Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, the Former Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies, has called on assemblies to appreciate the needs of their people and collaborate with local stakeholders to find solutions to them.
She said by so doing they would see government’s social protection initiatives such as the One District One Factory, Planting for Food and Jobs and Investment in Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication as opportunities to complement what they already had.
Dr Ofei-Aboagye said this during the Third Congregation of the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) held in Accra on Saturday on the theme: “25 Years of Sustained Constitutional Governance in Ghana: Successes, Challenges and Prospects of Decentralisation.”
She said sector initiatives in trade, industry and tourism amongst other things should, therefore, fit into an agenda the districts have already considered.
Dr Ofei-Aboagye called on the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development’s District Centres for Agriculture, Commerce and Technology to help assemblies to operationalise their local economic development efforts.
“There are resources such as optimistic mind-sets, proactive orientations, viable partnership and determined appreciation of lessons learned from pilot efforts that need to be exploited vigorously,” she said.
Dr Dadson Awunyo-Vitor, the Director of the ILGS, said the pace of decentralisation process would continue to hinge on the quality of human resources across the country.
He, therefore, urged the graduands to utilise the quality of training received to be special breeds of local government professionals who would help in national development.
“As you enter the world of work remember to uphold integrity, creativity, leadership and service, which are the core values of the institute and be ambassadors,” he said.
Dr Awunyo-Vitor said: “As ambassadors, you have the responsibility to make the difference, we are confident that you will stand out in your area of endeavours and we shall take pride in your achievements.”
On the Institute’s future prospects, he said it had received accreditation from the National Accreditation Board to mount three bachelor’s and a diploma programme namely; Bachelor of Arts in Community Development, Bachelor of Arts in Social Protection and Bachelor of Arts in Public Sector Management and Diploma in Community and Social Development.
“However, the Bachelor of Arts in Community Development will be hosted by the Rural Development College in Kwaso,” he said.
Hajia Alima Mahama, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, urged the Council of the Institute to continue to work hard and create innovative programmes that would help build capacity and foster development.
Professor Imoro Braimah, the Provost of the College of Humanity at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, urged the graduands to make a difference by delivering and living a legacy for themselves and their children.
Mr Joseph Kwaku Agbevanu, the Overall Best Student, in his Valedictory Speech, appealed to the Government to equip and resource the Institute.
He appealed to the authorities to take advantage of the Public Private Partnership opportunities to attract investors to provide funding for the expansion of the learning facilities of the ILGS to support academic work and the social lives of students.
“Special appeal also goes to the Institute to welcome on board organisations that are in support of academic research works of students,” he said.
Mr Agbevanu said such collaborative efforts would go a long way to promote development and spur growth in most sectors of the economy.
In all, 114 students graduated out of which 22 were women.
Forty students representing 35 per cent graduated with a Master of Arts in Local Government Administration and Organisation, 32 graduands, representing 28 per cent, graduated with Master of Science in Environmental Science, Policy and Management, 26, representing 23 per cent, graduated with Master of Science in Local Development while 16, representing 14 per cent, graduated with Master of Science in Local Government Financial Management.