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Capacity gap causes inadequate incorporation of social transformation analysis in development planning – REACH-STR

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The Resilience Against Climate Change-Social Transformation Research and Policy Advocacy (REACH-STR) Project, has identified capacity gap as the main cause of inadequate incorporation of social transformation analysis in development planning in Ghana.

This arises from a number of sources including; first and foremost a knowledge gap in the research and scientific literature on methodological approaches to analysing social transformation, and weaknesses in institutional capacity for social transformation analyses.

Dr William Quarmine, National Monitoring and Evaluation Researcher, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), blamed it on inadequate funds allocation for in-depth data collection.

He said the standard national development planning guidelines only required the description and analysis of the existing conditions by highlighting the main development problems, causes and their implications for the planning period.

Dr Quarmine was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Wa on the side lines of a learning event with Development Officers in the Upper West and Savannah Regions.

According to him, society was changing and it behooved on development planners to understand the changing trend, hence the reason why they developed and tested an analytical framework to help development workers to measure how society was changing.

The workshop, he said was therefore meant to train development workers on how they could track changes in society and respond to it by taking appropriate actions that would bring about transformation.

He said the development of the analytical framework was based on their observation that development workers focused mainly on delivering outcomes such as roads, schools, hospitals, which created a development gap.

Dr Quarmine noted that for them to see how society was transforming, they needed to focus on other things such as the culture of society, the power relations, the norms, the ideals and the value systems.

“Development workers really focus on easy-to-measure things to the detriment of the core of society, which is the belief systems, the values, the norms, the ideals, the power struggles, the structures, the winners and losers among others”, he said.

“These ones are missing in the development work and in situations where they are there, development workers do not have the capacity and the resources to be able to track them”, he emphasized.

He said they expected that participants would be able to catch some ideas from the training, which they could include in their work to aid planning and be able to bring about social transformation.

“This, if achieved, will be able to improve the worse forms of poverty and improve society”, the National Monitoring and Evaluation Researcher said.

Mr Michael Safo Ofori, Team Member, REACH-STR/IWMI, said a review of the development plans of five districts revealed that most of the deliverables fell within the observables than the latent (beliefs and value systems).

He said they believe a focus on the latent could easily cause social transformation than the observable, which according to him would need a high-level magnitude and persistence before social transformation could be realised.

He recommended that district profiles and characteristics should be described in an evolving manner and not in their present state, adding that the District Medium Term Development Plans (MTDPs) should not only be a tool for creating social transformation but also a tool for responding to changes in society.

Mr Ofori said it was important to build capacity to track the latent and when that happened, they could then develop plans to help change it and ultimately cause social transformation.

REACH is a project being sponsored by the European Union (EU) and coordinated by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in Partnership with the University of Ghana, University for Development Studies (UDS) and the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Source: GNA

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