Community Development Dynamics in Ghana
TRENT-IN-GHANA PROGRAM INSTITUTE OF AFRICAN STUDIES UNIVERSITY OF GHANA, LEGON [pic] “Community Development Journal Articles: An Interns Experience with Africa Assistance Plan in Sunyani” Placement Supervisor: Ms Doris Donkor, (AAP) Internship Journal Submitted by: Michael Addaney ID Number: 1000 10 01 8th April, 2011 Executive Summary The purpose of this report is to explain what I did and learned during my internship period with the Africa Assistance Plan (AAP) in the Water and Sanitation and Micro Finance Programmes respectively.
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The report is also a requirement for the partial fulfilment of Trent in Ghana (TIG) international development studies program. The report focuses primarily on the assignments handled, working environment, successes and short comings that I (intern) did encounter when handling various tasks assigned to me by my supervisor. Because the various parts of the report reflect my shortcomings, successes, observations and comments, it would be imperative that the recommendations are also given. Therefore the report gives a number of comments and recommendations on the internship programme.
It is hoped that this report would serve as a cardinal vehicle to the improvement of the internship program. Table of Contents Executive Summary Acronyms/ Abbreviations CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1. 0 Introduction 1. 1 Background 1. 2 Objectives of the placement 1. 3 Methodology 1. 4 Overview of Report CHAPTER TWO THEORITICAL FRAMEWORK OF DEVELOPMENT IN GHANA 2. 0 The Definitions, Concepts, Theories and Framework of Development 2. 1 The Theory of Development 2. 2 Development Framework in Ghana 2. 3 The National Development Planning Commission Act in Ghana 2. The Development Mandate of Non-Governmental Organisations in Ghana 2. 5 Role of Faith-based Organizations in Social Change and Development in Ghana CHAPTER THREE OVERVIEW OF AFRICA ASSISTANCE PLAN 3. 0 Profile and Overview of African Assistance Plan 3. 1 Background of African Assistance Plan 3. 2 Problem Statement 3. 2. 1 Lack of Adequate Potable Water in Rural Africa/ Ghana 3. 2. 2 Inadequate level of Income 3. 2. 2 Poor Standard of Education in Rural Africa 3. 2. 4 Lack of Adequate Affection and Care for the Orphaned Children in Ghana 3. 3 Vision and Mission Statement 3. 3. 1 Vision Statement 3. 3. Mission Statement 3. 4 The Scope of Work of AAP 3. 4. 1 Water and Health 3. 4. 2 Micro Finance and Economic Empowerment 3. 4. 3 Child Support and Education 3. 5 Strategies Adopted for the Activities of AAP 3. 5. 1 Construction and Rehabilitation of Bore-holes in Deprived Communities 3. 5. 2 Giving of Micro Loans to the Economically Powerless in Society 3. 5. 3 Operating New Life Orphanage Home with Basic Education at Nsuta 3. 5. 4 Skill Training and Development 3. 5. 5 New Life Word Missions Children’s Ministry in Sunyani and Nsuta 3. 6 Target Communities/ Groups/ Individuals and Operational Areas 3. Organisational and Institutional Network 3. 8 Programmes and Projects Undertaken by AAP CHAPTER FOUR INTERNSHIP ROLE 4. 0 My Role as an Intern in AAP 4. 1 Placement Expectations 4. 2 Documentation and Writing of Report on Water and Sanitation Projects 4. 3 Field Visitation to Micro Credit Beneficiaries 4. 4 Writing of Web Development Content for the AAP Web Creation Project 4. 5 Facilitation of Business Management Seminar for Micro Credit Beneficiaries’ CHAPTER FIVE PLACEMENT ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION (8) 5. 0 Placement Assessment and Evaluation of AAP 5. 1 The Relevance of the AAP’s Mandate . 2 Effectiveness and Appropriateness of AAP’s Strategies 5. 3 The Impact of AAP’s PPA’s on Society (Programmes, Projects and Activities) 5. 4 Self Evaluation of the Placement 5. 5 Personal Development through the Placement 5. 5. 1 Skill Training and Development on Community Mobilization 5. 5. 2 Practical Training on Micro Finance for Development 5. 5. 3 Skill Training on Child Care and Development 5. 5. 4 Practical Training on Water and Sanitation Projects 5. 5. 5 Realities of Applying Development Theories, Concepts and Frameworks 5. 6 Challenges and Problems Encountered 5. 6. Short duration of time to assess the organisation 5. 6. 2 Lack of adequate involvement in all AAP’s programmes and projects 5. 7 Suggestions and Recommendations for Intervention 5. 7. 1 African Assistance Plan 5. 7. 2 Institute of African Studies/ Trent-In-Ghana 5. 8 Conclusion CHAPTER ONE GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1. Introduction Non-governmental organisations as agents of development play a critical and significant role in promoting development in societies. These organisations complement the role of governmental organizations in terms of providing basic necessities of life to its citizenry.
As an aspiring development practitioner, I have to be exposed to some of the realities that exist in development practice. The placement sought to provide that opportunity. Nevertheless, it is very complex to define the term development precisely. Until recently, the term development was considered in terms of material well-being and improvement in per capita income of a country but recent development paradigms centre on the satisfaction of the basic needs of people as well as the respect for human rights and dignity.
This report is a spotlight on the experiences I had with a development organization called, “Africa Assistance Plan” which is based in Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. 2. Objectives of the Report The report seeks to accomplish the under listed objectives; i. To expose the practicalities and realities of development works at the local level. To bridge the gap between theory and practice of development concepts, paradigms and frameworks at the field level. This is because what exist in theory may not apply in the real practical situation. ii.
