Community participation in project preparation and management in the Upper West Region.

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Over the last two decades Ghana and many other Sub-Saharan countries have undergone several economic restructuring through the assistance of the International Monitory Fund, World Bank and other international bodies. Most of these assistance have come in the form of aids, projects and financial assistance, all aimed at reducing the poverty among its people. The Upper West Region of Ghana, which is currently the poorest Region with 9 out of every 10 of its people being poor, is no doubt one of the major beneficiaries of donor assistance and government supported projects and the two study areas, Sissala East and Wa municipality, have experienced their fare share of such projects. The six selected communities: Kassanpouri, Sentie, Tumu, Bugubelle, Bamahu and Nakori are active areas of development interventions in the Region as a result of endemic poverty found in these areas. The study therefore tried to do an analysis of community participation in project preparation and management among these projects in these communities to ascertain the impact of these projects and to determine the level of community involvement in the implementation of the projects under study (EU micro project- donor project, Village Loans and Savings Association- NGO project and Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty- Government project). The categorization of these projects into Government projects, donor projects and NGO projects is to help ascertain among these projects, the one that involves much more community participation in its operations. Data collected from both secondary and primary source from six purposively selected rural communities in the Upper West Region were analysed and some of the major findings include: Government Supported Projects, LEAP in Sentie and Kassanpouri • The study revealed that the government supported projects (LEAP) was totally an initiative government brought down to the beneficiary communities. The communities were only in support of it since they felt it was free money that would bring them some relief. Donor Supported Project, EU micro project in Tumu and Bugubelle Relatively the donor supported projects offered more beneficiary involvement in the projects’ activities. • The study revealed that the EU project was conceived and initiated by the government in collaboration with the donors. The projects (a three unit classroom block and a CHPs compound) at the community level were however initiated by the community members themselves through community animations conducted by the Project District Coordinator. It is worth noting that even though the communities did not initiate the projects at the national level, the facilitating agencies (Sissala East District Assembly and project coordinator), through participatory methods were able to facilitate the communities into accepting and owning the projects. NGO Supported Projects, Village Loans and Savings Association (VLSA) in Bamahu and Sentie • The study revealed that the project was an initiative of Plan Ghana and Care International with support from Barclays UK with the aim of inculcating in people the habit of savings culture. The communities were in support of it since they knew it was for their own benefit. Re-Orientation of the Governmental Implementing Agencies, the need for a policy dialogue between donors and recipient governments on the need for beneficiary participation at all stages of the project cycle and the involvement of beneficiary communities in procurement processes to ensure transparency are among some of the recommendations proposed in the study. It is anticipated that the implementation of the proposed recommendations in this study would help ensure adequate community participation in project preparation and management.
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Kumasi, in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of MASTERS OF SCIENCE, Faculty of Planning and Land Economy College of Architecture and Planning,