Non-Formal Education and District Assembly Women’s Participation in Local Governance in Northern Sector of Ghana

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University of Ghana


Since the United Nations Declaration of the Decade for Women in 1975 following the global outcry of poor and low participation of women in decision making and in politics in the 1980s, the Government of Ghana with its institutions and international donor agencies and organisations started increasing their focus on empowering women by providing Non-Formal Education (NFE) programmes. This was to raise the women’s consciousness and to build their capacities and skills. The value assumption was that, if women understood their conditions, knew their rights and learnt new skills, they would be empowered to actively participate in decision making and public governance in Ghana. It was against this background that the study was designed to find out the extent to which these NFE programmes have contributed to the participation of the 2010 cohort of Assembly women in local governance in Northern sector of Ghana. To achieve this, the study employed the cross-sectional survey design and with the aid of questionnaire the primary data was gathered from all the 276 assembly women respondents of the Upper East, Upper West and BrongAhafo regions) selected out of the four regions of the Northern sector of Ghana using the simple random sampling technique. The reliability of the data collection instrument using Cronbach Alpha Coefficient was 0.79. With the aid of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), the data was analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The major findings of the study were that, the NFE programmes irrespective of the form by which the women acquired the skills and knowledge was positively and significantly related and associated with the women’s participation in local governance as Assembly members. The influence of the abilities they acquired from the NFE programmes on the their participation was also significantly enhanced by the women’s self-interest to participate in the Assembly, Social recognition of the humanitarian, meritorious and professional services of the women and their families and their social, economic and political standing in the respective communities as well as the women’s geo-social setting’s positive perception of their social image - being married, elderly and or well educated formally. The study outcome also showed a significant positive relationship between the influence of the NFE programmes and the women’s abilities to campaign effectively and mobilise funds for their assembly elections activities. This notwithstanding, the influence of the abilities acquired from the NFE programmes by the women on their participation in the Assembly’s business was hampered by negative influence of partisan politics, male dominance in the assembly, poor and irregular attendance and lack of individual competences in English and in some technical issues of the Assembly. The recommendations offered for adult education institutions and the Assemblies include the need to organise programmes alongside the women empowerment ones to conscientise the custodians of the oppressing socio-cultural and religious beliefs and practices to enhance the influence of NFE interventions on women’s participation in local level governance as well as the Assemblies instituting NFE departments tasked to regularly educate, train and update the women on the changing dynamics and technical issues of the Assembly business to enhance their competences and active participation.




Non-Formal Education, District Assembly, Local Governance, Northern Sector