Community participation in planning and implementation of government projects in Techiman District - Ghana

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Community participation is recognised as a means to development by many governments in developing countries today, as a response to the failure of top- down planning to equitably distribute the benefits of growth and change. Advocates of community participation are convinced that, equal distribution of benefits of growth between rural and urban sectors can be achieved through community participation in the development process and effective utilisation of local resources. Further, they stress the need for such participation especially in a situation of desperate scarcity of development resources. a means of promoting effective community participation in the planning process, the Ghana government has initiated decentralisation of political and administrative powers for decision-making. But, the problem is that, very often governments attempting to integrate the community in the planning decision- making process have no clear vision of local people’s role in such a process. The degree of local participation in the planning process, that is, its form and extent, existing potentials and problems that are likely to hinder or promote such participation are not well analysed and assessed before hand. This often accounts for ineffective implementation of community participation in government projects. In the 1ight of the foregoing, the study has mode attempt to assess the degree of local people’s involvement in planning and implementation of government projects, potentials and problems that exist for such involvement. The data for the study were obtained from two main sources. These are literature review and. field surveys. Two settlements with physical evidence of operational government projects were selected for the study and interview: schedules administered to 105 respondents. The findings indicated that local participation is mainly limited to problem identification and implementation stages in the planning process especially for district council initiated projects. For central government projects, there exists no participation especially in problem identification and planning. Participation is limited to provision of labour at the implementation stage. It was found that decisions in community meetings are arrived at by consensus which is encouraging. Also people see participation as a learning process. Their willingness to participate in the planning process is a potential for the promotion of local people’s participation. Other potentials include existence of local development committees for mobilising local resources for development. The problems identified by the study include Chieftaincy, accountability from leader’s and lack of effective structure permitting local people to bring development problems to the attention of the chief and the elders. The study has outlined some recommendations to offer solutions to the problems identified by the local people. These include improvement of the channel of communication between the community and the District Assembly and cost-sharing in development activities among others. Measures to stimulate local people’s participation in development process have also been suggested. The findings of the study are indeed quite revealing and the problems identified and assessed provide an opportunity for a planned intervention at source for effective community participation in the planning process.
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, 1989