The Zongo Development Fund, Ghana Education Fund, Road Fund, Ghana Stabilization Fund, Ghana Heritage Fund, District Assembly Common Fund just to mention a few, are some of the Funds established and backed by law in Ghana. Unfortunately, an essential fund like a Peace Fund is absent from the list, meanwhile establishing a Peace Fund is an investment into conflict prevention which is far more cost effective than conflict resolution.
My visit to National Peace Council was a revealing and educative experience. There, I realised that, aside the misconceptions surrounding the Council which has significantly led to allegations and verbal attacks from a section of the populace, it has also been plagued by inadequate financial and logistical resources both for administrative work and the execution of relevant projects. After a careful journey through the National Peace Council Act 2011 (Act 818), the Act gives room for an establishment of a Peace Fund, this has not been realized after a decade of the passage of the Act and fifteen years of the existence of the Council. It is therefore not out of place to push for a Peace Fund to be instituted.
The Council was established with the object to facilitate and develop mechanisms for conflict prevention, management, resolution and to build sustainable peace in the country. The conflicts include land, chieftaincy disputes, inter and intra ethnic conflicts; and not only election related violence as most people presume. With the support of a number of donor partners, some of these conflicts have been managed to avoid their escalation to draw national attention. A Peace Fund will go a long way help facilitate the resolutions of all these conflicts; carry out brilliant and relevant projects that have been begging for funding; and to a large extent, increase the level of independency of the Council.
The Act clearly states the sources of money for the Fund. These include; contributions from government, local private and public organizations and international organizations; foreign governments, moneys released from projects of the Fund, and gifts contribution and gifts and contributions from other sources.
According to the Act, the Fund shall be used for the following purposes: provision of assistance to conflict resolution and peace building institutions in Ghana; facilitating and promoting conflict resolution and peace building activities in the country; and funding of other projects related to conflict resolution and peace building which the Council may determine. It should also be noted applications for grants from the Fund shall be submitted to the Governing Board for consideration and approval.
The Peace Fund provides an opportunity for civil society organizations interested in the peace building and conflict resolution to access money from the fund to execute relevant projects. Clearly, the Fund will be for all to take advantage of, and hence, requires the support from all quarters for its establishment.
The Writer is a staff of the Information Services Department