An analysis of the sustainability of donor support poverty reduction programmes/projects in Ghana: the case of Dangbe West District.

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In other to ensure development/ reduce poverty and its eventual eradication, there is the need for the sustainability of efforts which aim at achieving such an objective. Several World leaders have emphasised this stand on several occasions. Ghana as a developing country with a Poverty Gap Index of 0.13, a Human Poverty Index of approximately 14.9 percent and a Human Development Index of as low as 0.54, have experienced several attempts at poverty reduction. These efforts include governments, the private sector and the donor community carrying out various interventions. The problem this study has tried to address is the repeated failure of donor funded poverty reduction programmes and projects in the country to be sustainable especially after the withdrawal of donor funds. In Ghana the littering of the development landscape with the remains of projects that died when donor funding ended manifests this problem. In the study one of the on-going donor funded poverty reduction programmes captioned the UNDP/National Poverty Reduction Programme (NPRP) is selected to look into its prospects of sustainability especially after the end of donor funding. Again one out of five districts involved namely Dangbe West District was selected for the study. The study covers the examination of the implementation procedure of the programme; the extent of beneficiaries’ participation and the kind of interventions implemented. The procedure adopted for the study involves a sample survey and secondary data from various literature sources on the UNDP/NPRP and the concepts of poverty and sustainability. Data on the UNDP/NPRP concerning its policy focus, policy mandate, philosophy, implementation arrangements and management structures were collected from the Programme Co-ordinating Unit (PCU) of the UNDP/NPRP. Furthermore, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis were used to assess the capacity of the district authorities in implementing the programme. This was followed by a questionnaire survey in four out of ten pilot communities in the study area, Dangbe West District. The questions, which were semi-structured in nature, related to some identified indicators of the sustainability of development interventions in the communities. The field data were presented in the form of maps, tables, matrix and so on. Based on these analyses, findings were deduced to form the basis of recommendations. From the data analysis, it was found that the programme strategy was mainly participatory involving all the interested parties’ right from the problem identification stage through implementation of interventions to monitoring and evaluation. This meant that the beneficiaries have accepted the programme, which is a sign of the programme’s sustainability. It was again found that the skills of the beneficiaries have been remarkably, developed in several trades, which has guaranteed self-reliance and increased income or living standard. It was observed that the programme falls within the policy framework and top priorities of the government of Ghana. By this it is hoped that it will gain the continued support of the government after the end of donor funding. In the case of technology, there has not been any newly developed one. But the technology utilised in the activities of the programme is found to be affordable and environmentally friendly. This has ensured its timely adoption by the beneficiaries and other groups and individuals in the district. Finally, it was also found that the current turbulent externalities especially the rise in oil prices in addition to other factors is a big threat to the sustainability of the programme results since the crisis has the potential of eroding all gains so far made. In conclusion, a lot of lessons have been learnt from the study such as the participatory approach adopted by the programme which can help structure and implement interventions such as donor driven development interventions in Ghana to follow a sustainable path.
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 Policy and Planning, 2000