To assess, analyse and evaluate the work of Africa Assistance Plan in terms of its mandate, the vision, mission and the appropriateness of the problem solving models and strategies as well as its impact on the society. 3. Methodology The report takes the form of a case study method which looks at the contributing roles of Development Organizations to Local Economic Development in Ghana under which the Africa Assistance Plan in Sunyani as a NGO was chosen because of proximity and also for easy access of materials, data and other relevant information during the placement.
In writing the report, the following process and procedures were undertaken. i. Literature review was carried out to acquaint myself with the various development discourses, concepts, strategies and frameworks in Ghana; ii. Review of the organisational profile to acquaint myself with the organisation and its mandate with respect to its projects, strategies and activities, target communities and group of people as well their problem addressing mechanisms and their effectiveness. iii. Field visits provided me the opportunity to observe, analyse, assess and validate some information gathered about the operations of the organization. v. An interview with the staff especially the programme’s director concerning the activities of the organisation. Other relevant questions concerning the impacts the organisation is making on society. v. A review of the organization’s annual reports for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 was done. This gave me an overview of their projects and activities implemented as well as the results achieved over the years. 4. 0 Overview of Report The report has been organized into five separate sections.
The first chapter provides an overview of the entire study whereas the chapter two deals with the developmental practice and framework in Ghana, especially concepts and theoretical issues. The third chapter provides the profile of the African Assistance Plan which is being assessed. The organizational profile covers the programmes, projects, activities and strategies of the organization. The fourth chapter is the role/ function that I played in the organization. The fifth and last chapter concludes the entire study comprising of the recommendations and conclusion. CHAPTER TWO
THEORITICAL FRAMEWORK OF DEVELOPMENT IN GHANA 2. 1 The Definitions, Concepts, Theories and Framework of Development This chapter will examine the issue of Development Practice and Community Development pertaining to Ghana in detail as well as promotional measures and strategies that have been evolved elsewhere and compare with attempts that have been made or to be made to promote Social Transformation or Development in the country and other countries. In addition, it will also look at NGO’s and their activities and interventions in ensuring and promoting development in the country. . 2 Theories underlying Development Practice in Developing Countries Existing development theories such as the neo-classical theory, economic base theory and so are insufficient for Development activities. Moreover, according to Blakely, there is no theory or set of theories that adequately explain regional or local economic development. For this reason, there need to be a synthesis and reformulation of existing concept that would serve as a basis for taken action within the community development field as discussed below. . Employment: The major and sometimes the sole rationale for communities to embark in active development effort are to boost local employment. The goal of community development is not to alter but enhance the value of people and places. The conceptual position is that employment development/ generation is a function of how the community build economic opportunities that fit the human resources and utilise the existing natural and institutional resource base. b. Development base:
Community Development theory starts with the premise that the institutional base must form a major component of both finding the problems in the local economy and altering institutional arrangements. Building new institutional relationship is the new substance of community development. If communities assemble the resources and information necessary to build their own future then they can take control of their destiny. c. Local assets: Technology is shattering the traditional view of physical local as the major determinant of development.
Local by itself is no longer full factor and even sometimes is a push factor for example crime, lack of cultural and educational facilities can retard the development of many rural communities. Thus the old view that the availability of transportation and market systems determines a community’s economic base is outmoded. The new community development model suggests that there are location-inducing factors such as the quality of the local physical social environment. Moreover, developing a community’s social institutions, housing and so on would ultimately create the inducing environment for firms to develop or locate in a community.
Community development will ensue and would have to be pursued if the structure is organised in the correct manner. d. Knowledge resources: Research institutions and research units in industry are of enormous significance to the local economy. Thus the intellectual research centres must be tapped since they can help in developing new goods and unlocking the potentials of existing natural resources. The quality of an areas human resource base is important. New firms will be created or existing firms will migrate there if the local human resource base is substantial.
In the light of the above, communities should not only aim at but also build and support institutions that will expand the capability of its population. In essence, community development is a process that emphasis the full use of existing human resources to build and create wealth within a locality. 2. 3 Parameters for Measuring the Progress of Development at the Community Level Community Development or Positive Social Transformation can be measured using some indicators or parameters.
Using these parameters local governments, CBO’s, Development partners and so on can be assessed as to how they are contributing towards development in their locality. These indicators are as follows; a. Employment creation Local governments, development partners and so on are said to be contributing to development if they are directly or indirectly creating alterative jobs that fit the local population. This should involve increasing the variety of jobs by either owning or promoting the establishment and expansion of businesses that would provide employment for the local population.
This employment creation can lead to a mix of effects such as increasing income, reducing the economic dependency ratios and so on which will go a long way in bringing development to the local area and improve the general standard of living. b. Income levels of the people The second indicator, which is close to the first, is that of increasing the income levels of the people. This can be done through a number of ways such as giving credit and technical assistance to firms, farmers and so on under appropriate terms such as improving the local human resources and others. . Marketing opportunities Increasing the marketing opportunities or local government and development partners can contribute to development if they help to develop the human capacity and improve the skills of the local populace, this is very important to development as it could lead to the development of the potential and existing resources development of new products which will eventually lead to development of the local area. d. Skills development Raising the educational level and skills of a local population cannot be over stated.
