The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has secured a one million Euros grant from the European Union (EU) to undertake civic education ahead of the 2020 general elections aim at curbing electoral violence.
The grant, which spans a period of 18 months would also enable the commission to build capacities of key actors in early warning, conflict resolution, and counter terrorism to contain the rise of violent extremism and prevent radicalism in the five regions of the north.
The “Preventing Electoral Violence and Providing Security to the Northern Border Regions of Ghana (NORPREVSEC)” project also sought to fight against transnational organised crime, while promoting respect of human rights and the rule of law.
Ms Diana Acconcia, Head of the EU Delegation to Ghana who launched the project in Accra on Thursday, said violent extremism, as well as political and ideological radicalism, remains a major problem to the world and a common challenge for governments and civil societies worldwide.
This, she said, was gravely undermining international peace and security; “there is probably no corner of the globe untouched by the rise of violent extremism.
“It is also an increasing concern to the regional security agenda in West Africa and Sahel Region,” she added.
Ms Acconcia said with a wide spectrum of push and pull factors driving individuals into the arms of violent extremist groups, a discourse that was more nuance than the most common narratives attributed to terrorism was required.
“It calls for a more articulated response rather than the traditional security measures. It should encompass the respect of human rights and human dignity, which are both central to all key EU strategies,” she said.
She said the grant to the NCCE forms part of a wider project of almost six million Euros to prevent violence and counter extremism in the northern part of Ghana.
“The role of NCCE is so crucial in this scheme. A well-educated and empowered society, fully aware of its rights and capable of resolving its internal differences in amicable and peaceful manner, can move itself away from the dangers of radicalisation and rise of violence,” she said.
Ms Acconcia added: “For us it is very important to involve the communities, to involve in particular the young people because it is them who are most at risk of succumbing to seduction of violence or extremism.”
Mr Samuel Asare Akuamoah, Deputy Chairman in charge of Operations, NCCE said the grant would enable the Commission to acquire the required logistics and provide the necessary training to combat threats posed by extremism.
Mr Akuamoah said the Commission had already intensified its citizenship engagement by reactivating the Inter-Party Dialogue Committees (IPDCs) and holding parliamentary candidates debates to keep the citizenry informed.
He commended the EU for it continuous support and assured them of the Commission’s committed to put the grant to effective use to achieve the purpose for which it was awarded.
The EU, since 2011 has partnered the NCCE to undertake civil education including the Accountability, Rule of Law and Anti-corruption Programme (ARAP).