SUSTAINABLE RURAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE NORTHERN REGION OF GHANA: INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES FOR ENHANCING LEADERSHIP PARTICIPATION
Successive governments in Ghana have since the attainment of independence in 1957 initiated many programmes aimed at promoting sustainable rural development. The Northern Region of the country has benefited immensely from such initiatives. Many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and International Development Agencies (IDAs) have augmented the efforts of government by making the region a focus of their developmental agenda. In spite of the profound commitment exhibited by the government and external development partners in bringing about sustainable development to the area, the Northern Region still remains one of the most deprived areas in terms of access to basic and necessary facilities and amenities. It can be argued that since rural leaders wield considerable influence over their people, their participation in rural development projects will go a long way to ensure the success of such projects. It is against this backdrop that this article sought to identify strategies for enhancing the participation of community leaders in the development of their communities in the Northern Region. The study was undertaken in the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba district of the Northern Region. It is the belief of the authors that the results from this study can be generalised to the entire region. This study employed the mixed methods research approach where 100 community leaders were selected for interviews. The study found amongst other things that community leaders in the district lacked basic literacy and numeracy skills, which hampered their active participation in the various stages of community development. It was recommended that the capacities of community leaders should constantly be built in order to promote their active participation in community improvement initiatives.
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