Livelihood Improvement as a Tool for Community Development in Ghana: Evidence from Beneficiaries of Cocoa Life Project in Wassa East District
This research examined how interventions undertaken by World Vision Ghana (WVG) under the Cocoa Life Project in Wassa East District affected the livelihoods of beneficiaries. The study examined the aspects of livelihood which the Project focused on and the perceived effect of the Project on the livelihoods of beneficiaries. Alternative development, social capital and social cognitive theories informed this study. A total of 406 beneficiaries including farmers, gari processors, and soap makers were involved in the study through simple random, stratified and convenience sampling techniques. Focus group discussion and interview schedule were the research instruments. In analysing the quantitative data percentages, means and paired-sample t-test were used whereas thematic analysis was done for the qualitative data. The effect of the Project on beneficiaries’ knowledge on livelihood activities, productivity, savings culture, access to credit facilities and sense of inclusion was perceived as high. However, the effect on beneficiaries’ income level, household and productive assets was perceived as moderate. Nonetheless, a significant difference was witnessed in the state of livelihoods of beneficiaries before and after the interventions. It is recommended that WVG and Cocoa Life Division collaborate with Business Advisory Centres and the Agriculture Departments in their operational zones to increase livelihood choices of beneficiaries, including investing in food and agro-processing factories. WVG and Cocoa Life Division should team up with community based-organisations and the District Assemblies to design measures to encourage beneficiaries to make effective use of the knowledge derived from alternative livelihood programmes.
Key Words: Alternative development theory, community development, project interventions, non-governmental organisations, social cognitive theory
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