A full description of the community policies and rural development in place in Ghana. From The Ghanaian Chronicle, by Daniel Nonor.
Ghana’s fight against poverty to make progress towards the Millennium Development Goals has seen various successive policies introduced to accelerate national development, with a special focus on rural development.
By far, the design and implementation of these policies for social well-being have required a constant evaluation of how these systems have evolved over the years and to understand what impact they have had on development and poverty reduction programmes.
One such programme is the Community-Based Rural Development Project (CBRDP), which was initiated by the Government of Ghana as part of its poverty reduction strategy in 2004. The Project aims at using rural community participation to reduce rural poverty and to build and strengthen capacities for effective local government administration.
The Project aims, among others things, to build and strengthen the capacity of rural communities, and enhance their quality of life by improving their productive assets, rural infrastructure and facilitate their access to key support services from public and private sources.
In addition, the Project contributes to improved employment and economic growth, especially among the rural population, with varied innovations to make projects community-owned by maximizing community involvement in the implementation of projects.
The projects under the Community-Based Rural Development Project have been categorised into five main components, namely: Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building; Infrastructure for Agricultural Development; Rural Enterprise Development and Learning Centres, Infrastructure for Social and Human Development as well as the Community-Based Natural Resource Management.
After six years of its implementation, the CBRDP has made significant contribution to the effort to alleviate poverty among Ghana’s rural population. With the construction of five dams, one dugout, 188 feeder roads, 20 market structures and 12 slaughterhouses in rural communities across the country, many otherwise disillusioned rural folk can now make something meaningful out of life.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, and the future looks even brighter with on-going projects on two wind pumps, eight dams, two dugouts, irrigation facilities, 214 feeder roads, 45 market structures and 15 slaughterhouses, which are expected to bridge the urban-rural development gap.
and Capacity Building
The activities under this first component are meant to provide support to strengthen and build the capacities of local government institutions in support of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy through good governance and human resource development at the national, regional, district and community levels. This is meant to enable the beneficiaries to play effectively their crucial role in the implementation of the projects under CBRDP and thereby become more effective players in the entire local governance set up.
So far, CBRDP has provided training for all 138 district assemblies and 454 selected district councils in decentralisation policy and regulations, procurement, financial management, planning, and monitoring and evaluation.
With support from CBRDP, the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) has trained personnel from all public services in procurement. Also, the entire accounting system for the district assemblies has been reformed in collaboration with the Controller and Accountant General while the Internal Audit Agency conducted an orientation for newly recruited auditors for the district assemblies.
The capacity building training provided under CBRDP has already started bearing the anticipated fruits. The training programmes, for instance, have had a tremendous impact on the knowledge and performance of local government entities, thus promoting the realisation of project outcomes beyond the CBRDP. Now beneficiaries like Regional Planning and Coordination Units, NGO’s, CBO’s, private and public service providers and rural communities apply rapid project implementation methods with impressive success rates.
To achieve the Project’s objectives, Learning Centres have been established in rural communities to serve as focal points for empowering the poor through the acquisition of knowledge and skills, processing units and marketing outlets.
A total of 1,606 trainees have acquired various valuable vocational skills from the Learning Centres found in various parts of the country. Out of these, 1,209 beneficiaries have been given funds to start their own businesses. Nine hundred and fifty-seven (950) of them have actually set up and are doing very well.
By 2009, 17 Learning Centres in Western and Central Regions had received funds to upgrade their activities. These Learning Centres include Pioneer Bamboo Processing Company Ltd, Profound Integration Company Ltd, Monfre Enterprise, Odo Pee Herbal Centre, Ante Sara Adom Mmoroso Bakery, Association of Beekeepers, and Eddiebay Kente Weaving Learning Centre in the Central Region.
The Learning Centres in the Central Region that have received 100 percent disbursement are Aboadi Rural Agricultural Technology Centre, Centre for Improved Animal Production System (CIRAPS), GABS Catering Services, God With Us Beekeeping & Learning Centre, Biri Cane Work & Shoe Making Training Centre, Okooba Gyasi Farms, Thess Broni Ventures, Kpemli Ventures, and Western Coast Jewellery Enterprise. Between 95 percent and 99 percent funding levels have been achieved for Learning Centres and their trainees respectively.
The implementation of projects under this component has had a tremendous impact on rural dwellers through the provision of support services. This has resulted in increased employment opportunities with increased income levels and rural livelihood as a whole.
Beneficiary enterprises have seen drastic expansion, while many more have been established to provide knowledge and skills to rural dwellers.
When such programmes are well monitored and implemented ,the country would go a long way in reducing poverty and meet the millennium development goals by 2015.