Ghana and local communities

At the time the Charter of Nation was adopted, the idea of Human Security was rooted in the interaction of States. The preamble of the Charter opens with the words “We the people of the United Nations determine to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war….”The issues of peace and security, as well as economic and social progress and Human Right, were and to a large extent still are seen as matters within the purview of individual states, there territories and their institutions.

The Link between SDG and the HSRC (GH) in the post-2015 framework

Human Security Research Centre Ghana (HSRC GH) is a Non-Governmental Centre of practitioners and researchers in the field of Security. The Centre seeks to advocate the movement beyond the notion of a world of states where national security is defined solely by threats to the territorial and sovereignty identity of the nation based on interpretations of national interests to a convergence of common ground with the notion of Human Security - a world of peoples in which the rights, needs and vulnerabilities of communities and their individual members to lead lives free of fear or preventable extreme deprivation become the crystal bottom-line referent object for security and development policy design.

With the above objective of the Human Security Research Centre (GH), there is a practical linkage between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the HSRC GH’s readiness to implement the new goals of the SDG. This is contained in looking at the Sustainable Development Goals much closer to the specifics of life in Ghana today by looking at the levels of structures and initiatives that are useful for sustaining national momentum.

The HSRC GH’s level of integration and involvement of the communities in consultation with relevant stakeholders is reflected in the No.9 of the SDG, “building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation”. This is the sure way in HSRC GH contributing towards increasing public awareness and promoting civil engagement for the implementation of the SDG in Ghana. It goes further in identifying the opportunities and gaps in Ghana’s efforts towards effective implementation.

The Human Security Research Centre Ghana has its specialty in:

a) Policy research and advocacy focusing on pro-poor communities and development programme monitoring in Ghana.

b)  Service delivery through the promotion of livelihoods security of the communities. 

c) It demands transparency, democracy, equity and accountability in the use of resources that the government of Ghana accesses and disburses to the communities for development through its agencies; 

d) The need for the poor communities to have a strong and consistent voice informed by evidence during policy discussions and budgetary decision making at national, regional, district and community levels is the primary agenda set for the Human Security Movement of Ghana.

The Inspiration of HSRC emanates from: UN General Assembly Resolution 66/290 adopted on 10 September 2012 -  as follow-up to 2005 World Summit on Human Security:……

• Agrees that Human Security is an approach to assist Member States in identifying and addressing widespread and cross-cutting challenges to the survival, livelihood and dignity of their people. Based on this, a common understanding on the notion of Human Security includes the following: 

• The right of people to live in freedom and dignity, free from poverty and despair. All individuals, in particular vulnerable people, are entitled to freedom from fear and freedom from want, with an equal opportunity to enjoy all their rights and fully develop their human potential;

• Human Security calls for people-centred, comprehensive, context-specific and prevention-oriented responses that strengthen the protection and empowerment of all people and all communities;

Human Security recognizes the inter-linkages between human rights, peace and development and equally considers civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

The mandate for HSRC (GH) to pursue these laudable ideas is under its Human Security Movement concept, to regulate the provision of a lifelong organisation of learners that works to promote good governance and equality of the people’s rights and well being as guaranteed in the constitution of Ghana.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) developed a new global development framework to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expired at the end of 2015. This new global development agenda integrate both the concerns of Rio+20 and Post-2015 MDGs framework.  An Open Working Group (OWG) comprising 70 countries, with Ghana being one of them, subsequently constituted to develop a post-2015 global development agenda called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for consideration by the UNGA in 2015, and as Ghana is also part of the Sustainable Development Goal, the goal 9 talks about “building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation”.

This is to help the world to be interconnected with the help of the internet and bridge the digital divide between the developed and developing countries.

“Building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation” requires enormous progress to be made on the MDGs, by showing the value of a unifying agenda underpinned by goals and targets. The indignity of poverty still persists in all underdeveloped and developing countries, and occasionally the developed world turns to encounter poverty in divers’ ways. The new Global Goals, and the broader sustainability agenda, go much further than the MDGs by addressing the root causes of poverty and the universal need for development that works for all people.

UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark noted: "This agreement marks an important milestone in putting our world on an inclusive and sustainable course. If we all work together, we have a chance of meeting citizens’ aspirations for peace, prosperity, and wellbeing, and to preserve our planet."

