Developing participatory community based management information system for rural development projects: a case study of rural enterprises project in the Asuogyaman District Assembly

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The study examines the development of a Participatory Community Based Management Information System (PCBMIS) for managing the Rural Enterprises Project (REP) in the Asuogyaman District Assembly to assist both project management and clients to assess, monitor and evaluate business growth performance. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods were utilized in the study. One hundred and fifteen questionnaires were sent to REP clients and District Assembly staff with 98% response rate. The outcome from the analysis of the questionnaires revealed a high level of dissatisfaction with Micro and Small Scale Enterprises (MSE) information management within the District Assembly system as it lacks enough information to influence policy decisions. The in-depth interviews revealed the need to replace the existing MIS due to the fact that it is not suitable for the current information age. Information is the backbone of effective management and policy decision making. It came out from the study that data collection, processing and packaging of all forms of trade and micro enterprises information in the district are manually done. This is an area where digital technologies can play a key role by generating timely and reliable information for planning and decision-making at all levels of management. Local governments need to be given access to adequate resources to do the job with which they are entrusted in Local Economic Development. Findings from the study show that there was low level of Participation by primary stakeholders in the M&E processes of MSE development projects. However, a general conclusion emerging from this study was that information management in Asuogyaman district is necessary but not sufficient to manage Micro and Small Scale Enterprises to promote Private Sector development. Hence there is the need for a Participatory Community Based Management Information System (PCBMIS). This study has developed an integrated M&E software package made up of the Graduated Colour Evaluator (GRACE), a digital evaluation tool and the Rural MSE Growth (RUMSEG). Thus, MIS application software has been developed to generate good and accurate rural MSE information to assist policy makers seeking private sector development. The package incorporates a Geographic Information System (GIS) for easy location of all rural enterprises in the district and provides information on them to inform policy decision on revenue generation for the District Assembly.
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 Philosophy in Development Studies