Poverty Reduction Efforts in Ghana: The Experience of the European Union Micro Projects Programme in the Northern Region

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June, 2009
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Notwithstanding the poverty related interventions of Micro Projects Programme (MPP) in the Northern Region, there still exist problems of uneven quality of service delivery and availability of funding for new priorities, which have contributed to increasing poverty concentration in the Northern Region. A large contributing factor is inadequate development of rural infrastructure; Households in these regions have remained largely disconnected from economic growth taking place in the rest of the country, with limited opportunities to escape from poverty because of their limited access to education, health services, market and other public services. This study is on the poverty reduction efforts in Ghana: the experience of the European Union MPP in the Northern Region. Specifically, the study focused on the examination of the MPP and how it fits into the poverty reduction policies/programmes of Ghana as well as analysing the contribution of MPP to poverty reduction in the Northern region. The study further sought to identify some of the key challenges that hinder poverty reduction efforts of the MPP. In order to effectively assess the contribution of the MPP to poverty reduction in the study area, the research employed both the case study and comparative research methods and these provided a basis of establishing whether there has been any change and what part of the change could be attributed to the MPP’s interventions. From the result of the study it was realized that the MPP is compatible with the national and local poverty reduction policies and programmes. Furthermore, it was found out that the MPP contributes to poverty reduction in the region; however its impact on poverty reduction was found to be constrained by the nature of infrastructural investment – that is higher impact was realised on physical access rather than on the quality of service. The MPP was also found not to have a clear-cut monitoring and evaluation system that tracks the impact of projects on poverty reduction. The programme did not contribute significantly towards improving community participation in project initiation, planning and management. To improve the MPP’s interventions and poverty reduction effort in the Northern Region it was recommended that the project design be reviewed to ensure that the programme package is not limited to infrastructure provision but where it is so, there should be complementary projects responding to other development needs. It was also recommended that appropriate approaches be developed to encourage effective community participation. It was further recommended that monitoring and evaluation systems are established to ensure that projects focus on original objectives. It was recognised that one intervention cannot address all problems of poverty as a result there is the need for complementary programmes and projects to cater for other developmental needs.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirement for the Degree of MASTER OF SCIENCE IN DEVELOPMENT POLICY AND PLANNING.