The impact of District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) and assistance from non-governmental organizations on the livelihood of women in Tamale Metropolis

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Throughout the world, the contribution of women to socio-economic development have been enormous, yet women face difficulties in gaining access to factors of production, particularly access to credit facilities to engage in productivity and income generating activities. In recent years. however, there have been great efforts from governments and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in assisting women in gaining access to credit facilities. The District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) for productivity and income generating activities of the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly. the Women and Loans Sector Program of the Ghanaian Danish Community Program in Tamale, and the Micro Credit Management Scheme of Gub-Katimali Society are some of the examples of what Government and Non- Governmental Organizations are doing to improve on the livelihood of women in the Tamale Metropolis. The goal of the study is to enhance the livelihood of women in Tamale Metropolis through the loans they receive from the DACF and NGOs. The study was carried out in the Tamale metropolis. Both primary and secondary data were used in the study. The primary data was obtained from questionnaires, discussion, interviews and participant observation. The secondary data were obtained from relevant books, journals, internet and information from documents of the three institutions mentioned above. Some of the analytical tools used in this work were tables and charts. From the study, it is clear that the institutions have helped in improving the livelihood of women as they are able to acquire assets which are of tremendous benefit to them. The women are economically and socially empowered they have control over their income even though they discuss with their husbands how to use their incomes. Also, the women use their incomes to expand their businesses, educate their children, and in meeting their personal needs. However, 15 percent of male respondents are of the view that with the assistance the women are now challenging most of their decisions and so they are not able to exert their authority and control over the women as it was in the past. Some of the challenges women face in seeking for assistance are the processing of numerous documents as majority of the women are illiterates, lack money to open accounts for loans, low percentage of loans recoveries by the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly and delay in disbursement of loans by the institutions. The challenges women face in paying back loans received are that many of them use greater portion of their income to support their families, the poor habit of savings by the women, and the short notice given for payment of loans received. To address some of the challenges raised above, some recommendations were made in the study to guide policy makers and all stakeholders to enhance the livelihoods of women through the loans they receive from the institutions. It is worth noting that the impact of assistance given on the livelihood of women from the Non-Governmental Organizations is more than that of Tamale Metropolitan Assembly. Even though the assistance had improved the livelihood of women, for more lasting impact on livelihoods to be realized, more and varied development interventions from government and other stake holders are needed to reduce poverty and to improve livelihoods of women in the Tamale Metropolis.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning, 2005