Interview with Emmanuel Akwetey , Executive Director, Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Ghana
ACBF and my institution started a partnership in 2003 although it took effect in 2004 and at that time we were just starting the organisation had been in operation for just about three years.
Now, ACBF gave four year support and the kind of support they gave, gave us the capacity or the resources to bring in professionals that we needed on board. The institutional development component was so strong that within four years the institute emerged very strongly as a leading think tank in Ghana; we had the people to do the research, we do research and advocacy, but in this case we were also pioneering an innovative capacity development approach we call interface capacity.
The interface capacity, we argued, is the capacity that citizens must have: non state actors, civil society organisations, NGOs, professional associations even trade associations like organised labour, like association of business people and son on which would enable them improve their engagement with government and state institutions when policies are being made. It should also enable them participate at high level dialogues on public policy whether at the national level or international level. So we developed capacity to build knowledge of civil society within the state sector and also build the capacity of non-state sectors to engage.
We did this extremely well in Ghana such that in international development cooperation dialogue in Ghana you find that civil society organisations gained a permanent place at the table where we were considered as full actors. We also were able to influence long term development planning, decision making because we got into the planning process. We (convened and organised) helped in organising civil society to take a stand on our democracy, on elections and peace negotiations, we went into all areas including even the formulation of Africa’s position on aid effectiveness which took us to Busan [South Korea].
So by and large the capacity that we built, that ACBF enabled us to build, the impact was huge, we became an institution fully set with competent people with our premises, with facilities and we were able to engage very effectively in different ways that helped us influence quite a number of policies in the country … and this was significant. So we are what we are today because of ACBF support.
Dr. Emmanuel O. Akwetey, Executive Director of the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) was recently awarded with ‘Martin Luther King, Jr. Award’ for Peace & Social by the US Embassy in Ghana for his key role in Ghana’s pre- and post-election environment saying adding that “Dr. Akwetey has also committed himself to decentralisation, reforms and battling corruption within the government.” Dr. Akwetey’s work has had a significant impact on Ghana’s elections and governance agenda. His efforts included promoting voter education, building sustaining credible electoral systems, ensuring peaceful elections, and building a climate of peaceful election adjudication. In 2012 and 2013, he played a key role in Ghana’s pre- and post-election environment, when he helped persuade the leaders of the major political parties and other stakeholders to initiate a dialogue … read more (external)