“Why so many Investments, but little Impact” –Lessons from Northern Regions of Ghana

 IMG_7177Young People shared their views

There has been growing concerns about the dilapidated state of the three Northern regions of Ghana despite the “pour” of many grants, financial assistance and technical know-how to mitigate the socio-economic challenges experienced in these regions. The three Northern regions of Ghana are Upper East, Upper West and Northern Region.

I have a sincere passion for civic engagement and community development but for once frightened by the ongoing debate about the fact that ” the three Northern regions of Ghana would always remain the same irrespective of the socio-economic interventions”.

I took on the challenge and got a post on my Facebook wall that attracted several comments from young people in Ghana. Young people across the length and breadth of the country shared their rich experience.

Here’s the post;

“The three Northern Regions of Ghana have benefited so much through international, local NGOs and Government support systems but undoubtedly these investments seem not to reflect significantly in the lives of its people (Northerners). What might be the Cause? Why so much investments and little impact?

*I am about implementing a project in the three Northern Regions of Ghana and it would be great having some fare knowledge from my wonderful friends on social media.
I invite comments from everyone. My purpose is to help identify the major challenges confronting these investments.”

Here are some of the experiences shared by some very thoughtful young people from Ghana;

Sharif Mahmud Khalid-“It all boils down to planning and implementation plus i doubt if there are any evaluations, if at all, how were they done? and how do they inform future programs. Point is almost the entire budget for these interventions are spent on needless meetings and admin work to the neglect of the very practical essence of the projects and programs…”

Alfred Godwin Adjabeng-“Evaluation, sustainability, project management, and human resource (focus) Thanks Hon. Sharif Mahmud Khalid for the share. Your rich experience has been duly appreciated. God bless.”

Hotep Abeku Adams-“You cannot rule out THE HUMAN FACTOR: dishonesty, profit-mindedness, lack of innovation and true intent to solve problems, lack of vision and lack of the courage of conscience to see the right thing done. Many of the people running these NGOs and in charge of Government interventions are Business-minded individuals seeking to make profit and thus end up ignoring the problems they are to tackle.”

Alfred Godwin Adjabeng –“Project Integrity, lack of innovations, Project Value and Commitment and selflessness. Thanks Hon. Hotep Abeku Adams for sharing this rich experience. Your recommendations are highly recognized and it would be taken into consideration in our project implementation. Thanks for making a difference. God bless.”

Dick Acheampong –“Sustainability is also an issue, these projects seeks to tackle challenges just but on the surface. They fail to think about project sustainability. Also as mentioned above that countless unfruitful meetings are held which lacks the core mandate of the organization”

Hotep Abeku Adams –“Individual Integrity is KEY to overcoming the social and economic challenges of society. For in the final analysis NO INSTITUTION runs automatically without Human involvement and NO quantum of Funds can work on its own without MEN administering it. The big question then is HOW DO WE GUARANTEE THE INDIVIDUAL INTEGRITY OF THE MEN INTO WHOSE HANDS FUNDS DROP?”

Bright Daily Sunu-“ It’s about not teaching them how to fish but rather catching fish for them and lack of education.”

Alfred Godwin Adjabeng-“thought provoking ads. Thanks fellows.”

Roger Goka-“ Generational think-tanks; can we for once try as much as we solve the problem from the intervening point of view and also look at the beneficiaries in question too? Sometimes, the dogmatic nature of we humans in general is also a key factor to be considered. Can we do things no more as the “oldway” of doing things but improving on the “oldway of doing things” to make it suitable to solve the problem of these 3 naturally endowed regions. #Traditions do kill. Northern Ghana i must confess is a great place to be…#RG”

Alfred Godwin Adjabeng-“ innovation, problem entry point and perception. Thanks @Roger for the share.”

Emmanuel Kwadwo Opoku -“Alfred, you might want to look at the areas the Investments were directed towards and then you wud be able to measure the level of actual impact against the expected impact at the start of the project.”

Alfred Godwin Adjabeng –“Splendid! Emmanuel Kwadwo Opoku. Thanks for your add.”

May-Daisy K Tikkle- “Empowerment and community participation. These in addition are needed. Don’t just shove d project on their faces to represent I helping. Actually make it worth the while. Research into what the communities need not what u think they need. That would be a blunder. Thank you”

Alfred Godwin Adjabeng –“May-Daisy K Tikkle, incredible add. Thanks for the rich experience shared! You’ve uncovered a rich concept.”

Don Woozy -“Development starts with d people and must be from the people. Most of the developmental plans are drawn in Accra (Ghana’s capital city), and sometimes abroad. How will they work in those places? The needs of two places can’t the same. U have to go there and solicit their needs and this will help you make a difference..”

Alfred Godwin Adjabeng-“Thanks Don Woozy. You and May-Daisy K Tikkle have given us a lot to think about. God bless.”

Speaking with Prof. Sackyi, a food scientist and renowned professor at the University of Ghana, blamed the situation on what she described as “Social Ideology”, which has to do with project acceptance. She said the Northern Regions of Ghana are the Heart of every international, local and government interventions but failed to realize its significant impact. She advised organizations to also focus on other parts of the country since they also need such interventions. She refused to accept the fact that the three northern regions of Ghana are the poorest in Ghana.

Traveling to the Northern Region of Ghana, almost all the streets we walked on had the signboards of Non-governmental Organisations. This is an indication of the number of personal, governments, and organisations’ interventions.


Ghana School Farms Project Team met Savelugu Municipal Chief Executive who was happy about our project and has asked to be fully involved in its activities. He described the project as an ‘old one but lost treasure’.

He said the Acheampong regime pioneered a project, ‘Operation Feed Yourself’, which is similar to ours. He highlighted the major challenge that organisations face in the implementation of their projects in the Northern Regions as;

a. Project acceptance
b. Sustainability
c. Culture of the people.

These are just some few thoughts shared! Hope they serve you well. Thanks for reading. Please remember to leave a comment and also share. God bless.

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