updated 11 July 2001
updated 11 July 2001
SAPRIN REGIONS &
SAPRIN-Ghana is a network encompassing virtually all of the major NGOs, churches and trade union umbrella organizations in the country. In total, there are more than 300 organizations affiliated with SAPRIN.
The Civil Society Coordinating Council (CivisoC) was formed with 21 members representing organizations of workers, women, students, Muslims, farmers, fishermen, and small and medium-scale industries, as well as environmentalists and other NGOs. Local organizing across the country is coordinated through six regional structures. CivisoC formed four sub-committees of six to seven members each to work in the areas of organization, media, finance and management. It chose seven of its members to participate in the tripartite National Steering Committee with members of the government and the World Bank and designated eight civil-society experts to participate in the Tripartite Technical Committee that designed and is overseeing the research process.
Members of the Civil Society Coordinating Council (CivisoC)
Mr. Kwasi Adu-Amankwah (Trade Union Congress, Accra), Chairman
Members of the Tripartite National Steering Committee (TNSC)
Civil Society Technical Committee
Dr. Ellen Bortei Doku-Aryeetey (Institute of Social Statistical and Economic Research - ISSER)Tripartite Technical Committee
Third World Network - Africa
CivisoC began a national outreach drive after SAPRI was formally launched in Ghana on 25 November 1997 with the country's Vice President, following Cabinet approval of the initiative and the endorsement of Professor Akilagpa Sawyerr as the independent chairman of the Tripartite National Steering Committee.
A three-day national workshop was held on 15-17 July 1998 with regional coordinators and members of CivisoC to prepare a series of regional outreach workshops. In late July and August, workshops were held in all ten of the country's regional capitals, involving approximately 300 organizations and representatives from a cross section of civil society -- including farmers, trade unionists, women's groups, religious organizations, local entrepreneurs, NGOs, civil servants and district officials and others. The workshops were held to provide information on SAPRI, to identify issues of concern to civil society to serve as a basis for discussion at the First National Forum and to select representatives from the regions to attend the Forum. Discussions in all the workshops focused on the impact of adjustment policies in areas identified through previous consultations as a priority for civil society: health, education, agriculture and food security, gender, governance and micro impacts.
The First National Forum was held from 10-12 November 1998 at the Accra International Conference Centre. The keynote speaker for the event was the Honorable Speaker of Parliament, Justice D.F. Annan. The Forum was intended to bring unfettered testimony on the impact of structural adjustment and was unique in that the World Bank and government were given an opportunity to respond to the issues raised by civil society. The Forum was aimed at, and succeeded in, drawing out areas that civil society, the Bank and government of Ghana disagreed on for the purpose of identifying areas for field research.
Over 350 participants from a wide range of backgrounds attended, including representatives of labor unions, large and small-scale industrialists, religious associations, NGOs, environmental and development groups, as well as organizations of miners, teachers, farmers, women, children, the disabled, students, academics and traditional authorities. A report was prepared to provide an overview of the results.
The Technical Committee of the Civil Society Coordinating Council (CivisoC) worked on refining the issues raised at the Opening National Forum into researchable topics. Proposals were presented to CivisoC in March 1999 and were then taken to the tripartite National Steering Committee, where they were discussed and approved in April. A research design was developed and initial, broad terms of reference were drafted.
Recruitment of researchers took about two months to complete. Advertisements were placed in the major newspapers in Ghana and backed up with special radio announcements. The publicity yielded an overwhelming response, as over 320 applications were received. The local SAPRI Secretariat did the first screening, ensuring that applicants had complied with the minimum qualifications stipulated in the advertisement. CivisoC's Technical Committee then took over and did a second screening that led to the shortlisting of 37 applicants. Thereafter, the Tripartite Technical Committee (TTC) became involved as interviews were held to select the final list of researchers.
Ten researchers were selected and grouped into teams of two or three under the four issue areas of interest to SAPRI impact assessment, i.e.:
A national methodology workshop was held on 11-13 August at Sogakope in the Volta Region to instruct the researchers in the application of the core methodological approaches to SAPRI research -- political economy, gender analysis and participatory methods. A major lecture, followed by a training session, was organized for each approach by local experts drawn mainly from the universities in Ghana. The three-day workshop was highly instructive and provided the newly recruited researchers the opportunity to interact among themselves, as well as with the members of the TTC and staff of the SAPRI Secretariat. The workshop ended with a discussion of the draft terms of reference for the research.
A two-step approach was agreed to. First, the researchers were asked to complete a comprehensive literature review focused on the recommended list of issues. Terms of reference were formulated specifically for this assignment, which was completed by October. The report on the literature review was submitted to the TTC along with proposals for the fieldwork, but the review process stalled in late 1999 due to government delays in commenting on the reports. Once this problem was resolved in January 2000, the general terms of reference for the field research were further refined and approved with comments by the TTC in February. At the same time, the TTC mandated the Technical Coordinator to work with the research-team leaders to incorporate the changes in order to clearly demarcate the areas for study before beginning the fieldwork.
Final terms of reference with specific workplans and budgets were completed between March and April 2000. Fieldwork for the studies on trade liberalization and agricultural policy took off in late March, while the other studies were delayed for a few weeks for different reasons. The study on investment policy and mining was delayed due to communications problems between Tarkwa, where the fieldwork has taken place, and Accra that made it difficult for the research team members to contact each other and coordinate their work. This problem was resolved and fieldwork was underway by the end of April.
With respect to the study on access to social services, the tripartite National Steering Committee decided it was necessary to constitute separate research teams for work in health and education due to strong civil-society interest in both of those areas. Thus, the research on the impact of user fees and retrenchment was divided in two parts, one study focusing on health care and the other on access to education, specifically at the tertiary level. In order to cover all five research areas, a fifth research-team leader was added and the number of researchers was expanded to include a total of 12 experts. The team focusing on health care was out in the field in April, while the team studying tertiary education began fieldwork in May.
Draft research reports were presented in September/October 2000 and reviewed by the tripartite technical committee. The Technical Committee liaison continued to meet regularly with researchers over the next several months as they worked to revise their reports. Because of the December 2000 presidential elections, followed by run-off elections and the country's first change of government through democratic elections in its history, the process of finalizing reports and scheduling the Second National Forum was delayed. Final draft research reports were presented in April 2001.
Economic literacy has been considered as part of the overall process to strengthen civil-society participation in Ghana's SAPRI exercise. The idea of developing a specific economic-literacy program was taken up following the Opening National Forum in order to build the capacity of civil-society activists, organizers and leaders and to sustain active civil-society participation throughout the SAPRI research process.
The first economic literacy workshop took place in February 1999. It was a two-day session in Accra involving the SAPRIN zonal leaders -- those responsible for organizing and mobilizing civil society in ten regions across the country. It focused on economic policymaking, the international financial institutions (IFIs) and their process of decisionmaking, and how to engage with and lobby the IFIs. Following this first national workshop, literacy work continued in a decentralized manner as part of ongoing outreach.
Two national workshops took place during the second half of 2000, one focused on trade policies and other on increasing understanding of the parliamentary process and how to lobby in order to enable the most effective use of results from SAPRI to effect policy changes. SAPRIN zonal leaders participated in these workshops along with other civil-society organizers at the national level. The information from these workshops was then used in a decentralized manner at the local level.
National elections in December 2000, followed by run-off elections and the country's first change of government through democratic elections in its history delayed scheduling the Forum until 7-9 May 2001. A rapporteur's report of the Forum's proceedings was prepared. Taking into account the input from the Forum discussions, the final country report was completed in August 2001.