Appropriate housing delivery process for resettlement schemes: a case study of VRA resettlement schemes in Krachi district, Ghana

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The study investigated the economic and housing policies adopted and implemented by the Volta River Authority (VRA) in settling people who were affected by the construction of the Volta dam and the impact these have had on the present local economic and housing situation in Krachi district. In order to carry out the investigation, a survey was conducted in three resettlement townships of Ehiamankyene, Grube and Asukawkaw in Krachi district. The survey was twofold; first, data was collected from heads of household using interview schedules and secondly, from key informants through in-depth interviews. The housing policy adopted by the VRA- in the implementation of the scheme was to house the affected people in a core house extensible during occupation. The agricultural policy adopted was to wean the settlers from their traditional method of farming by introducing mechanized farming. However, only 3 acres was provided due to difficulties to acquire land. Mechanized farming has collapsed and the people have reverted back to traditional farming system on small farmlands resulting in diminishing soil fertility, and low agricultural output and income. Despite this, no attempt was made to diversify the economy and no policy was formulated for marketing the products. Per capita income of the three towns surveyed ranges between ¢35,300 and ¢55,120 being less than one-third of the national per capita income estimated in 1992 to be ¢l92, 870. The study revealed that the housing situation is deplorable with mean room density of 4.2 due to more than 70 per cent of the houses being uncompleted. Meanwhile, the housing elements are badly damaged. This is the result of poor income, low interest in their houses by migrants and tenants and unwillingness by some house owners to complete or maintain their houses due to their displeasure with its original design. Presently, the people are reverting to traditional houses which they can build by themselves. The study proposes various measures of redressing the deplorable housing situation in the 3 townships which can be summarised as follows: (a) Creation of a building capacity among house owners in the form of training, appropriate building materials and equipments; (b) Direct community involvement in housing development; (c) Provision of initial infrastructure; (d) Provision of Finance; (e) Improvement of house owners’ income. The study then presented lessons for future local housing delivery in resettlement schemes which can be summarised as below: (a) Provision of enabling local economic environment for sustainable housing by: i. development of modern but appropriate agriculture that can be handled by the settlers; ii. development of viable non-farm activities including SSI, fishing and trade; iii. development of basic infrastructure (access roads, water, electricity, health, educational facilities etc.) supportive of economic development and housing development. (b) Provision of appropriate houses i. Building of house types that can be managed and sustained by the house owners; ii. Direct involvement of house owners in the housing process; iii. Adoption of relevant housing policies and their proper implementation.
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 award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 1995