It’s important is emphasized by Blakely (1989, pg 69) when he stated that the quality of an areas human resource is a major inducement to all industries. If the local human resource base is substantial, new firms will be created by it irrespective of the local area or else existing jobs to fit the existing firms will migrate there. Therefore, communities must not only build jobs to fit the existing populace, they must also build institutions that expand the capabilities of this population. e. Levels of productivity
Increasing the level of productivity and production of local firms, farmers and so on are very crucial in the quest for local development. f. Gender development The level of local female participation and general involvement in the process of local development is important as they are part and parcel of the community’s population and should not be left out. Moreover, they are also potential human resources waiting to be tapped for the benefit of the local economy and its populace. g. Service spread This is related to the extent to which the local people have access to the services of the institutions in the locality or community. . Forward and backward linkages The linkages between the various sectors of the local economy (especially agriculture and industry) are very important for community development. Thus by promoting the processing of local agricultural goods by local industries and by creating industries that supply agriculture with essential inputs one can be said to be contributing to community development. 2. 4 The Major Approaches of Community Development Interventions in Ghana Community Development has become an ever more “popular” approach among development agencies worldwide over the last years.
One of the reasons for this is that decentralization processes in many parts of the developing world have led to the creation of autonomous local entities entrusted with the task of shaping the local environment. In this context, Community Development Initiatives provides local decision-makers with a set of tools targeted at addressing local economic problems in a systematic way, spurring local economic growth as well as job creation and, thus, sustaining decentralization efforts.
The emphasis of “Community Development” used to be on rural development, which is exemplified by the fact that the concept was originally designed by the World Bank’s Rural Development Unit and that it still uses the term Community Development under the ‘Rural Development’ headline. Community Development widens the geographical scope but does not alter the approach. Efforts of spurring the evolution of the local and sometimes the regional economy are based on the following principles; • Holistic approach:
Any local economy is shaped by a variety of different aspects which all impart, in one way or the other, on the potential for local employment generation. If these aspects are addressed in an isolated, stand-alone manner, one may not be able to remove all growth barriers and unleash the economy’s full potential. For example, the introduction of new hybrid varieties of cocoa and maize alone may not result in higher cocoa and maize production, if the marketing system, considered unfair by some farmers because they are being paid late, was not tackled at the same time. • Involvement of relevant stakeholders:
It is imperative to get all relevant stakeholders (local administrators and legislators, business associations, community organisations and NGO’s) at one table in order to achieve long-lasting successes in community development. If community development becomes a joint effort, it is easier to act in a holistic way, mobilize resources and people and access information more widely. An example; Participants in the validation/action planning workshop in Kenyasi in the Brong Ahafo region informed the audience that the local administration had built a market without consulting the local business people.
The market did not suit their needs and thus is not being used to the desirable extent. Had there been mechanisms of public-private dialogue in place, this loss of scarce material resources would have most likely been avoided. • Committed local leaders and local government backing actively the community development – effort: Community Development is basically about mobilizing people and makes them work hard in order to effect change. It is not a ‘nine to four’ job and requires people with stance and stamina.
These need not necessarily come from the local government itself, as the term ‘leader’ is not confined to those holding a formal leadership mandate; however, without the active backing of the Municipal Chief Executive, the presiding member of the MA and other officers of the local administration, any community development -effort will probably not sustain for long. • Support from other levels of government and development agencies adds value: Many development issues can only be successfully addressed by looking for support from other government entities and/ or development agencies.
Community development is very often about networking and cooperation. For instance, the MA in Sunyani Municipality is striving for strategic alliances with NGO’s in the fields of education, agriculture and LRED and is thus being widen and deepen its range of activities. Note that sometimes the assessment of the local economy serves as the real catalyst for mobilizing local stakeholders. The fine-tuning depends on the specific circumstances under which such an endeavour is initiated. 2. 5 Role of Faith-Based Associations in Political Change and Development Ghana is a predominantly Christian country: 68. % of Ghanaians claim to be Christians, but there is also a significant Muslim minority (16%). Religious groupings or FBAs are undoubtedly one of the most vigorous elements in Ghanaian civil society, with probably the largest, most socially rooted and widely distributed membership base of all civil society organisations (CSOs). They have a high level of associational activity and participation (from choirs to charitable associations and cell-based neighbourhood groups), and a degree of autonomy from the state which gives the strongest ones considerable ability to resist repression.
This is particularly true of those with strong external support networks such as the Roman Catholic Church, mainstream Protestant and Pentecostal churches and Islamic groups. FBA’s most positive contribution to driving developmental change is in the area of collective action for service provision and public goods. The mainstream churches sustain a large number of local CSOs in the fields of neighbourhood governance, sanitation, education, health and developmental fund raising. They have the potential to develop partnerships with government and to sustain user or citizen demands for public service reform.
But they are better placed than purely local CBOs to scale up, such demands, through the help of national level organisations. Even the Pentecostals and the mission churches such as SDA have some potential in this area, and the Islamic Ahmadiyya movement is a model of citizen action in the educational standards field. The role of FBAs in driving economic change is again ambiguous; although they are accumulating capital and providing jobs, it is doubtful if they can really contribute to Ghana’s desperate need to earn a living in world markets. Some of the new churches, and the reformist Ahmadiyya group, are ncouraging entrepreneurship and self-reliance, and some of the management techniques they use may develop transferable skills. But the fastest growing churches encourage values which are likely to undermine rather than encourage economic and political change. The same can be said of the burgeoning Islamic charitable and educational NGOs, whose agenda is to proselytise fundamentalist forms of Islam. 2. 6 The Function/ Roles of NGO’s in Ghana Different NGOs have different missions and strategic objectives and therefore exist for a variety of reasons: • Larger NGOs are involved in aid and relief.
