There has been a proliferation of NGOs and their sibling-organizations (namely CSOs, CBOs and FBOs) throughout the West African sub-region. It is publicly acknowledged that they are key development partners to national and local government institutions. Notwithstanding this recognition, NGOs, both local and international have come under severe criticism for a number of reasons most of which are directly related to the quality of leadership/management. First, there appears to be grave deficiencies in the technical and managerial know-how on the part of staff of many of these organizations. This is particularly the case with the local NGOs when compared with the international ones. It does not augur well for them because they end up performing below their full potential and as a result their individual and collective impact is significantly reduced. Second, there is the twin problem of accountability and transparency in their operations with respect to management and finances. Third, questions are raised about the real (both actual and relative) impact of programmes run by NGOs on the lives of communities they serve in relation to their funding levels and the relative comfortable working and living conditions of their staff . Fourth, there is also the issue of duplication or multiplication of initiatives/projects at the community level all in the name of independence of missions and goals. There tends to be limited, if any at all, coordination and collaboration between and among NGOs within communities they serve. Fifth, and related directly to the preceding point, there is the problem of turf-guarding in terms of areas (geo-spatial and priority programmes) even if this is only latent. Sixth, there is the disturbing feature of the “one-person manned” NGOs that claim to serve the interest of their communities but hardly ever do. They are more like self-serving entities. Often they operate with the slimmest of skeletal staff, who in most cases, woefully lack the requisite managerial competence. Seventh, constructive critics are alarmed at the existence and operations of many shady NGOs, which may best be described as “flight-by-night” or “ghost” NGOs that dot the NGO scene especially in Ghana. This became apparent especially when the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) funded projects in 2003. Eighth and finally, another compelling reason for this proposed programme of study is the speed with which privatization as a strategy for accelerating development has overtaken Africa resulting in a lot of social and economic services being delivered through NGOs by donors and benefactor-governments. In sum, in a collective sense, NGOs have become synonymous with grassroots development in all its manifestations. However, they face many serious challenges, many of which are surmountable. The commonest denominator of these challenges is the overall quality of management of and leadership in NGOs. Relatedly, the technical knowledge base of most senior members of the organizations is weak. In many cases the managers and other staff members go into their jobs with a mono-academic discipline orientation. But for them to fully appreciate development in theory and practice, staff members will require a multi-discipline preparation, preferably at their baccalaureate degree level. There is the felt need to prepare technically and managerially competent leaders for the NGO world of today and the future. This preparation has to be comprehensive and systematic. The reality is that the success of the NGOs as critical development partners is and should be everybody’s business. Consequently, rather than add to the spate of quiet and sometime public criticism, UCC through the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension in the School of Agriculture, has recognized this need to provide requisite training for staff of NGOs in Ghana and beyond.
Primarily, the programme is to train high calibre development professionals who will provide sterling leadership for the efficient management of NGOs and sister-organizations. Essentially, the programme will be tailored to meet the technical and managerial expertise required by managers/staff of NGOs to effectively function in the ever-changing development arena. This will ensure that development practitioners do not lose sight of the fundamental philosophy and spirit of philanthropy and volunteerism in the cause of especially the poor, marginalized, women, and children.
Provide students with the opportunity to acquire relevant competencies to respond to current and emerging challenges in NGO management for development. Specifically, the programme will:
- broaden and deepen participants’ technical knowledge in disciplines related to development,
- improve participants’ human resource management skills,
- improve participants’ financial resource management skills, and
- improve participants’ chances for upward mobility through higher academic and professional certification