Most people in Africa are vulnerable to all the life shocks associated with poverty, and social protection systems are now deemed integral to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, especially in health, food security, education, shelter, social/gender equity and livelihood. State social protection systems are inadequate, and the poor and vulnerable are overwhelmingly dependent on non-state actors (NSAs) as their primary and, often, only source of support. NSAs—especially community groups, and also NGOs, faith-based organisations, work-based associations, etc.—have proliferated in response to state default, and are now, arguably, pivotal to the social protection capacity and performance of all developing countries. Yet there is little quantitative or qualitative data on this vital resource on which so many millions of people depend. NSAs have not even been comprehensively mapped, and research on their services and operational systems is scant. Less still has been scientifically studied of their characteristics and governance.
To help redress this situation, the University of Ghana’s Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy is working with an umbrella programme of the Partnership for African Social Governance Research (PASGR) to study the extent, role, operations, reach, prospects and problems of NSAs—especially in the most untended area of their governance structures.
This working paper presents the findings of an initial mixed-method study to map 348 NSAs in four communities in Central Region of Ghana and case study the characteristics and governance structures of eight work-based associations in both traditional and contemporary occupations in urban and rural contexts. This paper draws on the work of Brody (2009) to explore levels of inclusiveness and transparency as key indicators of likely performance potential, and provides pioneering data and recommendations to inform all stakeholders, including policy makers. Priorities for further research are also identified.
Darkwah, A.K. Understanding the Characteristics and Governance Structures of Non-State Social Protection Programmes in Ghana: A Case Study of Work-based Associations in Winneba and Cape Coast. PASGR Working Paper 004. Partnership for African Social and Governance Research, Nairobi, Kenya (2015) 28 pp.