Voices around the world are demanding leadership on poverty, inequality and climate change to turn these demands into actions for Sustainable Development, which will guide policy and funding for the next 15 years, beginning with a historic pledge to end poverty.

Ghana as a member of the OWG and having participated in two UN-led national level consultations has played a significant role in defining the post-2015 Global Development Agenda. Thus, Ghana has to focus on the socio-cultural, economic and natural resource issues as well as the Institutional issues by means of human security.

The MDGs established measurable, universally-agreed objectives for eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, preventing deadly but treatable disease, and expanding educational opportunities to all children, among other development imperatives, this time the new tools these to be applied is human security to populate the concepts and usage of the initiatives for innovations to thrive. The participation of people living in poverty should continue to be the lynch pin in the implementation through training, impacting of human security skills, monitoring and accountability of this ambitious sustainable development agenda.

Incidentally, the issue of employment in Ghana remains a critical development issue. Unemployment in Ghana especially among the educated youth appears to have deepened despite consistent growth in the Ghanaian economy. For example, although Ghana has experienced an average economic growth of about 5% in the last twenty years, unemployment continued to soar within the same period.

With the job unfinished for millions of people—we need to go the last mile on ending hunger, achieving full gender equality, improving health services and getting every child into school. Now we must shift the world onto a sustainable path. The Global Goals aim to do just that, with 2030 as the target date. Ghana needs to be in a good position (Human Resource Capacity, Policy, and Infrastructure) to aid the implementation and achievement these Goals.

In Ghana today, unemployment constitutes perhaps the biggest social issue confronting our country, a situation which has been worsened by the turning out of many unskilled graduates from our Schools.

The secondary and tertiary education has not been able to turn out the relevant middle level skilled human resources needed for the “one-district-one-factory” industrialization of the country.  It should be noted that HSRC (GH) has to work hard to equip these large numbers of people, including school drop-outs who continue to throng our cities for non-existing jobs, ending up as head porters known locally as “kayaye” and “shoe-shine boys and girls”, this army of unemployed youth often engages in undesirable immoral behaviours like prostitution and armed robbery without human security skills.

To stem this tide of affairs, HSRC (GH) should use due diligence to ensure that the aim of the exercise will be achieved to equip and resource community secondary schools and Community Vocational and Technical schools with human security training modules. 

There is hunger/poverty in Ghana. The poverty cycle is a difficult one to break, but that is necessary if Ghana want to live in a world where everyone has the ability to fulfill their potential. Did you know there are over 870 million people who are hungry in the world at this exact moment? They include a huge proportion of the population in Ghana.

The kind of hunger in Ghana is that type that stops a body being able to work the hours that it needs to, that stops a brain being able to concentrate in class, that stops a person living in poverty being able to lift themselves out of it. Moving away from poverty must be a goal that will not only make sure everyone has enough food, but that we can make sure it is nutritious and sustainable to grow.

Poverty is a direct consequence of unemployment. Every Ghanaian must be alarmed at the abject poverty that stares at us everywhere in the cities, towns and villages. We should regret as a people to say that various poverty-reduction interventions such as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), Youth Enterprise Support (YES) and the like, though commendable, have not yielded the desired results.

It is the strong conviction that policies and strategies aimed at reducing poverty must be pragmatic, realistic and home-grown. Over-reliance on donor-driven or directed programmes must be cut to the barest minimum. The resolve of the global community to bring extreme poverty to an end must challenge Ghana and HSRC (GH) to work hard to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at an earlier timeline before 2030.

Education is repeatedly highlighted by senior government officials on various platforms related to the post-2015 development agenda and is furthermore identified as a core priority issue in the UN report of the national consultations on SDGs. While Ghana has made substantial improvements in its educational sector particularly in the area of access to basic education, serious challenges remain at the tertiary level that requires urgent action. The free Senior High School (SHS) concept though good, its sustainability on a grand scale has become more hydra-headed with major problems: overcrowding, inadequate resources for feeding, less motivation for teachers, gagging of educational authorities from complaining. Its progressiveness has been thrown to the winds. 

There is an unchanging position that it is the inalienable right of parents and guardians to choose schools for their wards. The HSRC (GH) has over the years reaffirmed its conviction that it is not the right of a computer, programmed by a prone-to-corruption human being, to choose schools for our students. This is why the HSRC (GH) continued to appeal to policy makers to abolish the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) and replace it with a more workable and transparent version.

