Assessing the monitoring and evaluation system for project implementation of the Birim South District Assembly

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The implementation of the current decentralization programme in Ghana was started in 1988. The objectives of the programme include decentralization of decision-making to the local level where one hundred and ten (110) Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies were established. The programme is aimed at increasing participation of the local people in the decision-making and planning processes. The programme also sees to the increase in resources like human and financial to enhance the operations of the Assemblies. The functions of the Assembly which are clearly spelt out in the Local Government Act 1993, Act 462, indicate that their role is to carry development to the local people. The successful implementation of these functions depends on how the Assemblies come out with effective policies whose implementation would address the numerous problems facing the local people. It is Government policy that it does not involve itself in direct construction and productive activities, which also trickles down to the local level. The District Assemblies are therefore empowered to award contracts of their development projects to private contractors thus promoting the public private partnership. The implementation of programmes and projects by the District Assemblies to solve the numerous problems of the local people leaves much to be desired. It is on the basis of this background that the study was undertaken. The study was undertaken in the Birim South District, which is in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The problems associated with the project implementation in the district include the delay in completion of projects, poor project output and irregular flow of development funds. The aim of the study was for the author to assess the monitoring and evaluation system of the implementation of development projects by the District Assembly. The objectives of the study were to assess; how the Assembly implements projects, the human resource used for project implementation, the monitoring and evaluation component and also to make recommendations to improve project implementation. The methods used in the collection of data included interviews of key personnel of the Assembly, interactions with beneficiary institutions of the Assembly’s development projects and also fourteen (14) communities, which have also benefited from the District Assembly. The communities were sampled first using the 6 Area Councils as strata and using the simple random sampling method to select the 14 communities. The key personnel of the Assembly interviewed included the District Coordinating Director, District Planning Officer, District Finance Officer, District Budget officer, District Engineering Technician and Local Government Inspector. The position of the District Chief Executive was vacant as at the time of the survey. The institutions selected were made up of 4 Senior Secondary Schools and two others namely the Department of Parks and Gardens and the Government Hospital. The interview schedule method was used for the key personnel and the institutions whilst the focus group discussion method on the other hand was used during the discussion with the communities. The main aim of interacting with the beneficiary institutions and the communities was to assess how they were involved in the selection and implementation of development projects they have benefited. It was also to assess the level of their participation of the target group, which is a major component of the decentralization programme. The survey revealed that there were problems associated with project implementation. They included the lack of a well-designed project implementation plan due to the fact that the personnel do not have adequate skills in that field, irregular flow of development funds and inadequate logistics. Also identified was that beneficiary institutions and communities were not involved in project selection and implementation, thus ignoring the important component of participation in project management. The findings made have implications for the district’s development hence recommendations were made to solve the problems as mentioned above. The recommendations made include the design of models for the establishment and operationalisation of a monitoring and evaluation system, organisation of training programmes for the staff in project implementation and management and also the setting up of an effective and efficient internal control mechanism to improve local revenue collection and management of funds. The communities are also to be trained on how they can also assist in the implementation and management of projects, located in their areas. The recommendations were also put into a Project Planning Matrix (PPM), which depicts how the recommendations can be carried out. It is hoped that if the recommendations are fully carried out they would go a long way to improve project implementation and management in the Birim South District.
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 in Development Planning and Management, 2001