Formed in 1987, ISODEC has a long history of support to grassroots groups in Ghana. From a peri-urban health and sanitation, basic education base, it grew into a formidable force in rural water and sanitation delivery. ISODEC also provides services in the areas of Girl Child Education, Family Reproductive Health and national budget analysis. ISODEC works in an integrated and multidisciplinary manner linking the grassroots to the national and global to effectively implement its programme.
In 2000 ISODEC took a strategic decision to combine service delivery with policy and people centered advocacy. Hence, a research and advocacy programme was initiated aimed at promoting national development alternatives principally in Ghana and, to some extent, in the West Africa sub-region. This programme, sought to: review the neoliberal policy measures promoted largely by the international donor community and its impact on the poor; promote accountability by the state to its citizens; instill civil activism through rights awareness creation, rights promotion and defence and economic literacy; and promote social equity through the responsible use of public resources.
ISODEC created and nuttured three affiliate organisations. These are the Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), CEPIL’s objectives are to promote the public interest wherever these are violated by those with, or in, power (be they governmental or corporate), and to defend the interest of the poor. CEPIL has provided legal support services to mining communities in the country fighting unjust treatment by mining companies. They are also active in defence of prisoners’ rights and the right of squatters to shelter. CEPIL provides general legal advice services and internship for law students. The Cedi Finance Foundation (CFF) is a micro-finance institution currently operating in the Kumasi Metropolis. It provides largely micro-credit services to very small scale entrepreneurs, mainly women. It aspires to register as a Savings and Loans Company. Public Agenda: Public Agenda is a newspaper, which currently publishes twice a week. Its objective is to promote democratic participation, articulate social justice principles and defend the poor.
Within the West Africa Region, ISODEC has entered into a network relationship with six other civil society organizations in the sub region to create a regional forum called West Africa Right Based Advocacy Network (WARBAN). The organizations are: Alternatives – Niger, CAD – Mali, CPPC – Nigeria, ORCADE – Burkina Faso, NMJD – Sierra Leone and ASPE - in Senegal.
Our work on the national annual budget over the years has contributed to creating the space for public input into the budgeting process at the national level. It has also compelled the government to take to organising regional platforms to discuss the national budget with the citizenry. In addition, our budget work provides the platform for tracking public expenditure from the national through to district to community levels and it also provides budget information services to promote pro-poor and equitable impacts of the budget.
At the health front, our work on the field under our Family Reproductive Health Programme and our involvement in the activities of the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights has contributed to the reviewing of the National Health Insurance Scheme to offer exemption to children less than 18 years. In addition our field work has contributed immensely to the huge community response to register with the NHIS in the districts where we operated
Our involvement with the Coalition for Universal Access to Anti-Retroviral Treatment (UCARRT) to lead the campaign for free universal access to ART has contributed to the expansion of treatment and testing centres from Accra to all the regions
Our work with Northern Network for Education Development (NNED) and Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) has resulted in the expansion of the Education Sector Annual Review to the district and regional levels as against the former practice of holding only one review at the national capital
Our Girl Child Education Programme in collaboration with 8 District Assemblies (DAs) has contributed to influencing their district budgeting. Now there is a separate budget allocation for Girl Child Education activities in their respective districts. This programme has contributed immensely to the implementation of government policy on girl’s education. This programme has been repackaged under the name The Ambassador Girls Scholarship Programme (AGSP) and it is been implemented in the Upper East and the Northern regions.
For almost six years ISODEC participated in rural water and sanitation delivery in the country Our partnership with Water Aid began a process that led to the creation of the Mole Series in the 1990s; an annual national forum for discussion of Water and Sanitation issues. Principally, the Mole Series paved the way for the Community Water and Sanitation Agency and the subsequent Community Water and Sanitation Policy in Ghana. In recent years, ISODEC’s involvement and research on the Savelugu water system along with the creation of the National Campaign against Water Privatisation (NCAP) resulted in the change of government’s initial policy of lease arrangement to the current management contract. The campaign also compelled the World Bank to convert a $106,000,000 loan facility meant for the promotion of lease management to a grant aimed at supporting management contract.
Our Right Based Advocacy programme has as its objective to promote accountability by the state to its citizens, instil civil activism through rights awareness rights promotion/defence through economic policy and to promote social equity through the responsible use of public resources. Within this programme, much attention was paid to efficient use of the country’s natural resource revenue. As a result, we are currently facilitating the CSOs-led Public What You Pay ( PWYP) campaign in Ghana.