They mobilize public support and voluntary contributions for aid and assistance such as food, clothing, and drugs and so on to people in deprived areas. They often have strong links and collaboration with community groups in developing countries and often work in areas where government aid is not possible or may delay especially in times of emergency (Ian and et al, 2004). • Some NGO’s have a major role in developing human resources of communities by promoting education and delivering services at the local level by helping community organizations through capacity training for the youth as well as adult education (Ian and et al, 2004). Many NGOs worldwide are involved in poverty alleviation and income generation among communities. NGOs support many livelihood improvement programmes, organisation of savings and credit societies as well as assisting in areas of small-scale agricultural production. For instance, Oxfam, concerned with poverty alleviation, might provide needy people with the equipment and skills needed for production (Ian and et al, 2004). • Lobbying- NGOs convey a positive image of public interest to secure the general good of society. Their activities influence social and political outcomes or decisions in a non-violent manner.
Here, NGOs projects the interest of the weak in society and to some extent maintains a democratic policy-making process. They therefore ensure the protection of human rights and dignity through advocacy by campaigning independently or in coalition with other pressure groups to encourage the observance of human rights, improving the welfare of the disadvantaged and among others (Ward, 2005). • Under health also, many NGOs are working especially in developing countries towards the achievement of the major components of the Millennium
Development Goals namely: Improve maternal health, Combat HIV/AIDS and Reduce child mortality. In simple terms, they provide effective and efficient primary health care in deprived communities in developing countries (Ian and et al, 2004). • The NGO sector is also an important employer. For example, Concern Worldwide, an international NGO working against poverty, have employed over 174 expatriates and just over 5,000 local staff working in ten developing countries in Africa. CHAPTER THREE
OVERVIEW OF AFRICA ASSISTANCE PLAN 3. 0 Profile and Overview of African Assistance Plan 3. 1 Background of African Assistance Plan For over 25 years, Africa Assistance Plan (AAP) has carried the passion of saving and changing many lives in Africa through our God-given and well selected programs. Thousands of souls have come to know the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through our ministry; not just in Ghana but also in other countries like Togo, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Liberia where some of our programmes have reached.
AAP’s life-changing programmes such as Evangelism and Missions, Microfinance and Economic Empowerment, Water and Health and Child Support and Education are all programmes designed to change people’s physical lives to affect their spiritual lives as well. 3. 2 Problem Statement AAP exists to help tackle and also find suitable sustainable answers and solutions to the following problems; 3. 2. 1 Lack of Adequate Potable Water in Rural Africa/ Ghana More than five million people have no access to safe drinking water in Ghana.
In many rural communities, water, which constitutes about 70% of the human body according to scientists, is one of the scarcest commodities. During the wet season, unsafe sources of water get more contaminated by run-off water from polluted sites. In the dry season, even contaminated water becomes scarce since the streams usually dry up. This compels especially women and children to walk over long distances to look for water for all domestic chores including drinking. They usually carry very big pans and containers to enable them carry as much water as possible.
The heavy load on their heads, the long distance to walk, and other chores to perform during the day compound their already fragile health problems and reduces their productivity. Water related diseases are therefore very prevalent in these communities. Nevertheless these are human beings created in the image of God by all standards who need to live like others. AAP Ghana therefore feels the urgent need to intervene to restore to these deprived masses some hope by supporting them to access potable water. 3. 2. 2 Inadequate level of Income
Studies have shown that micro-finance plays three broad roles in development: • It helps very poor households meet basic needs and protects against risks, • It is associated with improvements in household economic welfare, • It helps to empower women by supporting women’s economic participation and help them to play their God-given role as help mates. By providing material capital to a poor person, their sense of dignity is strengthened and this can help to empower the person to participate in the economy and society (Otero, 1999). 3. 2. 2 Poor Standard of Education in Rural Africa
The standard of education in our rural schools has fallen so deeply. Almost all rural schools lacks the availability of exercise books, text books, mathematical sets, pens, pencils, erasers, drawing boards and etc. These are the essential needs of most rural schools in Ghana. Parents hardly are capable to afford these educational materials to support their wards in school hence, the fallen of educational standard in the rural sectors. These have become a menace in the country’s total educational standard; hence the large rate of illiteracy in Ghana.
Education is one of the major activities that will help Ghana to achieve the MDG target in 2015. 3. 2. 4 Lack of Adequate Affection and Care for the Orphaned Children in Ghana The number of orphans in Ghana is a massive problem for the country’s rudimentary social welfare services. In the orphanages that do exist, staff struggle with limited resources to feed, clothe and educate the children in their care. The staffs are all too often simply doesn’t have the time to provide the individual love and attention that these children need so they can have as normal a childhood as possible. . 3 Vision and Mission Statement 3. 3. 1 Vision Statement A world that knows the heart of the Father; where individuals and communities are transformed by the Word of God, the power of His Spirit and the actions of His saints, to the glory of God and His Son, Jesus Christ – That AFRICA might be saved! 3. 3. 2 Mission Statement The mission of AAP is to make disciples of all people in all nations by mobilising and empowering individuals and churches into holistic missions which make a positive difference in their communities.
To transform these communities through the implementation of programs which affect all areas of community life including: health, education, economic empowerment and advocacy, working through the local church and community leaders without compromise to the Word of God. 3. 4 The Scope of Work of AAP AAP’s work is always demand driven and holistic; this means AAP only work where local people are asking for our support, and we always address a problem from all angles. This means it is not easy to fit AAPs’ work in to a neat box.
