An assessment of the capacity of local organisations to implement and sustain reproductive health projects in Yilo Krobo District

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The main objective of this study was to analyse the factors affecting the capacity, operation, activities and growth of local organisations that could be involved in implementing reproductive health programs in Yilo Krobo District in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The analysis included the internal dynamics of the organisations, their linkage relations with local institutions and the communities’ attitude towards these organisations and towards reproductive health. The research methodology combined both qualitative and quantitative approach. Data were collected through in-depth interview of local organisation leaders and members; group discussions in selected communities and household sample survey. The study identified four types of organisations in the district: Church-based organisations, self-interest groups, women’s movement and farmers associations. Among the internal factors affecting their capacity to implement reproductive health programs, these organisations were found to have a well-accepted leadership and a good mobilisation capacity. However, most of them lack financial resources for their activities and do not always have an adequate financial management system. Linkages relation with local institutions is an important weakness of local organisations in the district. Only the women’s groups have adequate linkage with Yio Krobo District Assembly, Donor Organisations and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) outside the district. The other organisations, either do not clearly perceive the necessity to be linked with local institutions or do not know how to establish such a link. Only church- based organisations collaborate with other local organisations in the district. Despite the multiplicity of local organisations, a significant proportion of community members are not part of any group. One of the reasons given is the inability to afford the large amount of dues to pay to local organisations as members. However, “Gong-Gong” appears to be an alternative communication channel in the communities. The attitude of local communities towards reproductive health is characterised by low use of modern methods of family planning by women, first because of fear of conflict with husbands and secondly, because of existing rumours on the side effects of these methods. In the communities, sexually transmitted diseases patients are very shy to go to the health centre and prefer self-medication or treatment by a herbalist. The main findings of the study lead to formulating recommendations for strengthening the capacity of local organisations to address reproductive health issues in Yilo Krobo District. This capacity can be strengthened through training of selected members of local organisations in reproductive health, provision of educational materials, supervision of the activities, and effective linkage with local institutions and other local organisations.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 2000