Accra Report: Networks and Knowledge for Community Resilience-Building in Ghana’s Capital
The Millennium Cities Initiative is pleased to announce the release of The Millennium Cities Initiative: Accra – Networks and Knowledge for Community Resilience-Building in Ghana’s Capital, written and prepared by MCI-Accra Program Manager Joe Melara.
In retrospect, Accra was in many ways our most complex Millennium City, if for no other reason than the sheer population, urbanization and vibrant pulse that only a regional hub can boast. We still have fresh in our minds the mélange of excitement, optimism, expectations and skepticism that greeted us, as we began our work, back in 2010. As with many projects in the development sector, we experienced over the course of five years some promising successes, a number of disappointments, and a vast array of opportunities for building local knowledge with our partners.
As the title suggests, beyond documenting MCI’s programs and experiences in Accra, our report focused primarily on promoting resilience-building in some of the City’s most vulnerable settlements. We hope this spotlight can help to establish continuity between our work and Accra’s participation in the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program, an award obtained by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) with assistance from MCI Program Manager Joe Melara. We also emphasize here the importance of co-production of knowledge between local government, NGOs, local experts, universities and community interest groups, in the interest of generating the most robust and actionable urban planning information.
The MCI – Accra program began with developing urban research in such under-resourced settlements as Nima, New Town, James Town and Chorkor; this research either supplemented existing knowledge or generated new information that would later serve to inform the AMA’s settlement upgrading initiatives. We then carried out community profiles in Nima, Korle Gonno and Chorkor and began testing the concepts behind our recommendations by implementing the series of community-scale initiatives described here.
We could not have accomplished these things without our key partnerships with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, the University of Ghana and Voice in Community Empowerment (VOiCE), the youth-led civil society organization in East Ayawaso Submetro. In particular, we are deeply indebted to Honourable Mayor Alfred Oko Vanderpuije and Mrs. Lydia Sackey, for their leadership and guidance throughout, and to Professor Martin Oteng-Ababio and Mr. Ahmed Mustapha Yajalaal, for their wisdom and collaborative spirit.
MCI is hopeful that the programs we helped initiate will continue and that some of our own work will contribute to a growing body of knowledge on how the City of Accra can best protect and serve its deserving population, today and into the future.