These are the two ways in which AAP differentiate and evaluate its work: by service areas and by project types. By service areas, it means the kind of services AAP delivers to the community. AAP have three key service areas; Child Evangelism: education, childcare, Micro finance and Economic Empowerment: family income generation, Skill Training, Farmers Support, Trading Loans and Water and Health: Health care, hygiene. By project types it means how a project is designed and what its purpose is. AAP have three types of projects: core, partner and sustainability. 3. 5 Strategies Adopted for the Activities of AAP 3. . 1 Construction and Rehabilitation of Bore-holes in Deprived Communities AAP provides bore holes and engages in rehabilitation of broken-down bore holes in deprived communities and these activities are undertaken to ensure that people from poor, deprived areas have access to potable water and have quality health to engage in productive work to earn a decent living. 3. 5. 2 Giving of Micro Loans to the Economically Powerless in Society The vision of AAP is to use the micro loans to give financial empowerment to believers in Jesus Christ. Henceforth, AAP have adopted the following methods to give loans to churches.
AAP hold a quarterly business seminar for their loan clients. 3. 5. 3 Operating New Life Orphanage Home with Basic Education at Nsuta AAP is a Child Centred Organisation, which works alongside indigenous communities in Ghana to improve the quality of life for children especially deprived, rejected and vulnerable children through the establishment of a high class orphanage home. AAP specifically targets the root causes of the children’s problems, by improving community support services and by providing access to basic education and primary health care… AAP represents a genuine step forward for children in isolated areas of Rural Ghana. 3. . 4 Skill Training and Development AAP, as a Christian NGO, periodically organizes skills training in soap production, pomade, and cloth making for the beneficiary communities. The skill training project is a demonstration of love by AAP to teach the people “how to fish”. 3. 5. 5 New Life Word Missions Children’s Ministry in Sunyani and Nsuta AAPs’ mission is to ensure that every child in Ghana has come to know the saving grace and the atoning love of the Savior of the world – Jesus Christ and same time are afforded their rights in accordance with the UN convention on the rights of the child, to which Ghana was the first African signatory.
AAP has established the children’s to fulfil its mission specifically through organising a frequent Children’s evangelism, continuing its vibrant children’s ministry and also empowering local people who are Christ-centred, Bible-based and Spirit-led to employ their ingenuity and drive in addressing child rights issues. 3. 6 Target Communities/ Groups/ Individuals and Operational Areas AAP’s key target groups in all the districts within the Brong Ahafo and Western regions include the several clusters of indigenous and migrant farming communities as well as several distressed peasant farming communities.
The key occupational groups targeted include farmers, food marketers and retailers, artisans, petty traders, market women and various categories of informal sector operators. The main target groups among which we operate within the operational areas are several distressed rural farming communities and also among small informal sector operators including agro-processors, food marketers and retailers, artisans, petty traders, market women with considerable emphasis on women. 3. 7 Organisational and Institutional Network
Africa Assistance Plan partners with foreign partners like: Acts of Mercy International, Virginia, USA; Cornerstone Missions Inc. , Haymarket – VA, USA; Joseph Assignment, Matteson, Illinois, USA etc. 3. 8 Outline of Programmes and Projects Undertaken by AAP These are the programmes, projects and activities that the AAP runs; ? Adom ne Odo Trust (Love and Grace Trust) ? Care and Support of Less Privilege Children ? Living Water Project ? Malaria Education and other Immunization Projects ? The New Life Orphanage Project The New Life Child Ministry Project ? Child Support and Education CHAPTER FOUR INTERNSHIP ROLE 4. My Role as an Intern in AAP When I first arrived, it was unclear to me exactly what my duties were to be. This was because I was not given any job description and my supervisor didn’t indicate exactly what I was to work on. Through my senior supervisor Mrs Rose Meda Otoo, my immediate supervisor Miss Doris Donkor and other colleagues within AAP, I was able to quickly understand what my work involved and to what extend I was to do it.
The following were some of the motivations that made my work easier and enjoyable: ? Working as team with the rest of Micro Finance and Economic Empowerment (Adom ne Odo Trust) workers was something that I truly treasured then since it was through them that I found it more enjoyable and easy to deal with my assignments on especially report writing. ? Working on projects and activities that I believed would eventually provide a clear support and impact on rural water supply in Ghana gave me the morale to work even harder in order to meet deadlines. Being given a chance to learn and gain practical training and experience on the development field motivates me. Producing and organizing the first Capacity Building Training Workshop for Adom ne Odo Trust was awesome. While the work I performed during this period was particularly glamorous and equally thrilling, I feel that this internship period exposed me to experiences which have significantly altered my perception of community development related issues towards a more a global holistic model. . 1 Placement Expectations I had originally intended to join AAP as a way to participate directly in providing solutions to rural developmental problems in Rural Brong Ahafo particularly in water and health (sanitation) with the application of PLA as a tool for decision making. What this meant is that I wished to participate largely in the direct assistance aspect of AAP in providing first hand support on their projects as well as apply theory into practice.
Unfortunately though, a lot of my work within the office had to do with the preparation of various reports and projects plans dealing with emerging challenging issues with the Micro Finance Project which I can proudly now say that I learned a lot from. 4. 2 Exposure to AAP as an NGO One of the most significant aspects of this internship was being surrounded by a network of people and units whose main mission was to care for the salvation and development of people by inspiring, informing, and enabling communities and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
This allowed me to listen to people with ideas and opinions that I had never before considered, and helped me to develop new ways of thinking about the same problems I had previously been thinking about. In addition, I feel that I grew a much deeper passion and respect for rural development and even the environment that we live in; as we (people) are the only being who have the power to choose between what is right for us and what is not..
