The government of Ghana and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) signed an agreement of cooperation on 19th December, 1969, to formalise cooperations, even though before the agreement, FES had been working informally with local partners in the fields of media development, civic education and strengthening the trade unions.
FES’ first activities in Ghana included cooperation with the Ghana Trades Union Congress, support for cooperative movements to improve the livelihoods of people living in the rural communities in Ghana and cooperation with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation on an extensive film project because FES believed in using film as a means of civic and political education to reach a good number of people. This film project was so successful that it resulted in the establishment of the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI).
In the early 1980s, FES folded up in Ghana and returned in 1988, to continue its work with Ghanaian partners in the areas of promoting democracy and good governance, strengthening democratic institutions, defending workers’ rights and supporting free trade unions, promoting, free, vibrant and responsible media, promoting peace and encouraging gender parity. FES thus continued working with the Ghana Trades Union Congress and the NAFTI, its first partners, but widened its partner-base and included the National Board for Small Scale Industries, Ghana News Agency, Ghana Journalists Association, the Department of Political Science of the University of Ghana, and the Electoral Commission.
Support towards the Consultative Assembly and the Committee of Experts became a major focus in the early 1990s and during the constitution-making process. In preparation towards the 1992 general elections, together with the Interim National Electoral Commission (INEC) many hundreds of the INEC officials and thousands of voter registration assistants and political party representatives were trained. Given that the 1992 election marked a turning point for Ghana’s democracy, it became a logical conclusion for FES to embark on a support programme for the First Parliament of the Fourth Republic in 1993.
Development cooperation in the past has been successful due to the strong reliance on Ghanaian partners and there are, without doubt many Ghanaian partner organisations that are independent and equipped with formulating new ideas for collaboration.
Today, FES Ghana seeks to promote security, social democracy, economic development and gender justice.