Capacity gap leads to inadequate integration of social transformation analysis-REACH-STR
The REACH-STR (Resilience Against Climate Change-Social Transformation Research and Policy Advocacy) project identified lack of capacity as the main cause of inadequate integration of social transformation analysis into development planning in Ghana.
This stems from a number of sources including; above all, a lack of knowledge in research and scientific literature on methodological approaches to the analysis of social transformation, and weaknesses in the institutional capacity for the analysis of social transformation.
Dr William Quarmine, National Researcher in Monitoring and Evaluation, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), blamed it on insufficient funding for in-depth data collection.
He said the standard national development planning guidelines only required the description and analysis of the existing conditions highlighting the main development problems, their 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 sidelines of a learning event with development workers in the Upper West and Savannah regions.
According to him, society was changing and it was up to development planners to understand the changing trend, hence why they developed and tested an analytical framework to help development workers measure how society was changing.
The workshop, he said, was therefore aimed at training development workers on how they could monitor changes in society and respond to them by taking appropriate actions that would bring about transformation.
He said the elaboration of the analytical framework was based on their observation that development workers were mainly focused on delivering results such as roads, schools, hospitals, which created a development gap.
Dr. Quarmine noted that to see how society is changing, they need to focus on other things such as society’s culture, power relations, norms, ideals and value systems.
“Development workers really focus on things that are easy to measure at the expense of the core of society, which is belief systems, values, norms, ideals, power struggles, structures, winners and losers among others,” he said.
“These are missing in development work and in the situations where they are there, development workers lack the capacity and resources to be able to follow them,” he stressed.
He said they expected participants to take some ideas from the training, which they could incorporate into their work to help with planning and be able to bring about social transformation.
“This, if achieved, can improve the worst forms of poverty and improve society,” said the national monitoring and evaluation researcher.
Mr. Michael Safo Ofori, Team Member, REACH-STR/IWMI, said that a review of five district development plans revealed that most deliverables were more observable than latent (beliefs and systems of values).
He said they believe focusing on the latent could easily bring about social transformation rather than the observable, which he said would require high-level scale and persistence before social transformation can be achieved.
He recommended that the profiles and characteristics of the districts should be described in an evolving way and not in their current state, adding that the districts’ medium-term development plans (MTDPs) should not only be a tool to create social transformation, but also a tool to respond to changes. in society.
Mr Ofori said it was important to build capacity to track the latent and when it happened then they could develop plans to help change it and ultimately bring about social transformation.
REACH is a project sponsored by the European Union (EU) and coordinated by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in partnership with the University of Ghana, University of Development Studies (UDS) and the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).