If I ever need a reminder, I need think no further than looking into the various AAP publications that for many years AAP as an organization has been publishing in order to sensitize the rural folks on their rights and even on the dangers of not preserving their environment – which is their source of livelihood as farmers. In fact, I feel that this new perspective has allowed me to develop a more comprehensive view of environmental sustainability and development and how to achieve it effectively.
Specifically, I have come to see that one of the fundamental keys to development is through empowering communities with knowledge on what they do, providing them with basic health and creating good but also well-paying jobs for them. Being in AAP, I realized that at any time you don’t know much about a process or a topic, there is no reason to forsake. I didn’t know much about water issues (unless the general knowledge) and I’m still not a professional, but now I’m able to understand the general coherences and bring them contently together.
It was particularly interesting for me to see how a product development process is realized, what kind of project management is necessary and what difficulties can happen in a real project. 4. 3 My Assigned Duties and Roles at AAP 4. 3. 1 Documentation and Writing of Report on Water and Sanitation Projects As an intern practitioner, I was a strong believer in doing things for a reason and only those things that add value. I was charged with creating meaningful plans and making documentation, which add value to the activities under the Water and Health project. This project commenced on AAP’s inception and has been running till now.
There is follow up support provided to the communities after the construction of the borehole. This project comprised of an integrated program of water, sanitation and hygiene promotion to rural villages and some per urban towns. 4. 3. 2 Field Visitation to Micro Credit Beneficiaries I function as a field supervisor, monitoring and assessing the progress of the Micro Credit Project in the operational communities. AAP’s mission under the micro finance and Economic empowerment is to empower people living in conditions of poverty to be the primary agents of their own development.
Strengthening the skills needed for them to participate in actively monitoring their progress is an integral component of AAP’s programs. I was entrusted to performing this task. 4. 3. 3 Writing of Web Development Content for the AAP Web Creation Project From the second week onwards, I volunteer to build and maintain AAP’s website. As a web developer, my duties included building the web pages from the beginning, including layout, appearance, and function. In doing this, the needs of donors and audience were taken into account, and the website should reflect what will be attractive to the target demographic.
Since users will quickly leave a website that is difficult to navigate, doesn’t show up well on all browsers, or is time-consuming, it was important for me to make the layout as simple and user-friendly while still attractive and sophisticated as possible. 4. 3. 4 Facilitation of Business Management Seminar for Micro Credit Beneficiaries’ I was in charge of building the seminar cycle with participants. Importantly, my first job as a facilitator was to introduce the seminar by clarifying the seminar type and objectives as well as key ideas and values.
In essence, I describe the connection between the ideas/values and the seminar goals. I also developed the pre-seminar content which was about giving a focus and purpose for the interactive event. After the pre seminar content and just before the actual seminar, I sat the stage by giving instructions about process. During the seminar, I listen carefully in anticipation of follow-up questions, monitor the distribution of talk in order to produce a shared dialogue, and map the discussion. 4. 7 Benefits of the Program
In retrospective, I can say that I benefited from the internship programme than I thought I would in a number of ways: ? Having a rare opportunity to use the knowledge and skills that I had acquired back at the class to provide critical developmental information to an organization in order for them to develop and put in place competent policies for community development for the betterment of the society. ? Career-wise, the internship programme undoubtedly enriched my curriculum vitae (CV).
Also, having gotten a chance to interact with most staff, I have had an insight on how to shape my career towards a humanitarian job in the near future. ? The internship programme gave me a chance not only to work with AAP but also a chance to learn from some of the best community developmental experts I could probably not meet. This would reflect much onto my experience. ? Working with people from different parts of the world was a rare chance that you can’t easily get from any other organization in Ghana except AAP.
Therefore to me this was another opportunity to make friends and share ideas. ? To conclude, I can state that my internship at the AAP was a rewarding experience and provided me with some new perspectives that I did not come across during my studies back at the institute. I also have to stress that my colleagues at the AAP contributed greatly to making my stay there a very enjoyable one. Particularly, working together with Miss Doris Donkor was a true pleasure and his faith in my abilities was a real source of motivation to date.
CHAPTER FIVE PLACEMENT ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION 5. 0 Placement Assessment and Evaluation of AAP 5. 1 The Relevance of the AAP’s Mandate AAP has very relevant mandate to include ensuring that all people, no matter their socio-economic status particularly the deprived and vulnerable have access to the basic needs of life, enjoy access to equal rights, quality and education with a respectable economic status and lives in a protected environment by collaborating with government institutions, agencies, organizations and individuals.
The organization’s concept of collaboration is very significant tool in carrying out its work. Statistics and conclusions from the MA and other development organizations show that a lot of communities in the municipality are deprived in terms of access to some basic life necessities like water, health and education due to poor delivery, poor standard of education as well as poverty playing a critical role as a major problem affecting the rural folks in the municipality and other parts of the country. 5. 2 Effectiveness and Appropriateness of AAP’s Strategies
The organization adopts very appropriate problem solving techniques and models which informs it well defined strategies in fulfilling its mandate, this includes provision of boreholes, rehabilitation of broken-down ones, giving of micro credit to qualified people, organizing workshops, radio/ community talks, seminars, durbars and film shows. These strategies involve conceptualizing and making it realistic and applicable to the situation under study. These also involve analyzing and assessing problems and challenges and finding their root causes.
