Different donor financing approaches for community development: the need for coordination the case of Ejisu Juaben district

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One of the key challenges facing a developing country such as Ghana is how to raise funds for the numerous development projects it would want to undertake. Given the fact that it is not able to raise enough funds locally to sufficiently provide the required infrastructure and amenities, donor communities such as the World Bank, the German Technical Cooperation, the European Union and the Canadian International development Agency amongst others, are playing a very important role in financing the provision of such infrastructure and amenities. However, these donors have different modalities of disbursing their funds. Some group of donors advocate for beneficiary community contributions to their efforts through contributions of some amount of local material, labour or even cash (co-financing) while others take the full responsibility for community projects without necessarily seeking for any contributions from beneficiary communities. This difference is reported to be sending wrong signals to communities. Communities who are being asked to make some amount of contributions feel they are being unfairly burdened and cheated while other communities are not being asked to make any contribution, sometimes even towards the same type of facility. Such disenchantment among communities is reportedly leading to resistance from communities being asked to make contributions. As a result, such projects are increasingly becoming difficult for the district assemblies who according to the Local Government Act of 1993, Act 462 are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring its smooth implementation. In an attempt to find solution to the above scenario, this research aimed at investigating the strengths and weaknesses of the different donor financing approaches in the implementation of district development projects in order to identify the various donor financing sources in the district, find out the differences which exist in their financing approaches, discuss the implications which may arise out of these differences, point out the roles of the district assemblies in coordinating such activities and develop strategies to improve the coordination of such activities in the district. To make an in depth inquiry and analysis of how donor activities are coordinated in the district, a case study approach was adopted as the research strategy. The Ejisu-Juaben district, one of the administrative districts in the Ashanti region of Ghana, was selected as the area of study. In the district, one community was selected because of the nature of the research which necessitated making comparison of the different financing approaches and this could best be realized by studying a particular community where the different financing approaches have been applied at the same time. Research instruments such as questionnaire survey, participant observation, review of document and key informant interview were employed to get views of respondents. The study came out with the following results: Donor communities in the district are disjointed and uncoordinated in financing their activities and there is no forum or organization under which these donors are organized so as to harmonize their activities. At the district level, district authorities have not done enough to educate the various communities of the differences which exist in donor financing and why such differences occur. This has kept communities ignorant and continues to resist making contributions to donor projects which call for their contributions. The study also revealed that coordinating structures at the district such as the area councils and unit committees are not effectively functioning. This has broken the channel of effective dissemination and coordination of valuable information on donor financing to beneficiary communities. The study concluded by noting that, coordination of donor activities in the district is indeed weak with both donor communities and the district assembly not doing enough to ensure that there is linkage and collaboration amongst all community development actors. At the community level, the district assembly has not done enough to promote awareness amongst beneficiary communities of the differences in the donor financing systems. Because communities are not aware and do not understand, their acceptance of such projects is weak resulting into inadequate contributions or participation. It is therefore recommended that, there is need for participatory planning between donors and district assemblies so that there is mutual understanding on the type of funding for the district. Through this, it is expected that the views of the communities will also be represented.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi (KNUST) in partial fulfillment of the Requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 2005