GrassRootsAfrica is a Ghanaian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) founded in 2004 as a grassroots support organization with a special focus on Human rights, social gender and economic justice and well-being. The organization has a Pan-Africanist vision and works to improve the lives of the poor and dis-advantaged in Africa especially women and children and strive to make the over 60% of Africans who live below the poverty line the center of governance, trade and development policy.
GrassRootsAfrica accomplishes this mission, in partnership with others, through Capacity building, Research and Advocacy on issues affecting marginalized communities and the dis-advantaged sections of society especially women and children and the unemployed.
The key thematic areas include Human Rights & Access to Essential Services and Natural Resources, Public Expenditure Tracking and Advocacy, Governance and Women’s Rights especially women’s access to land, water and household resources and Environment and Sustainable Development.
With poverty reduction and the strengthening of the social and economic rights of women and the dis-advantaged among its highest priorities, GrassRootsAfrica works with partner organizations around the world to enhance knowledge, change attitudes and mindsets and public policies that militate against the access of women and other disadvantaged sections of the society to productive assets, essential services, improve their income-earning opportunities and capabilities, and ensure their health, safety, and the full realization of their human rights.
We have a special focus on women because the majority of women in Africa are doubly oppressed: first as poor people and secondly as women. They are also at the center of the care economy and community life revolves around them. They suffer the most when water and sanitation services are in deficit.
It is in this context that GrassRootsAfrica describes its mission as promoting social and economic justice and fundamental human rights, especially of the poor and those without organized voice and influence.
GrassRootsAfrica began in July 2004 as a research and advocacy support service to community based Organisations in the low-income and peri-urban settlements in and around Accra organized around the demand for public water, sanitation and health services from the local government authorities and other resource gate keepers. From an urban water, health and sanitation base, it grew into a predominantly Human Rights, social inclusion especially as regards to water and sanitation and participatory local governance promotion organization with a strong research and behavioral change thrust with a strong commitment toward gender justice cross-cutting.
To create a just and fairer society in which the rights, well-being and total development of the citizenry become the justification for the existence of governments and policy makers.
To provide research and advocacy in support of Citizens’ initiatives that promote good governance, protect Human Rights, advance women’s empowerment and equitable development, guarantee personal security and enhance well-being, particularly of the dis-advantaged in society.
- Provide quality research and advocacy support to our grassroots constituency and partners
- Respect and care for our partners, collaborators and staff.
- To have an organization that continues to learn and develop skills and increase its knowledge base.
- An organization that assumes that there cannot be sustainable development and democracy without grassroots participation.
- An organization where staffs are committed and proud to work for and with those without a voice or those whose voices are muffled.
- To promote equality of opportunity and celebrate diversity among different communities and sustainable development advocates.
- Build effective partnerships and networks for the realization of GrassRootsAfrica’s Vision.
GrassRootsAfrica’s Research and Advocacy is Rights-based and policy-oriented and this cuts across all its thematic areas. We recognize that there is a universal need among policymakers, multinational and national development organizations, and many others for empirical basis upon which to develop sound policies and programs. GrassRootsAfrica strives to fulfill this need with respect to how critical issues are affecting the lives of the vulnerable and the marginalized by ensuring that all our research findings are conveyed to the appropriate policymakers and development partners at the local, national and global levels.
In furtherance of this we undertake research and advocacy in support of initiatives that promote Rights, Gender Equity, Citizens-Government engagement, Environment and Human Security and Well-being, especially at the grassroots level.
With Poverty Reduction and the strengthening of the Human, Political, Economic and Social Rights of the vulnerable and the marginalized among our highest priorities, the foundation works with partner organizations around the world, local communities and civic groups to enhance knowledge, and improve policies and programs that:
- Increase women’s control over reproductive and productive resources
- Improve women’s income-earning opportunities and capabilities
- Promote the Right to Water and Sanitation
- Improve the access of the vulnerable and marginalized groups especially women to essential and basic services and the necessities of life such as health, education, water, sanitation and food.
- Monitor public expenditure and impacts of policies in the Water, Sanitation, Hygiene in Schools and Social Protection areas.
- Support Knowledge sharing across professions and communities that enhance the integrity of individuals and households
- Emphasize equitable and pro-poor national and international Public Policy and development options.
- Encourage Citizen-Government engagement that promote Rights and improve good governance.
GrassRootsAfrica has competent resource persons that include water and sanitation specialists, lawyers, economists, public health specialists, sociologists, governance specialists and policy analysts. Many of these resource persons have their own track records that precede the organization and are recognized for their expertise in diverse areas.