They enhance community participation and ownership of developmental projects and activities and provide a medium where children engage with adults and other young people to bring about positive social transformation. In terms of project management and organizational development, AAP has put in place cost effective management system and strategies to ensure that, a desirable end is achieved with a minimum cost while achieving the best goals. 5. 3 The Impact of AAP’s PPA’s on Society (Programmes, Projects and Activities) With respect to my three months stay with AAP, I was convinced that there is positive impact on the beneficiary communities.
With respect to water and health interventions of the organization, more rural folks are now shifting from domestic curative measures to seeking professional medical care at health centre, paramedics and hospitals. Communities willingness and acceptance to participate in programmes was an observation, I did. Communities show this attribute through their contribution in terms of resources towards programmes and project like labor, furniture, food and chairs. These commitments also manifest in cooperation with AAP staff.
Communities testify about the immunization outreach programme that the organization undertook; that it has really helped them because the organization came to hold activities in their communities on several occasions and that the organization is not new to them. There is also an increase in the number of reported cases of Malaria, HIV/ AIDS and Tuberculosis as a result of the awareness creation exercise done by AAP in its operational communities. There are minimal cases of CSM and Poliomyelitis in the operational areas because of the early immunization.
High anti natal visits to health centres and hospitals was also an observation in one of the AAP’s impact evaluation exercises. There is an increase in student enrolment in most of the rural communities especially Nsuta and Domsesere in the Brong Ahafo Region as a result of the Child Support and Education Project. Children now deem it a right and joy to enrol in school because of the available and ready support for them by AAP. The orphanage school at Nsuta, near Techiman also provide educational support to orphan at no cost while it provides quality education to non-targets at an affordable cost.
Under AAP’s microfinance project, its mission is to alleviate poverty among the economically powerless in Africa especially those in the House of the Lord, (Galatians 6:10) within Ghana. Through its Economic Empowerment programme, AAP provides micro loans to hundreds of women in rural and sub-urban areas. In my interviews with borrowers, an overwhelming number of them place children’s education and building their own home as top priorities in their lives. Aside from wanting different and better lives for their children, these women including few men are also counting on their offspring to look after them later in life.
AAP’s financial empowerment is also providing women with another form of security: that they will have a roof over their heads for the rest of their lives. A testimony at Chiraa by one of the beneficiaries of the trust; Maame Esther Oteng, the group leader explains that the micro loans primarily provide them (women) with the best livelihood help or assistance of the time because the ‘trickle-down benefits’ of providing women with capital is a lot greater. “When we (woman) are empowered, we are able to provide for our families. Most of the eneficiaries are women; however, it was acknowledged that, women are a lot more responsible than men when it comes to the upbringing of their children. She adds, “If we empower women economically, we are also attending to the needs of the children. ” Notwithstanding the success story, AAP is also facing some challenges with its Micro Finance and Economic Empowerment Programme and other challenging complexities with its other programmes and projects which when addressed will increase its impacts on the target communities and individuals.
In the Micro Finance Project, most of the beneficiaries default payment with the notion that it is God’s money since AAP is a non-profit Christian Organization. This retards the progress of the programme and its coverage. In some cases, AAP lacks reaching out to the most remote parts of the regions and the country to implement its activities which defeats its vision of working in deprived communities. This is partly due to the fact that AAP prefer to have easy accessibility to communities where they implement programmes.
This is not the role of NGO’s in addressing societal problems. Another challenge is bad road networks linking the villages to the main towns. Conditions of roads play critical role in development interventions as well as developmental investment. In situations where there are good roads, NGO’s and investors will like to extend their services to such places. Some organizations will also like to save some money for administrative purposes. This may also be a contributing factor why the organization sometimes does not extend its activities to very remote areas.
Sometimes, the organization does not deliver according to proposals. i had that experience during my work with AAP, according to the project I was in charge, AAP was supposed to engage in a capacity building seminar for 200 participants but during the engagement, only 120 participants were received because of the cost. I think these are the realities of development work and so far one remains in the development field, these will be some of the experiences. From observation and revision of the various impact assessments done on AAP’s rogrammes and projects, they are really impacting the rural communities especially in the areas of water and health; economic empowerment and child support and education. 5. 4 Professional Observations and Experience from the Placement During the three months, I realized that it takes many steps (even in a smaller company) to achieve a vision. This was ascertained by a number of observations: ? I did observe that teamwork played quite a huge role in attaining most of the AAP mandates.
It was equally important as the ability to work independent. But the goal must be to find a way to combine it in the right way. ? Most of the AAP employees especially those within the Micro Finance Unit (of course because I worked with them) are committed to their work. Most of them would come to work early, leave at the evenings and a time come to work overtime in order for them to meet their deadlines. This is something that I feel few employees in any given organization would do. Interns are given the much needed supervisory support that goes beyond work related issues. This is so given the fact that a supervisor would once in a while spend at least part of his/her private time to talk with an intern over issues that touches on personal life. This was very encouraging. Even with the aforementioned positive observations, honestly I think that AAP staff does need frequent common group activity/activities that would bring them together once in a while. This will eventually result in a stronger bond amongst them.
I did observe that the lack of these activities affects stronger teamwork play. 5. 5 Personal Development through the Placement During the internship, I learnt and developed a lot of professional skills in development practice. I acquired practical skill training on community development and mobilization. During project implementation, monitoring and evaluation, I met with community leaders to gather for community engagement. I also obtained practical training on Micro Finance for Community Development especial as a poverty reduction tool.
