Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Jerry Hall

Advisor Role

Dissertation Supervisor


NGOs have been heralded as the vehicle of choice for aid delivery by international organizations lice the World Bank and the United Nations and also by western governments, especially in the last two decades. This is a tacit acceptance of their role as development agents in the South. However, no substantive research has been done to find out if these NGOs are indeed contributing to the better management of local environmental resources. This research sets out to examine the role and impact of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the management and sustainability of local environmental resources in rural Ghana. What makes this research unique is that the assessment of the effectiveness of these NGOs was done primarily from the perspective of local residents using both qualitative and quantitative data. The data was gathered through questionnaires, open interviews and observations in selected villages in the Nanumba District. The various levels of NGOs—local, regional, national and international—are examined to highlight their specific contributions in the areas of water resource provision and management, agricultural production and forest resource management. It was discovered that local NGOs, and to some extent, regional NGOs were most effective at projects that involved more organizational strengths and less capital to make an impact. This was mainly because local NGOs used traditional modes of organisation and, therefore, were able to get more people involved in their activities. Since local NGOs were cash strapped, they were more effective in areas that required very little money to make an impact. They were therefore seen mostly in agricultural production and productivity. International NGOs and national NGOs, on the other hand, were more effective in projects that required large capital expenditures, especially in the provision of water and the building of schools and health facilities. The researcher also examines ways of making the contributions of these NGOs more effective. The local resource management framework is examined and critiqued and a new one is proposed. This new framework advocates the creation of a District NGO Liaison Office that would be the link between the various types of NGOs operating in the district, traditional authorities, the district administrative office, including the district assembly and its decentralised department and the general public.

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