Partnering for community development in rural Ghana

The Bibiani Anhwiaso Bekwai District Development (BABDD) Project 
January 2011 to March 2014

WUSC began working with regional government in rural, western Ghana in January 2011 on a multi-stakeholder initiative to improve education, employment and governance in 12 communities in the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai region. Our partners on this project were the district government of Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development of Ghana. Funding partners were the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and Rio Tinto Alcan. Taking an integrated approach on development issues, the project looked at key aspects of development at the local level  ̶  i.e. education, hygiene, water, sanitation, youth employability  ̶  and the overarching issue of governance and community participation in development processes.

What We're Doing: 

WUSC worked to enhance the knowledge, coordination and overall capacity of the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai District Assembly to help improve accountability and sustainability and facilitate upgraded service delivery to the 134,000 district residents in education, water sanitation and economic development. WUSC worked with the District Assembly to strengthen policy and planning mechanisms, to experiment with participatory approaches and to build capacity via training, best practices, knowledge sharing and skill-building initiatives for district authorities at several levels. District Assembly members as well as village leaders and local committee members benefitted from a suite of capacity building efforts which led to increased citizen participation as well as greater accountability and transparency. In education, the initiative resulted in improved teacher training in addition to the formation and ongoing training of School Management Committees. WUSC’s involvement with the district authorities supported the improvement of water and sanitation policies and infrastructure to better answer the needs of all community members, resulting in improved hygiene and greater access to clean water. The project contributed to economic growth and poverty reduction by providing training to marginalized youth and women in high-demand agricultural sectors. The training included key employment skills in business, entrepreneurship, gender equality and management.

BABDDP is an example of what an innovative multi-stakeholder collaboration can achieve and represents positive steps towards good practice for the mining sector.

What We're Learning: 

Rio Tinto Alcan, as part of its commitment to responsible mining practices, provided $300,000 over three years to the project, and maintained their commitment after the company sold its share of the operation in 2010. The project also received $500,000 from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), which has since merged with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.

The public-private-NGO collaboration was founded on the commitment of these stakeholders to maximize the contributions of mining operations for socio-economic benefits and sustainable development of 12 communities in the BAB district.

BABDDP’s goals of enhancing governance, citizen participation and services in the district have been achieved.  The 12 communities participating in this project have become active advocates of their development needs. An active link between local government, communities, and development planners is in place and the district’s priority development challenges of education quality, water and sanitation, youth employability have been addressed and sustainable mechanisms have been established.

Some specific results of the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai District Development Project:

  • 102 community projects supporting governance, education, access to water and sanitation were implemented during the project. These projects are ongoing and executed with the support of community members, the District Assembly and mining companies in the area.
  • 24 boys and girls clubs were created to strengthen the quality of education in the district. The clubs provide a safe space for 1,222 students (591 boys and 631 girls) and its programs help to improve self-esteem and skills in communication, teamwork, problem solving and leadership.
  • All 12 communities have increased access to clean water and cleaner sanitation facilities as a result of improved processes by water and sanitation committees to design and implement water and sanitation policies and projects.
  • 325 youth trained in skills for employment in four agricultural trades with potential for sound revenues: bee keeping, cocoa nursery, piggery and poultry.
  • Education, water and sanitation and community action committees are now better organized thanks to 23 training workshops using the proven participatory approach. The committees are more efficient, hold regular meetings and ensure the monitoring and supervision of all community initiatives.
  • Training for District Assembly officers and members have increased competencies in participatory learning, monitoring and evaluation, community mobilization, gender inclusion in planning and budgeting, and in environmental sustainability to support district and community priorities.

The partnership began in 2007 when WUSC initiated discussions with the stakeholders on ways in which WUSC could support the delivery of quality education in the district. Improving education and strengthening local governance and development was a goal for the BAB District Assembly as well as for Rio Tinto Alcan, who, at the time operated the Ghana Bauxite Company (GBC) in the district, and shown a firm commitment to socio-economic development in the region. WUSC had been working in Ghana since 1997 in the area of education, specifically to help Ghana decentralize and improve its education system (Ghana Education Decentralization Project) and to improve access and participation in school for girls (Girl-Child Education Project).

WUSC and its partners started with a pilot project in one community, Awaso. The Kanaso School pilot project succeeded in creating an exceptional school environment with quality teaching and learning for children, as was the goal. The partners then looked at extending the scope of their joint efforts to advance sustainable development in the whole district and support the district's Medium-Term Development Plan. WUSC conducted detailed, frank discussions with Rio Tinto Alcan to ensure that the partnership shared a common vision and objective and proposed a three-year initiative for development in the BAB district.


Listen to an interview by Chris Eaton, WUSC Executive Director, on WUSC's partnership with Rio Tinto Alcan.


Other related links:

CIDA News Release

Rio Tinto Alcan News Release

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