Under the oversight of its 7-member Board of Directors, GrassRootsAfrica is managed day-to-day by its Executive Director with a core of supporting staff. While much of GrassRootsAfrica’s work is cross-sectoral, each of its management staff and resource persons hold direct responsibility for the success of their specific focus areas.
The Board of Directors consist of a chair and six others and meet twice a year to review programs for effectiveness and deliberate on fundraising, matters of organizational development, approve budgets and review financial and audit reports. The Board also advises on overall policy direction.
To ensure the optimal performance and capacity building of its staff, GrassRootsAfrica conducts performance appraisals of staff members annually and provides training opportunities where needed. We also conduct quarterly technical seminars to enhance the knowledge of staff on current issues and to build technical skills regarding research, advocacy and current development paradigms.
SUMMARY OF PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION HISTORY
Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion Project
Duration: July 2004-December 2005
Sponsor: Goldman Foundation, San Francisco, USA.
Madina is a water starved community which has greatly compromised sanitation and hygiene practice in the area leading to occasional outbreaks of cholera. The program was basically about public awareness through information sharing and hygiene counseling using graduate nurses and interns from the public health schools.
Knowledge sharing and Networking on Nutrition and Gender Project
Duration: February 2005-July 2006
Sponsor: International Center for Research on Women
This project was premised on the fact that information and knowledge on the gender dimension of nutrition especially as regards participatory gender sensitive household resource management was not out there in the public domain and the network necessary to make this happen was either non-existent or weak. This project was to underpin a much bigger project-the Nutrition and Gender Initiative which started almost concurrently.
The Nutrition and Gender Initiative Project(NGI)
Sponsor: International Center for Research on Women
Duration: July 2005-July 2008
The Nutrition and Gender Initiative sought to identify pathways by which the empirically established development dividends associated with women’s health, nutrition and empowerment could be incorporated into mainstream development policy making, project design and implementation. Health and nutritional wellbeing is fundamental to the achievement of full social, mental and physical potential of individuals and populations. Women, when healthy and well nourished, have the energy, creativity, and security to live their daily lives with dignity and would contribute actively to their families, their communities and their countries (FAO, 2001). A major assumption was that empowering women would enhance involvement in decision-making and exert influence and control over their lives and that of their children and environments particularly as regards income use, hygiene practice and household sanitation.
The NGI project design had three key interrelated components:
Knowledge Sharing and Networking
Research and Documentation
Policy advocacy and Communication
Local Civic Coalitions Project (Main)
Sponsor: UK DFID
The goal of the project is to contribute to poverty reduction within the context of the Ghana Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy and the Millennium Development Goals. The purpose of the project is to capacitate people through their formal and informal organisations at the grassroots level to participate in decision-making processes by holding public agencies and officers accountable. The project will consolidate democratic governance by increasing civic involvement in public policy at the local level. The project rests on four strategic pillars, namely, Facilitation, Information, Local Resource and Community Mobilisation and Rooted Advocacy.
Local Civic Coalitions Project (Supplementary)
Sponsor: European Commission
This was to enable GrassRootsAfrica and her partners extend the LCC project to two more districts namely Kassena-Nankana West and Bawku West.
Capacity Building workshops on the role of International financial Institutions (IFIs) in water sector development.
Beneficiaries: Parliamentarians, Assemblymen and Local government staff.
Sponsor: Global Green Grants
Duration: 6 months
Community Score Card on Water
Project is to assess urban water service delivery to the Madina community in terms of reliability, quality and quantity, customer care and maintenance culture.
Sponsor: Water Aid In Ghana
Water Sector Budget Tracking Project
Sponsor: WaterAid In Ghana
Partners: Past and Present
Food and Water Watch- Washington DC
Daughters of Mumbi-Nairobi
Community Partnerships for Health and Development-Tamale
German Embassy Ghana
Women Environment Program-Nigeria (Present)
Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation Sector(CONIWAS)
Network of Women’s Rights in Ghana(NetRight)
Africa Jubilee South
Social Watch Coalition
African Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW)
Women’s Manifesto Coalition
African Women’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Network (AWWN)
Area of operations
Ga East District
Kassena-Nankana East District
Kassena-Nankana West District
Bawku West District
Accounting and Administrative Capability
GrassRootsAfrica’s accounting and administrative staff operate a computerized Fund Accounting platform using Tally accounting software, integrating the financial information of all offices and programs.