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NGOs in Ghana - MDGs

pyiu's picture

Part 2:
Part 3:

This past week my group presented about "NGOs in Ghana." On the topic of Millennium Develpment Goals, I said how Ghana was on track to accomplish their MDGs by 2015. With consideration to the time limit I was unable to go in depth on Ghana's specific progress on the MDGs so I will expound more on it here:

As you may recall the eight goals of the MDGs calls for developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to halve extreme povery and hunger, achieve universal education, promote gender equality, reduce child morality, improve maternal health, combate HIV/AIDS and malaria, ensure environmental sustanability, and develop global partnership by the year 2015. More specifically, on Ghana's progress for the MDGs, the country has already acheieved half of MDG #1. In other words, Ghana has halved the population of people below the national poverty line. In terms of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger, Ghana is on track to reach its target goal by 2015 with decling rates of -3.8% incidence of wasting, -15.5% of underweight, and .15% of children suffering from stunting. For MGD #2 of universal primary education, Ghana may also potentially reach its target goal with persistent increases in Gross Enrollment Rate across all levels of primary school since 1991. Also, see this video ( on an interview with the Mayor of Accra on Ghana's progress on the MDGs. He places a lot of emphasis on education and talks about some of the areas Ghana needs to improve on to improve educational access in Ghana. Simiarly for MDG #3, the Gender Parity Index (GPI) has increased in 2006-'07 and remained at 0.96 in '07-'08. At the junior high school level it decreased marginally to 0.92 in '07-'08. Thus it is still probable for Ghana to reach its target goal of GPI 1.0, eliminating gender disparity in primary and junior secondary school by 2015. For MDG #4 Ghana's under-five mortality rate has decreased to 80/1000 births in 2008, thus it is also probably that Ghana will be able to reduce its under-five mortality by two-thirds. Concerning MDG #5, however, Ghana has been slow in improvements of maternal health and mortality, and it is unlikely that it will reach its goal by 2015. Similarly for MDG's #6 and 7, to stop and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and halve the number of people without clean drinking water, respectively, Ghana has also had slow progress and is unlikely to reach its target MDGs by 2015. Data in 2010 shows an increase in HIV/AIDS and there are concerns of large regional differences as well as increasing signs of unprotected sex among youth. Concerning access to safe drinking water, rural water coverage has improved but safe water coverage in rural areas has declined, demonstrating the need for improvements in sanitation. Lastly for MDG #8, Ghana has made good efforts towards strengthening government and donor partnership to deal with the debts of the country and ensure its sustainability in the long run.  

As a result of all of Ghana's progress, the country has been praised as the model African nation for MDGs. However, in the attached youtube videos, one can see that critics bring up how Ghana's progress may be linked with its collaboration and even "obedience" in following the advice of western nations. This discussion is closely linked with what Mia was talking about concerning how the power lies with the western nations in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and structural adjustment programs (SAPs). Ghana has been praised for adopting the MDGs as its own socio-economic goals for the country. However, some see this as accomodating to the desires of the west, or "Big Brother" in order to receive the backing of dominating western powers, and accepting that these goals are western notions of what is best for a developing country. Moreover, critics discuss how western countries look down upon countries that have failed to commit to the MDGs and label these countries as 'rogue' or 'failed' countries, and thus use that mindset to justify a lack of aid to those nations. Thus this debate opened up my eyes to the underlying power struggles of the MDGs.

When I first began researching the MDGs I simply saw them as an extension to the Declaration of Human Rights, a way to make the acheivement of certain human right more concrete and less abstract. And to that extent I don't think my view has changed. Nonetheless, as I learned more about the IMF, World Bank, and SAPs, I began to see how these developing countries were still at the mercy of dominating, western powers. My thoughts on the matter are still developing in terms of which side of the debate I'm on.

Since I still view the MDGs as an extension of the Declaration of Human Rights, I don't think it was wrong for Ghana to accept it as the country's development goals. Furthermore, is it wrong of the U.S. to withhold financial aid to countries that the U.S. thinks capital would not be used effectively due to unstable (and possibly) corrupt governments? In my opinion, I don't think so, because similar to how I choose which NGOs to donate money to, I would like my money to be used wisely. Nonetheless, I know that western nations would also be more apt to help nations which they feel would become good diplomatic allies. In other words, I know aid isn't given unconditionally, but with certain expectations. Additionally, in terms of the specificity of the MDGs, critics do have a point that it can lead to an emphasis on certain things resulting in the overlooking of other problems. For example, MDG #6 seeks to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and malaria, but does not mention other diseases. However, generally, I feel that the specificity of the MDGs does more good than harm. For I think HIV/AIDS, malaria, and water-borne diseases (see MDG #7), are the most prevalent problems in developing countries (but maybe this perspective has been influenced by my western education, or western single story?). Thus I agree with the MDGs in selecting those issues to target. In conclusion, I wonder about how Ghanaians feel about the MDGs or simply Ghana's development in the past few years. Maybe I'll get a chance to talk to Ghanaians about this when we visit Ghana. 

To see our "NGOs in Ghana" prezi again, click here:

Press TV-Africa Today-Millennium Development Goals & Ghana-04-10-2010


Helen Chen's picture

Invitation to International Development Conference at UPenn

To Whom It May Concern:

On behalf of the Penn Society for International Development, I am pleased to invite you to join us as a speaker for the University of Pennsylvania’s fourth annual International Development Conference (IDC). This conference hosts leading experts, policy makers, and scholars from the development field. The IDC will be held on Friday November 21, 2014 at Jon M Huntsman Hall in the Wharton School.

The theme of this year’s conference is the Millennium Development Goals. As 2015 is fast approaching, the time is coming to assess the achievement of the goals set nearly a decade ago. The aim of the discussion is to examine the success of the individual targets, as well as the impact of the Millennium Development Goals in general. We would love to hear your unique input at this year’s conference about the effectiveness of MDGs and the role of western countries, and we value your perspective in making the IDC a comprehensive and thought-provoking discussion on the MDGs. There will be many students and professionals who are passionate about global affairs and are looking for ways to carry out their enthusiasm. Your insight would be extremely valuable to our audience.

Our conference’s mission is to facilitate open discussion of development challenges and build connections among participants that will lead to effective and comprehensive solutions. Attendees include undergraduates, graduates, and professionals from a variety of schools and fields. We will also be inviting students from schools in the Philadelphia region and across the east coast. In the past, we have had 200-300 attendees, with people coming from the undergraduate and graduate schools, as well as professionals working in international development.

This is an opportunity for you to share your knowledge with the next generation of professionals as well as network with established leaders in the development field. In addition, you will be reimbursed for your travel costs.

Thank you for taking the time to consider our invitation, and we truly hope you will be able to join us for this event. It would be an honor to hear you speak at our conference. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions. To learn more about last year’s conference, visit this link:

Helen Chen
Conference Committee Member
Penn Society for International Development
University of Pennsylvania