As part of measures to engage citizens in the decentralization process for effective governance, USCOND in partnership with Hen Mpoano is implementing a programme called Western Region Coastal Foundation in which they periodically engage communities and the District Assemblies in their operational areas for dialogue on community needs.

The Team Leader for UCSOND under the Western Regional Coastal Foundation, Mr. Michael Kwaw Nyarku, pointed out that the project which is currently operational in 51 Communities within the Ellembelle District seeks to solicit for the views of community folks especially on their needs and relay it to duty bearers for the necessary action to be taken.

According to him, the project gathers issues from households, communities, special interest groups such as the youth and Persons with Disability (PWDs) and brings them together with the Assembly responsible to seek responses to them.

Mr. Nyarku indicated that the District Meetings are held in order to incorporate their plan into that of the Assembly so that they do not conflict in providing community needs that have already been considered by the Assembly.

The District Planning Officer of the Ellembelle District Assembly, Mr. Michael Appiah-Acheampong informed participants that the existing plan that the Assembly is implementing will expire in December, 2017 and therefore revealed that community engagements had been carried out through the Area Councils where community representatives were met for deliberations. He indicated that Community representatives were advised to meet the entire community to solicit for their views so that whatever they presented were the concerns of their respective communities.

He mentioned that in order to cover the whole District, the Northern part of the District was also visited where community members were met to deliberate on their needs. He added that the District Planning Co-ordinating Unit is yet to meet the Non – Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Assembly Members and other Stakeholders to inform them of the Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP) for the next four years (2018-2020) and take possible inputs from them.

Mr. Appiah-Acheampong explained that, when a programme or projects was not executed in the earlier year, there is the chance to roll it over to the new year for the necessary action to be taken.

The programme saw Assembly Members, District Assembly Staff, Community Members, Chiefs, Opinion Leaders, Person with Disability and some youths in attendance.