Community Schools Inspectorate concept has been pivotal in quality education delivery in Ghana. However, successive policies in educational reforms in recent times have systematically sidelined the Educational Community Schools Inspectorate making the concept irrelevant. Because of this, the HSRC (GH) and other civil societies have for some time now engaged the policy makers to come out with clear policies with regard to the Education delivery.

Urbanization remains a growing challenge in developing nations around the world. In Ghana, the challenge appears to be reaching alarming proportions resulting in the near exponential growth in slum areas particularly Accra. Urbanization is a key challenge that must receive priority attention in both the SDGs and in Ghana’s development framework. Not only does urbanization exert extreme pressures on the State to provide and improve the quality of social amenities in cities; but that meeting that challenge itself means that invariably very little of available national resources are committed to developmental needs in rural areas, a situation that propels the phenomenon of rural-urban migration in Ghana. In this sense, addressing the challenges associated with the growth in urban populations must be seen as a necessary aspect of promoting equitable development in the country.

The increasing urbanization of Ghana has brought in its wake the problem of “streetism”. In effect, children who should be in the classrooms are found loitering and/or hawking on the streets of our towns and cities. With increased urbanisation, the practice of prostitution is on the ascendancy while the HIV/AIDS pandemic is still rampant in some parts of the country, particularly, in cities. There are cases of armed robbery attacks in our cities. Even though statistics show that such cases have gone down, we think that there is still more room for improvement in this area.

The problems relating to urbanisation also include the fact that urban poverty has increased over the last few years compared with rural poverty. These problems relating to urbanisation may seem daunting but the HSRC (GH) feel they are guided by providence and hope that united as one people we can surely surmount these formidable challenges.

The Statement presented by Ghana in the first OWG session in March 2013, climate change is one of the issues that hinder the development of developing countries and thus deserving of adequate attention in the post-2015 framework. In Ghana, increasing drought and perennial flooding has severe consequences especially in food-producing centres of the three Northern Regions of the country

Closely linked to the health of the nation is the issue of the care of the environment. Time and again, it is regrettable to note the persistent pollution of our water bodies, the littering of plastic waste everywhere, the careless felling of trees in the forests and savannah area and the rampant illegal mining (galamsey) operations in towns and villages. The HSRC (GH) and indeed all Ghanaians need to rise up against this indiscriminate destruction of our environment and water bodies. The authorities charged with protecting our natural resources should be up and doing.

The idea of the National Sanitation Day on every first Saturday of the month is laudable and commendable which requires all Ghanaians devoid of political consideration to actively participate in this exercise as a civic responsibility.

The HSRC (GH) urges all Ghanaians to acquire the habit, not only to clean up our surroundings but most importantly let us all learn how not to make our environment dirty in the first place. 

Policy makers on the care of our environment should settle the ongoing wrangling about who is responsible for the upkeep of our environment once and for all with the Jospong Group of Companies aka Zoomlion. The HSRC (GH) can certainly do with more education on the care of the environment. The HSRC (GH) will be charged with the responsibility to protect the environment 

In both the report of the UN-led national consultations on the SDGs and the recently concluded stakeholders’ discussion on the SDGs, health was identified as priority development concern for Ghana. Despite some progress in improving access to health services, principally through the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), substantial challenges remain in delivery of quality health care in Ghana. Consequently, infant, child and maternal mortality rates remain very high in Ghana, while preventable diseases like malaria continue to contribute significantly to child mortality.

Another priority issue relates to localizing the SDGs into a Human Security Movement. According to several key stakeholders, government officials and the UN representative, localization of the SDGs must be prioritized in order to promote citizens ownership and facilitate successful implementation. It is considered important that the SDG indicators being developed are adjusted to the national context to make the goals and targets relevant to Ghana. To ensure successful localization, sufficient public education is deemed highly important in order to generate mass support for the SDGs and for particular policy actions arising.

The primary purpose of HSRC-GH is to achieve and maintain human security stability in the interest of balanced and sustainable economic growth in Ghana alongside SDG. 

HSRC GH together with other institutions also plays a pivotal role in ensuring financial stability.

a) The task:

Vision – develops and supports initiatives in many strategic areas to improve skills development, competencies and knowledge of the vulnerable as part of the change management processes.

