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Roskilde University (2006)

Buried in Boreholes – an Analysis of Water Policy Implementation via Institutions and Power relations in Northern Ghana

McCarron, Patrick ; Iten, Shoshana

Titre : Buried in Boreholes – an Analysis of Water Policy Implementation via Institutions and Power relations in Northern Ghana

Auteur : McCarron, Patrick ; Iten, Shoshana

Université de soutenance : Roskilde University

Grade : Master of Science 2006

Rural water policy in the Northern Ghana is failing to meet articulated targets set out by donors based on regime targets. The Gusheigu District is considered one of the poorest and most remote districts in Ghana. Combined with a semi-arid climate and the highest illiteracy rate in Ghana (86%), rural communities within our case study in the Gusheigu district receive significant aid in the form of water projects from multilateral and bi-lateral donors along with international NGOs. Agents engaged in water policy process and its implementation techniques are involved in dynamic relationships involving negotiations between formal institutions and customary rule in a complex socio-political environment. By entering the agency-structure debate, the study includes experiences and perceptions of agents within formal institutions as well as community members engaged in development. Institutional frameworks including laws, acts, and policies are placed within a context of decentralized reform and reveal a weak government. At the same time, communities engaged in water development projects pursue their own strategies and resources to address water uses, needs, and preferences. The study analyzes policy implementation through theories of institutions and power, whereby questions of legitimacy and representation reveal that current aid is weakening local agents to "own" their policy and ultimately development. Investigating the various relationships and implementing objectives of agents reveals that external donors have the ability to pursue their agenda without sanctions or a high degree of disruption from the central government. Concepts such as "NGO" and "water development" are used as legitimizing tools for donors and their partners to legitimize their activities. Several constraints are noted that impede not only policy implementation but also contribute to mistrust between the three main categories of actors which are the state agents, international donors and communities. The current relations are leading towards dual system and to aid dependency. It is argued that current donor practices weakening a concept of local ownership, referring to the ability of local communities and the local government of shaping and maintaining their own water development. We suggest that there are viable local options to water management and allocation that exist in Gusheigu that are not reflected in current policy, and that the current policy must become flexible. This involves becoming more involved in existing community institutions and resources, and understanding broader "needs" of communities. Increased political will towards a commitment of decentralization to all line ministries and cooperation and coordination which includes local realities can and should occur. Aside from policy, it is important that local NGOs stop competing with each other and with the district government and begin to understand a role of cooperation based on the local socio-political realities of the communities they are intending to help

Mots clés : water policy ; implementation ; Ghana ; institutions ; power

Présentation (Connecting Africa)

Page publiée le 21 juin 2013, mise à jour le 5 juin 2018