Ron Strikker ain a group photograph with participants
THE NETHERLANDS Ambassador to Ghana, Ron Strikker, has challenged Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to support government to achieve its vision of ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’.
According to him, many countries, including Ghana, have gone through substantial social development and economic growth over the past decades hence with the right support from CSOs, who are the mouthpiece of the citizenry, the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ vision is achievable.
He stressed that with the government of Netherlands no longer providing aid to Ghana but rather focusing on bilateral trade relationship between both countries, coupled with Ghana achieving lower-middle income status, the traditional development cooperation between both countries has changed from aid to trade agenda.
The ambassador added that the bilateral trade relationships between both countries would focus on strong economic development through the promotion of domestic and foreign investment trade, with the private sector acting as the engine of growth where entrepreneurs play a central role.
Mr. Ron Strikker was speaking at the Voice for Change Partnership (V4CP) programme learning event, with the aim of strengthening CSOs to advocate change, and also influence government on positive decision making which would go a long way to enhance the lives of the marginalized in society.
According to him, CSOs, which is one of the means by which citizens can contribute to nation building, must be supported to flourish.
He added that the government of Netherlands has a long-standing tradition of supporting CSOs operating in low-middle countries, adding that CSOs are the voice of citizens at both local and international levels, thereby making government accountable to citizens and also increase their legitimacy.
According to H.E. Ron Strikker, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs currently funds about 25 strategic partnerships and more than 1,300 CSOs in some 65 countries.
He further explained that in 2016, some 1464 advocacy efforts were carried out focusing on themes such as food, water, security, environment, health, and equity between men and women, among others.
Speaking at the event, the Country Programme Coordinator for V4CP, Mr. Eric Banye noted that the V4CP programme is an evidence-based advocacy programme implemented by SNV Netherlands development organization in partnership with the International Food and Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He explained that the programme focuses on generating evidence, and building the capacity of CSOs to carry out evidence-based advocacy in thematic areas such as renewable energy, food nutrition and security, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
He further asserted that after three years of implementation, the event was a moment to share, reflect and analyze lessons learnt in these sectors, adding that it is also to deepen their partnership with relevant stakeholders such as the government, department and agencies, private sectors, media and other NGOs in the implementation of the 2018 activities under the Dutch strategic alliance programme.
From Vincent Kubi, Tema