The planning and the management of the community school alliance (csa) project: (case study of ajumako-enyan-essiam district, ghana)
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
People are the central theme of projects this is because they are the actors, they can be the beneficiaries or the victims. Thus the essence of people’s involvement in the development process is enhanced through their participation in the financing of projects. This generates a sense of ownership and awareness to share responsibility for the future organization and management of project investment. Community Projects are the building blocks of a development plan. Community projects must be started or identified and prepared, and there is a need to undertake feasibility studies to ascertain the viability and sustainability of projects before implementation. At the implementation stage, projects must be monitored and evaluated to ensure that they are on course and set goals are being attained.As a result, it was common for community members to wake up to see facilities like bore holes, market centre, health posts, schools and toilets (Kumasi Ventilated Improvement Pit), constructed behind their windows by governmental and non-governmental organizations for them.
In any society, it is rare to find a development strategy these days which does not require community participation. A body of evidence confirms that community participation in the initiation, planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation leads to sustainable development. The policies of many developing countries, governments and donors have emphasized the need to increase the access of the beneficiaries to development services. For communities to continue developing, there is a need to pay more attention to strategies that will encourage and empower the beneficiaries to manage, maintain and sustain their development in the absence of development partners. Hence, active participation in sustainable development ensures that those who are affected by the changes are the ones determining the changes.
The essence of people’s involvement in the development process is enhanced through their participation in the financing of projects. This generates a sense of ownership and awareness to share responsibility for the future organization and management of project investment. How this is best achieved is often based on the approach and strategy used in implementing the projects. Before the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) government’s introduction of the decentralization policy in Ghana, power and authority as well as the distribution of resources were centralized in the national capital. The community participation approach came into being as a result of the emergence ofthe participatory development approach.It is, therefore, necessary to reinforce the concern by highlighting the role that community participation can play in planning and managing developmental projects like the Community Schools Alliance projects in the Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam District (AEED).
The Community Schools Alliance (CSA) was formed to encourage policy formulators to work with school boards, municipal and district councils to develop a better system for making decisions about school projects in various communities. The Alliance aims at promoting districts and municipal councils to have a more meaningful role in those decisions. It provides an opportunity for school boards and municipalities to work together to develop policies addressing issues such as declining enrollments, a review of funding for rural and small community schools, and establishing a working relationship between municipalities and school boards that provides transparency and accountability (CSA, 2004).
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
In Ghana, the community participation approach to development was aimed at encouraging the involvement of all stakeholders in the design and implementation of projects. This indicates that community participation ensures that beneficiaries are involved in their own development so that they will not only have a say in their own development but also be able to take charge and control of the management of such projects in their communities. However, the Community school Alliance project has been characterized by biases which are disempowering.
Community participation has become a tool to manipulate local people to “rubber-stamp” preconceived ideas of the urban elite and international institutions. Community members have been compelled to forgo their economic activities and attend long meetings which, at the end of the day, have little or no impact on the predetermined stands of these facilitating agencies. It is clear that development partners leave out the beneficiaries in the planning and management of projects and, for that matter, there is minimal involvement of community members in the planning and management of community development projects. The absence of such coordination between the various stakeholders has made it very difficult for development projects to be well managed in the absence of a facilitating agency. Therefore, it is against these flaws that this research seeks to examine the planning and management of the community school alliance (CSA) project.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The general objective of the study is to evaluate the nature and importance of community participation in the planning and management of the Community Schools Alliance (CSA) Project in the AEED. Specifically, the study is intended to:
- Examine the nature of community participation in the planning and management of the CSA Project in the AEED
- Determine the factors that affect community participation in the planning and management of the CSA Project in the AEED
- Evaluate how community participation promotes effective project planning and management; and
- Recommend strategies that will improve the functioning of the CSA Project.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
The research is guided by the following question:
- What is the nature of community participation in project planning and management in the CSA Project in the AEED?
- What factors affect community participation in project planning and management in the CSA Project in the AEED?
- To what extent does AEED participate in the project
- How does community participation promote effective project planning and management?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study will look at the community participation approach to development and this will serve as a learning material for community development workers, District Assemblies, and NGOs. This study will no doubt enhance the value of community projects to last longer and benefit the people greatly. Though there have been studies on project planning in NGOs and community development, studies on the planning and management of the CSA Project are yet to be done. The study, therefore, looked at the peculiar nature of project planning and management in the CSA Project and also added new knowledge to existing literature in order to enhance the planning and management processes in community development in the AEED. Finally, the study will serve as a reference material for both scholars and students who wish to conduct further studies in related fields.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study centred on community participation in the planning and management of the Community School Alliance Project in Ajumako-EnyanEssiam District. The study was restricted to the four Partnership School Communities (PSCs) of the Community School Alliance (CSA) Project in the district, namely: Besease, Aworodo, Fawomwnye and Esiam.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This research project, like all human endeavors, had some challenges that threatened to derail the study’s completion. One of the reasons is that the time allotted for this work was so limited that the researcher did not have enough time to complete the task thoroughly. During data collection, the researcher also had to put forth extra effort to understand the respondents’ interview schedules, several of whom fell into the incomprehensible age group. Also, there were finance and transportation constraints to deal with. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, interview).
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Community: The lowest level of aggregation at which people are organized for a common effort or goal.
Participation: A process in which beneficiary or client groups influence the direction and execution of a development project with the view to enhancing their well being in terms of income, personal growth, self-reliance or other values they cherish.
Planning: It is an advanced and conscious way of allocating scarce resources to achieve desirable goals.
Project Planning: An activity or a set of related activities which are implemented as an identifiable whole.
Management: It refers to utilizing resources efficiently and effectively to achieve the desired outputs.[email protected][email protected]