Evaluating the sustainability of non-governmental organizations assisted community projects in Mpohor Wassa East District of Ghana

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The ultimate aim of development is the attainment of better qualitative changes in life conditions of both urban and rural areas. Development involves a wide variety of activities designed to raise the standard of living and improve the quality of life in a community. The activities designed are required to maintain long— term economic and social benefits, because sustainability of the activities and the benefits is the ultimate test of development. In Ghana, the rural communities and some NGOs are involved in initiating development projects aimed at bringing sustainable development. Local communities and the NGOs involved are also playing a crucial role towards improving the life conditions in the rural areas. However, implementing development projects and sustaining the project benefits is not found to be an easy task. This study was thus carried out to assess and examine the involvement of the local communities and the NGO5 towards sustaining the NGO assisted community projects. This was done by examining three NGO assisted projects as case studies in Mpohor Wassa East District. In an attempt to assess and examine the involvement of the NGOs and the communities, several development agencies, the three communities) traditional leaders and socio-political organs were consulted. The findings of the study indicated that local participation varied from project identification to site selection in one of the projects, and from project identification to project benefits in the other two projects. During implementation, participation was mainly in the provision of labour and funds. Communities’ expectations of assistance from the government and non-governmental agencies is also high. It was found that the major type of assistance by NGOs to the communities was in the provision of funds. NGOs decided their area of priority in consultation with government documents and government officials, but either at the Regional Administration or at Accra. It was also found that, the NGOs and the communities, except to some extent in one of the settlements, did not participate in monitoring and evaluation of the NGO assisted projects. The reasons for unsustainability identified by the study include diversion of resources for other activities; problems of lack of capital and management and organisational problems, among others. Chieftaincy dispute was also identified as a factor hindering the means for co-ordinating community efforts and supervising the community activities by the CDRs and TDCs. On the other hand, the government’s commitment to take over responsibility of running a project in Ayiem has led to the sustainability of that development project. Finally the study has made some recommendations which help to form the basis for sustaining development projects. These include: design and implementation requirements; enhancing community participation; and the establishment of monitoring- and evaluation system. The findings of the study are indeed quite revealing and the problems identified and assessed provide an opportunity for a planned intervention to enhance sustainability of community development projects.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 1992