The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation, and Rural Development (MLGDRD), and the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) of Social Cohesion, organised a Regional Stakeholders consultation to collate Expert conversations on the SOCO Scoping Study Report and the Digital Knowledge Management Platform. The event was held on SDD UBIDS Campus, Wa, Upper West Region, on Thursday 18th January 2024.

The one-day stakeholder consultation workshop was to enable stakeholders verify and validate the data and narrative in the report for the Scoping Study Report as the first test case for the Digital Knowledge Management Platform. Hence, it provided the platform for experts, indigenes, academic and professional groups to review the scoping report and offer their suggestions and ideas for improvement.

In his opening remarks, the Chairman, Hon. David Quaye Annang, indicated that the SOCO Project was expected to address challenges imposed by spillovers from potential conflicts and extremism from the Sahel Region to help reduce vulnerability due to exposure of impacts on climate change, strengthen local institutions, improve economic opportunities, and build public trust.  The organisers decision to bring the event close to the people who would be directly affected by the project instead of it taking in the National Capital, was in the right direction.

He acknowledged efforts made in the past by governments, development partners, and non-governmental organisations which have been hindered by lack of coordination and fragmented approaches toward implementation of programmes.

Accordingly, the overall goal of the forum was to promote evidence-based decision-making for integrated and inclusive development of Northern Ghana through the SOCO Project as well as create a user forum for the Digital Knowledge Platform. Aside this, the Regional Stakeholders consultation was further meant to hold expert conversations, to help finalise and improve the report to achieve the following goals through contributions:

  • Present and Validate the Draft Global Scoping Study Report with Stakeholders
  • Prioritize Recommendations from the Scoping Study and Co-Create Actions for 2024 and Beyond
  • Present, Discuss, and Refine the SOCO Digital Knowledge Platform
  • Collect User Experiences from the SOCO Digital Knowledge Platform
  • Explore Opportunities for Developing a Framework for a Coordinated Approach to Working in the North.

Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, Upper West Regional Minister, on behalf of the Chiefs and People of the Region in welcoming members to the forum, re-echoed the fact that the consultation was expected to generate ideas on discussions in the draft scoping report to provide a framework for establishing implementation mechanisms for the SOCO project.

On behalf of the University Management, Professor Kanton I. Osumanu, who represented the Ag. Vice-Chancellor, Professor Emmanuel K. Derbile, thanked the organisers for bring the programme to Wa, Upper West Region.