Contribution of the Ghana National Service Scheme and Voluntary Programme to National Development

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National Youth Service has become an important activity to national development in Ghana. This has been evident with the setting up of the Ghana National Service Scheme (GNSS) by an Act of Parliament (Act 426) of 1980 with the purpose of reviving and growing the national service spirit which appeared to be waning at the time. There was therefore the need to challenge service persons and the generality of the populace to desire to know the country, and to challenge all to appreciate and understand the challenges facing the country, in order to re-orient everybody towards the development of a new nationalistic and patriotic zeal. People have different views about the relevance of national service. Scheme managers and policy makers consider it as useful, whilst some of those who enroll to take part in the programme see it differently; others consider it as a programme worth implementing. Data were collected from institutions considered to be directly involved in the operations and management of the scheme. In addition 80 staff of the Ghana National Service Scheme and 400 national service persons and volunteers were also interviewed. The selection of the respondents was done using the purposive sampling techniques. In analyzing the gathered data, it was linked with relevant concepts of National Youth Service. The study employed some graphical presentation tools like charts and pictures to illustrate some of the study findings. The results obtained from the study indicated that, there is a strong positive relationship between National Service Scheme/Voluntary Programme and national development. The study revealed that, the overall savings made by the Scheme for the country as a whole increased from 35,079,800.00 Ghana cedis for the 2006/7 service year to 5,925,600,000.00 Ghana cedis in 2007/8. The Scheme also, in its deployment of persons into the water, sanitation, and health units, has contributed in the construction of boreholes, Ventilated Improved Pits (VIPs), and cleaning up exercises towards the maintenance of a healthy environment. All aimed at improving access to water, sanitation, and health, and consequently helping reduce poverty in the country. In addition, the Scheme has been a strategic approach to “Community Action” using teams or gangs and entering into a “Change Agent” relationship directly with rural, deprived, disadvantaged or vulnerable communities and depressed urban areas. Some challenges such as finance and logistics; user agencies’ ability to acceptability; annual increases in numbers; interferences in the posting process; vulnerability of service persons; and legal constraints, were identified. The study concludes with a number of recommendations, which would help in the efficient operations and management of the scheme in Ghana.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Development Policy and Planning, 2012