.
The organisation’s service delivery programme reached out to a wide range of groups with significant impact. About 7666 people, majority of whom were women, benefited from credit union and micro-finance services; hundreds of women established small scale enterprises; young men and women were using condoms and other modern family planning methods; women became confident with increased ability to negotiate with their sexual partners; 50 community-based farmers co-operatives were established; co-operative members were using Information and Communications technology (ICT) to improve their market access for increased income; soya bean production became an integral part of the farming system and helped to improve on food and nutrition security; women experienced significant reduction in gender-based violence and; women’s leadership became strengthened and more visible in district governance.
In all of this work, SEND built strategic alliances and coalitions, such as the Ghana Civil Society Coalition on trade and livelihoods, the Civil Society Campaign to Monitor the MDGs and the Ghana Civil Society Aid Effectiveness Forum.
SEND GHANA’s outstanding management of the CSO Secretariat of the International Aid Effectiveness Review meeting held in Accra made it one of the well-known West African based CSOs across the globe.
The organisation has conducted several research activities resulting in reliable reports that help SEND GHANA to address different pro-poor interventions. These include Ghana School Feeding Program, National Health Insurance Scheme, Capitation Grant, District Assembly Common Fund, and Agriculture and Trade.
Outstanding research reports published by SEND include: Whose Decision Counts, A Monitoring Report on the Ghana School Feeding program and Making Decentralisation Work for the Poor.
In 2010, out of more than two hundred and fifty (250) Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) across Africa, SEND GHANA won the One Africa Award of US$ 100,000 due to its work that portrays an African-based, African-led advocacy organisation.
SEND GHANA initiatives have helped people accessed education and healthcare services in the poorest parts of the country.
SEND GHANA looks to focus on budget advocacy and promotion of gender equity.
Promoting accountability, transparency and equity in allocation of the national resources is critical now than ever before because Ghana is expected to be dependent solely on its revenue to fight poverty.
The need for the poor, especially, women to have a strong and consistent voice informed by evidence during policy discussions and budgetary decision making at national and district levels is the primary agenda set for SEND-GHANA in its strategic plan from 2014 to 2018.
SEND GHANA has operational offices in Salaga, Tamale, Wa and Accra with a staff strength of 71.