Mission – HSRC-GH exists to create an enabling environment for effective deployment into poor communities to have a strong and consistent voice informed by evidence during policy discussions of decision making issues at national and district levels as the primary agenda set through the Human Security Movement in the implementations of sound policies and regulatory framework.

With adequate resource available it should be possible for the HSRC GH to build the needed capacity ranging from managing the Human Security Movement requirements through to developing long term economic development plans which optimize resource revenues for key public investments.

b) The solution:

Human security today has become a major issue on the international political agenda. Even though there are a wide range of approaches (United Nations system, regional and international organisations, bilateral cooperation, civil society organisations, etc.), all actors realise that security is no longer limited only to the traditional view of protecting State borders and territories against external threats. HSRC-GH builds confidence in the people linked up to reputation. These days, misrepresentations abound with emphasis increasingly placed on the State instead of human security with focused on the citizens. 

 c) The outcome:

As specified in the 1994 UNDP Human Development Report, the concept of human security stresses the protection and promotion of human life and dignity and demands reputation. Safeguarding human reputation is a critical concern of HSRC.

2. Our Work

a) The Human Security Movement is an off shoot community based umbrella organisation of the HSRC-GH. It is a lifelong organisation of learners that work to promote good governance and equality of the people’s rights and well being as guaranteed in the constitution of Ghana.  

3. HSRC-GH’s New Approach

HSRC-GH knows how to build iconic brands. We have a tried and tested three-step process, built around this knowledge, enriched by creative tools designed to spark original ideas and new perspectives.

a) Step 1 Discover

HSRC-GH brings inquiring minds to the Human Security Movement, putting clients, communities and target audiences under the microscope until we find an insight that lifts a brand out of the ordinary and gives it a new story to tell.

b) Step 2 Design

Visual appeal alone is not enough (although it’s certainly a good start). We have to look how to bring communities’ brands vividly to life, using our vision to inspire everyone charged with building the brand holistically.

c) Step 3 Delivery

We’ve cracked the thinking and the design, now to make it happen – on schedule and to a budget. We’re sticklers for precision and oversee every stage of community life as production to ensure nothing is lost between the vision and reality, which everything is fully detailed, and that profits will be made.

4. HSRC-GH News

a) HSRC-GH new product and service with a bang

Whether you’re a start-up, or an established community looking to launch a new service or product, HSRC-GH’s brand design package has been created to develop your ideas and concept into a marketable brand within days.

Working closely together, one to one, HSRC-GH is an exhilarating mix of strategic thinking and creative idea generation that makes community production as fun as it is energetic. You’ll achieve a lot in a short time.

5. Who’s HSRC-GH for?

HSRC-GH is for all Ghanaian communities and its vulnerable people.

It provides start-ups for infant communities and assists to establish small scale rural companies. It helps develop the skills, knowledge and entrepreneurship of the youth and women.

See Eligibility and criteria of Membership below.

6. Key Features

i. Define personal and community concepts

ii. Define personal and community brand foundations

iii. Review personal and community existing brands

iv. Redefine personal and community brand foundations

v. Set up personal and community Action Plans

vi. Brand designs and development 

vii Follow up and support

7. How does the package work?

a) Step One: Concept and Brand Foundations

Before HSRC-GH starts designing your skills development, we’ll clearly define and understand your concept and ideas, and set the foundations of your brand that will be the solid base that supports your marketing. 

We’ll write your brand story, the promise you make to your customers, and your values. And we’ll identify and define in detail your ideal client, and why they will buy from you, and only you.

HSRC-GH will first spend time with you, visit your community, on the phone, to assess your branding challenge, establish what needs to be done, and set realistic goals. We’ll then create a practical Action Plan for us to follow, as we rebrand your offer, and give your business the turbo-boost it needs to drive more sales and grow your profits.

Your written Action Plan will be sent to you as a PDF and if you choose, we’ll also send you a recording of our call so that you can refer back to what we said whenever you like – no need to scribble notes!

b) Step Two: Design Day

Our creativity will take this deep understanding of your business offer and encapsulate it in your visual brand. We’ll ensure your brand design delivers the emotional engagement with your customer that will be the cornerstone of your sales success. We’ll together set you up – usually at your community – and create the visual brand and ‘toolkit’ that will communicate your brand offer and values to your customers. You’ll have everything you need to start marketing your new business idea.