Community-Driven Development

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The Community-Driven Development (CDD) Unit handles the design, implementation and management of community-led projects and programmes within PDA.

The CDD Unit views communities as subjects of change and development partners in their own right, rather than as mere receivers of public and private goods and services or objects of charity. For this reason the CDD Unit places premium on the role that communities and their institutions, organisations and stakeholders play in decisions about the economic and social development processes that directly affect the well-being of their members.

Specific objectives of the Unit includes:

  • To facilitate processes that empower poor or marginalised communities, and marginalised groups to take initiatives for their own socio-economic development.
  • To promote and/or facilitate community participation in project design and implementation within specific sectors.
  • To support local governance and for that matter decentralisation programs.
  • To enhance local capacity through local level coordination, training, facilitation and technical support.

The unit has co-ordinated projects in the 158 cocoa communities with the core objective of improving livelihoods, supporting initiatives to address worst forms of child labour (WFCL), and in empowering community members and district stakeholders in the delivery of the project outcomes. The work of CDDU is interrelated to all the other units of PDA. In our quest to facilitate the development of communities we undertake research, train district partners and community leaders in leadership and advocacy skills and also undertake direct advocacy in the areas of local governance and accountability.

The CDD Unit seeks to facilitate a process of self-belief and self-reliance, and therefore attitudinal and behavioural change, on the part of communities who over the years have lost confidence in their own capabilities. In this regard, in our work with communities or marginalised groups, we employ a set of tools and methods that have become known internationally as Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) approach to facilitate the following interrelated processes:

  • Dialogue and animation - by getting the community to analyse their own reality, appreciate what they have and are capable of doing for themselves, and recognising what needs to change.
  • Participatory community action planning, implementation and monitoring – that is collectively developing a vision for the kind of community they wish to see, identifying the actions and resources needed to achieve it, assigning roles and responsibilities for implementation and monitoring.
  • Indigenous knowledge and organisational strengthening – placing the responsibility for the development of the community or group in the hands of the leadership, building on positive indigenous knowledge and practices, reviewing and strengthening existing organisational and institutional structures, and creating new ones where necessary.
  • Participatory action research – a process of taking actions, reflecting on the actions and learning from what worked or did not work.
  • Advocacy – providing community or group leaders with the skills to lobby and advocate for support from the local government authorities and elected representatives like the MPs.
  • Coordination and technical backstopping – providing managerial and technical support with regard to report or proposal writing, financial report, fund-raising and advocacy.

CDDU has managed and successfully delivered on major projects like “Yen Daakye” Project (YDK), iMPACT Project, EU/CSSP II, and now is exploring the area of cocoa certification. In collaboration with FTS (USA) and SSF (Obuasi) the CDDU is implementing the Child Rights in Mining Project. In working with communities, CDDU’s preferred option, as it has done for all these projects, is to work with district-based NGOs as partners, as they are already present and closer to the communities. The capacity of these local partners is strengthened to ensure they work efficiently with the community members and stakeholders.


Client: Fisheries Commission

Brief Description:

The marine and freshwater bodies of Ghana are well endowed with fishery resources which provide sustainable economic opportunities for the country. These resources have, in the past, contributed modestly to socio-economic ends comprising food security, employment, poverty reduction, growth in GDP, incomes, foreign exchange earnings and wealth generation. There are various interests, groups and actors who are diversely associated with the fisheries in Ghana. However, in recent times, the sector is unable to contribute significantly to these socio-economic needs as anticipated by the stakeholders.

Various interventions have been implemented to support the sector to ensure its sustenance and prevention from collapse, including, the “Draft National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy” developed by the then Ministry of Fisheries and the Republic of Ghana Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Plan- a result of government approach to the World Bank for technical support to identify issues and recommendations for improving the clarity and focus of the draft fisheries policy.

The plan is grounded on the economic development objective which overarches the policy and focuses on wealth creation reflected in the profitability of the nation’s fishery. The plan:

  • actualises the social, economic and sustainability objectives of the policy by providing management and development strategies that will enable the sector to recover and focus on wealth creation
  • ensures that fisheries management costs are sustainable and that the sector overall makes fiscal contribution to government revenue.
  • is sensitive to the retaining Ghana as the landing and processing hub of the West Africa tuna industry.

Taking cognizance of the sensitive nature and attitudes associated with the management of the fisheries, it is necessary to subject the draft policy and draft development plan, and the thought processes that informed them, to stakeholder and public discussions, scrutiny, comprehension, critique and feedback for fine tuning in order to get their buy-in acceptability and support.

PDA is facilitating the consultation workshops for the Fisheries Commission.  A total of 10 workshops are being organized for the various stakeholders across  the country.
Contact person:
Tony Dogbe: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Title: Community Driven Initiatives for Food Security (CIFS)

Client: MLGRD / CIDA
Date: May 2004 - On going
Brief Description:

PDA provides the Capacity Development Specialist on this 6-year bilateral programme funded by CIDA and implemented through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. The overall goal of CIFS is to contribute to increased food security in northern Ghana through an approach that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. The purpose is to demonstrate that community-driven initiatives, implemented within the existing framework for district planning, are an effective and sustainable way of increasing food security in northern Ghana. The project covers 10 districts in the eastern corridor of the Northern Region and employs capacity building as a key strategy for implementation in a manner that enables learning across districts and ensures that lessons and experiences from one district inform the way activities are implemented in other districts.

Contact person in PDA:
Tony Dogbe - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.