In the heart of the bustling city of Takoradi, at the prestigious Alliance Hotel by Eagle, a gathering of passionate individuals was underway.
They represented a diverse array of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) from Southern Zone 1, all with a common purpose – to review and refine a groundbreaking Non-Profit Organization Bill before it made its journey through the hallowed halls of Parliament.
The sunlit morning of September 29th found the participants eagerly assembling at the hotel's entrance. Each carried with them a commitment to fostering change, a desire to strengthen the role of NGOs in the nation's development, and a shared belief in the power of collaboration.
As the clock struck 9:38 am, they stood at the checkpoint, their details meticulously recorded by the vigilant staff, a testament to the importance of this momentous gathering.
Inside the conference room, anticipation was palpable.
The program officially commenced at 10:16 a.m., guided by the calming voice of Rev. Charles Adu Gyemfi, who opened the proceedings with a heartfelt prayer. His words resonated with the attendees, setting a tone of unity and purpose.
One by one, the microphone was passed around, breaking the ice as participants introduced themselves. While their backgrounds and organizational missions varied, there was an underlying thread of dedication to social change that bound them together.
Madam Alberta Kwofie, representing Gender in Focus, took the floor. With eloquence and passion, she painted a picture of the journey that had led them to this pivotal moment. She reminded everyone of the previous meeting held in Cape Coast in 2021, where the idea of the Non-Profit Organization Bill was conceived.
This current gathering, she emphasized, was a crucial step toward refining and validating that vision.
The proposed Non-Profit Organization Bill was projected onto the screen, and a participant began a meticulous reading, starting with the table of contents. The room was filled with focused attention as the intricate details of the bill were unveiled.
After this comprehensive reading, a well-deserved coffee break beckoned. For twenty minutes, the attendees mingled, sharing insights, and forming connections. It was a moment of camaraderie, a time to reflect on the significance of their shared mission.
As they reconvened, it became evident that this was not just a meeting; it was a platform for change. They delved into discussions, scrutinizing various aspects of the bill. Key points emerged, illuminating the path forward:
1. Conditions for Granting a License: The bill outlined strict conditions for NGOs to obtain licenses, ensuring that they operate with transparency and accountability. These conditions were seen as essential to maintain the integrity of the non-profit sector.
2. Appointment of Members: Participants advocated for greater involvement in the selection of board members, believing that those actively running the organizations should have a significant say in their leadership.
3. Suspension and Revocation of Licenses: Provisions for suspending and revoking licenses were discussed in detail, emphasizing the importance of adhering to the bill's requirements and rectifying breaches promptly.
4. Refusal to Issue a License: The bill's clauses on refusing licenses underscored the significance of aligning NGO objectives with national interests and security, reinforcing the sector's responsible role.
The floor was then opened for suggestions and opinions. A suggestion sheet was circulated, capturing the collective wisdom of the attendees. The head of the Non-Profit Organization Secretariat addressed questions and took note of the valuable input, fostering a sense of collaboration and shared responsibility.
Among the key takeaways were:
1. The imperative of this meeting extended beyond mere legislation; it was driven by a commitment to combat funding for terrorism and detect money laundering.
2. The establishment of a commission to oversee the activities of NGOs was welcomed as a step toward greater accountability and transparency.
3. The presence of the Financial Intelligence Center signaled a commitment to safeguarding the integrity of non-profit organizations.
4. Regional Directors of Social Welfare from the Western Region (Monica Siaw) and Western North Region (Gideon Sagoe) added their invaluable perspectives to the dialogue.
In the end, this gathering of dedicated individuals and organizations symbolized the very essence of civil society. Their commitment to shaping legislation that would not only govern but empower NGOs spoke volumes about the positive changes they aspired to bring about in their society.
As they left the conference room, the attendees carried with them a renewed sense of purpose. They knew that their collective efforts would be instrumental in building a better future, where NGOs could thrive and continue making a positive impact on the lives of those they served.
The Non-Profit Organization Bill would soon embark on its legislative journey, carrying the hopes and aspirations of a united, passionate, and dedicated sector.
The Ministry of Gender was the conveyor, with the exercise traveling the length and breadth of Ghana for the input of NGOs.
The call is to ensure that there is a crusade towards the amendment of the 1992 Constitution.
The lead Person on the team was Mr. Theodore Dela Ashiabor.