Public space in Accra, Ghana includes formally designated and informal parks or open spaces. Consistently, green spaces in particular have been characterized in studies, the media, and anecdotally as inadequate, under-valued, under-used, often poorly managed and inaccessible. While there are periods in the history of Ghanaian urban public parks when some spaces like the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park (ES Park) in Accra were more vibrant, sustaining such successes has remained elusive for the most part.
In two recent projects by Mmofra Foundation funded by HealthBridge, we have documented the general state of some principal parks in Accra. Through the projects we have advocated for the health, recreational, social and even economic benefits of more equitably distributed urban green space, prepared policy positions for the attention of local and national government officials and mobilized civic organizations working on the environment.
Mmofra Foundation's child-centered mission continues to be closely aligned to advocacy for public spaces such as parks, where children and families, particularly in Ghana’s cities, can safely enjoy the many documented benefits of outdoor urban space.
Mmofra third phase of its study and promotion of green public space in Accra will be to use the transformative force of a civil society-led re-visioning campaign to compel government into a stronger commitment to its parks policy generally, and action on the Efua Sutherland (ES) Park specifically. Drawing on lessons and experience from Phases 1 and 2, Mmofra will manage the campaign to set the ES Park on a sustainable rehabilitation path. To achieve this, Mmofra will:
Foster and coordinate an ES Park rehabilitation coalition of civil society organizations, businesses, government agencies, the international community, clubs and individuals through both in-person and virtual forums
Oversee a visioning exercise with input from all or most participants, including children and youth
Promote intensified use of the park in ways that align with the vision
Increase public awareness of the ES Park campaign through a range of media strategies
Directly engage and partner with local and national government agencies and personnel to secure the space, execute the new vision and commit to its sustainability.
Mmofra's 2019 (“Phase 1”) investigation of the history, status and public value of Accra’s parks
provided a useful evidence-based tool to inform policy and generate serious engagement
between the public, government, developers and civic organizations. The follow up in 2020
(Phase 2) saw Mmofra reach out to both government and the public to begin building a coalition to
anchor advocacy for better urban amenities and greening Ghana.
Key achieved outcomes to date include:
- Established a Coalition, which is resulting in increased understanding among various actors and increased engagement
- Created three temporary parks during September 2020 along with Coalition members, which resulted in increased engagement among the public on public spaces and green cities
- Organized Park(ing) Day Accra, which resulted in 3 urban installations at nodal points in the city
- Organized policy meetings, which resulted in government agencies pledging their support.