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The STAR Ghana Foundation harvests learning on gender equality and social inclusion work in Ghana

STAR-Ghana Launch pic 1.jpg

In November 2018, the STAR Ghana Foundation was launched as a Ghanaian-owned and led national centre for active citizenship, civil society and philanthropy. The Foundation builds on the STAR-Ghana Programme, established in 2011 as a donor grant-making facility to advance transformative social change by strengthening civil society, accountability and active citizenship. Currently, the programme supports more than 80 civil society grant partners across the country. The core STAR-Ghana donors are the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the European Union and Danida (Danish Development Cooperation).

SDDirect is part of a consortium led by Christian Aid that works with the Foundation’s Governing Council to support the STAR-Ghana programme and grow the Foundation. SDDirect provides lead technical support on organisational strategy and institutional development, development and implementation of the STAR-Ghana gender and inclusion strategy, and design and facilitation of STAR-Ghana’s ‘communities of practice and learning.’

The STAR Ghana Foundation is trailblazing leader on gender equality, inclusion and adaptive programming. Its mission statement puts gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) at the heart of everything the Foundation does.

At the Foundation’s 2019 Strategic Learning Event convened in early February, the STAR-Ghana GESI team reviewed key achievements and lessons arising from programme implementation in 2017-2018. Following are some of the highlights:

Achievements

  • New collective civil society action has been catalysed around engagement with Parliament on the gender provisions of the Land Bill
  • A cluster of STAR-Ghana partners working on essential services has influenced national budgets for better mental healthcare
  • The STAR-Ghana supported Civil Society Movement on Social Inclusion and its campaign for disability inclusion have provoked a lively national debate on government’s failure to fulfil its commitments on disability inclusion
  • Through the awareness-raising and advocacy work of an innovative national television show supported by STAR-Ghana, women and other excluded groups in rural areas have secured improved access to health and education services
  • Another media monitoring and advocacy initiative supported by STAR-Ghana has resulted in a 100% increase in utilisation of a public sector Disability Fund
  • Campaigning and advocacy efforts of STAR-Ghana partners have contributed to a decline in child marriage in the Upper West region as well as new bylaws to protect women accused of witchcraft in other parts of the country

Lessons from the programme

  • Advancing gender equality and social inclusion requires a ‘triad approach’ that tackles legal, institutional and social barriers to equality and inclusion
  • Civil society capacity-building for GESI is effective where provision is needs-based and diverse approaches are applied, such as training, provision of accessible learning resources and financial management mentoring
  • When an organisation embeds GESI as an institutional value and principle, mainstreaming of GESI tends to follow naturally
  • Where organisations have not yet embedded GESI in their values and culture, robust M&E and an element of enforcement is required to meet minimum GESI standards and create the ground for shifts in organisational culture and practice