Assessing beneficiary targeting for poverty reduction in Ghana: a case study of Atwima Nwabiagya District in Ashanti Region

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Government and development partners are currently showing an unprecedented interest in poverty reduction. The government of Ghana has initiated a number of policies and undertaken programmes and projects to identify poverty issues to address the problems of poverty especially aimed at assisting the poor and vulnerable sectors of the population to enhance their performance. Among these was the Ghana Poverty Reduction Project/Social Investment Fund (GPRP/SIF), the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) Up to 20%/15% Poverty Alleviation Fund, among others aimed at reducing poverty. However, in all forms poverty and squalor still persisted. The issue that has been a matter of concern to a number of people is whether the target of reducing absolute poverty includes and benefits people who are poor. There is therefore the need to investigate why poverty reduction interventions are not optimizing the impacts on the poor. The study was based on the premise that ineffective and inefficient poverty targeting structures and methods have not led to improvement in beneficiary targeting in poverty reduction. To gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of the issue, the study was specific on researching into the current beneficiary targeting in poverty reduction programmes and the mechanisms used in selecting beneficiaries for anti-poverty interventions. Also, the forms of intervention package offered and the means for reaching out to the target groups. Again, which of the programmes was pro-poor targeted, and the processes and procedures used for accessing anti-poverty funds by beneficiaries were also assessed. Furthermore, problems encountered by institutions and beneficiaries as well as the appropriate ways of improving the interventions were looked at. Qualitative and Quantitative means of data were employed for the study. The main findings revealed that the mechanisms as well as the strategies adopted in reaching to the beneficiaries contributed greatly to the relative success and failure of some of the interventions. The GPRP/SIF programme, which depended mostly on targeting mechanisms combined with a lot of targeting parameters reached out to the poor and the deprived and this minimized leakages to the non-poor in anti-poverty reduction. This coupled with the capacity building and training given to beneficiaries on how to manage the credit facilities and the mechanism put in place makes recovery of credit quite easy. However, the loan repayment period needed to be reviewed since it is worsening the plight of most beneficiaries. However, the strategy for the allocation and use of PAP leave much to be desired, the programme has not adopted a unified rational targeting approach. This has not maximized its impact on the poor but rather maximized it impact on the non-poor, as a result of inefficient targeting mechanism, inadequate package, poor promotion of programme as well as monitoring. On the other hand, the used of decentralized departments such as the Departments of Co-operative, Community development was appropriate institutional arrangement approach for poverty reduction. On the basis of these findings, it is proposed that the targeting mechanisms for ant- poverty reduction should be improved. Geographical targeting should be used for selection of poorest communities and districts, in much the same way self-targeting should be used for skills development interventions for individual and group assessment. The application of gender screening and screening based on the level of deprivation from physical access to socio-economic facilities should used for the selection of group-based organizations and individuals. The creation of safety net for the functional vulnerable, the minimization of administrative cost, as well as the use of existing institutional arrangements and the monitoring of programme implementation should be considered at the inception of anti-poverty programmes. A long-term strategy should be geared towards review of the national poverty mapping that would enable its adoption for mapping entrenched locations within communities and within districts for anti-poverty reduction programmes. The study concluded that there is the urgent need to improve targeting mechanisms used for selecting beneficiaries of poverty reduction programmes not only in the study area per Se, but also in the other districts in the nation.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 2005