At AAP, most of their programmes and projects are child-centred; this endowed me with first-hand skill training on Child Care and Development particular early child development and education. Again, I obtained practical hand-on-training on Water and Sanitation Projects as most of the activities I worked on were in this field. I also learn the realities of applying development theories, concepts and frameworks on the field/ ground. 5. 6 Challenges and Problems Encountered 5. 6. 1 Short duration of time to assess the organisation AAP has been in operation since 1986.
This makes it very difficult to successfully assess and evaluate AAP within a period of three months to draw reflective conclusions on their operations and even the impact of their activities on the society. From personal observation and findings, most of AAP’s projects and activities are not documented, which makes it very hard to evaluate AAP’s projects within three months since these projects need longitudinal survey to evaluate their impacts. This means that there is much time needed to assess the success, failure and effects of some projects. 5. . 2 Lack of adequate involvement in all AAP’s programmes and projects I was placed to work with Water and Health and later on, with Micro Finance and Economic Empowerment projects respectively. This created an unfortunate situation even though it was not the fault of AAP, it did not give me much insight on the projects which I could have drawn much lessons and implications for my analysis and evaluation. Later on, I was assigned to work on a project which occupied me to the extent that I could not have time to participate in other project activities. . 7 Suggestions and Recommendations for Intervention 5. 7. 1 African Assistance Plan I recommend that AAP should once in a while organize a team building exercises outside its office complex to its staff in order to bring them closer. This would give staff time to re-examine what they have achieved so far, share personal experiences and ideas, learn to be together and appreciate the importance of team work at work. I must recommend AAP for the continued financial support to the interns during travels.
I think it is through their generosity that interns find it a bit easy to afford their meals and transportation fares while at field. It would be even more generous if AAP can review its financial support to interns to reflect the ever changing economic situation in Ghana. From my experience I can wholeheartedly recommend AAP internship programme to everyone who would like to experience an organization that has in my opinion realized their vision to find the balance between being progressive, able to balance human concerns, technical considerations and nevertheless being highly successful.
What you have to bring with you, is the willingness to improve knowledge about development, your work experience and you have to be able to work independently, self-motivated and you must solve smaller problems on your own. Anyhow, if you’ve got into some serious trouble you will always find somebody assisting you to work it out. 5. 7. 2 Institute of African Studies/ Trent-In-Ghana TIG has been successful in both its organized course work at the Institute in Accra and ILGS, Tamale but it must streamline its internship programme because it is the climax and peak of the entire programme which prepare the students for professional duties.
Upon critical examination, most NGO’s, organizations and agencies were not prepared for interns but accepted the interns because of non-financial commitments and attachment, while in reality there was less or no work or in some instances, no space for interns. TIG should network or partner with some selected, faithful and diligent NGO’s and/ or other relevant organizations that appreciate interns and above all know the terms of the programme to absorb the interns annually.
With this, even the organizations can provide free accommodation for the interns which will at the long-run motivates and inspires the interns to be committed, devoted and dedicated to duty. 5. 8 Conclusion In conclusion, I have to attest both of my supervisors (Mrs Rose Meda Otoo who was my senior supervisor and Miss Doris Donkor who was my immediate supervisor) at AAP for the good job. I really appreciate the way I have been guided through this internship programme with AAP, beginning from the opportunity to take the time I needed to refresh and expand my knowledge in everal issues concerning community development, over a somehow protected period where I could discover and learn to value my new working environment, and finally earned the confidence to deal with practical development issues myself. It is through them that I did enjoy my work every day. References: • REESE, L. A. and FASENFEST, D. (1996) More of the same: a research note on Local Economic Development policies through time, Economic Development Quarterly, 10, 3, pp. 280-289. • RAZIN, E. 1990) Urban economic development in a period of local initiative: competition among towns in Israel’s southern coastal plain, Urban Studies, 27, 5, pp. 685-703. • REED, D. (1999) Ethics, community development and not-for-profit business, International Journal of Social Economics, 26, 5/6, pp. 660-674. • SUNYANI MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY (2006); Medium-Term Development Plan, 2006-2009, Sunyani. • GHANA STATISTICAL SERVICE (2007); Patterns and Trends of Poverty in Ghana, Accra. • ANJA RUCKER UND GABRIELE TRAH (2007); Local and Regional Economic Development, Eschorn. GHANA STATISTICAL SERVICE (2006); Women and Men in Ghana, A Statistical Compendium, Accra. • ICON-INSTITUT GmbH PRIVATE SECTOR/ SWISS CONTACT (2007); Inception Report, Programme for Sustainable Economic Development (LRED). • O’DOHERTY, D. K. and DURRSCHMIDT, J. (1999) Local exchange and trading systems” a useful strand in community economic development policy? Environment and Planning A, 31, 9, pp. 1639-1654. • PAGE, M. W. (1996) Locality, housing production and the local state, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 14, pp. 181-201. • NORTH CENTRAL REGIONAL CENTER FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT (n. . ) North Central regional Centre for Rural Development. Ames: Iowa State University. • MANUEL, T. C. (1997) Promoting Local Economic Development: A Review of City Summit Best Practises, Institute of Social Studies, Working Paper No. 240, The Hague. • MERCER, C. (1999) Reconceptualising state-society relations in Tanzania: are NGOs ‘making a difference’? Area, 31, 3, pp. 247-258. • MOSIANE, N. B. (2000) the evolving local economic development process in Mafikeng: a contested terrain between political and profit interests, South African Geographical Journal, 82, 1, pp. 13-20.