CIKOD’s vision is that of a society, where the rural poor, the marginalised and rural women have a voice and contribute pro-actively to equitable and sustainable community development.
CIKOD’s Mission is to strengthen the capacities of communities through traditional authorities (TAs) and local institutions to utilize their local and appropriate external resources for their own development and for future generations.
Community participation has been accepted as a pre-condition for any meaningful community development programmes. To this end, various tools have been developed that aim at maximizing the participation of the poor in their development programmes. CIKOD believe that, in spite of these participatory approaches, poverty reduction is still problematic because of the failure to build community development interventions that respect and include local cultures and people’s worldviews. The core of CIKOD’s work is to promote a community development approach that empowers and builds on the existing indigenous institutions and resource base of communities including their natural, social and spiritual resources – termed as Endogenous Development. In this approach communities use the skills and knowledge already present in the community as a means to lever appropriate external resources for their development initiatives.
In Ghana, in spite of a modern political organizational system, the majority of the people, specifically in the rural areas, are still organized around their indigenous institutions for carrying out the activities that are important for their development and well being.
Civil society at the rural level is visible in the form of indigenous organizations such as Nnoboa groups, asafo groups, susu groups, clan networks and hometown associations through which poor rural families organize their social, economic and political lives. The resilience of rural people in spite of the serious deprivation at the rural level may be largely attributed to these institutions and forms of organization. Yet these opportunities for sustainable community mobilization for self development have been undermined and ignored over the years by development practitioners.
CIKOD is an active member of COMPAS which is an international network with headquarters in the Netherlands that seeks to encourage development practitioners to take indigenous knowledge seriously and support endogenous development in Africa, Asia and South America. COMPAS Africa is a network comprising NGOs using an Endogenous Development approach in their work in South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania and Ghana.
CIKOD APPROACH AND TECHNIQUES
The Community Organizational Development (COD) approach and techniques, developed by CIKOD and its associates, aims to enable development facilitators to work with people’s cultural resources – material, social and spiritual – in the context of their worldviews. The COD process supports communities to mobilize and utilize their cultural assets, use them more effectively and manage and direct their own affairs.
The COD approach comprises a systematic set of tools:
- Community Institutions and Resources Mapping (CIRM)
- Community Visioning and Action Planning (CVAP)
- Community Organizational Self Assessment (COSA)
- Community Institutional Strengthening (CIS)
- Learning, Sharing and Assessment (LeSA)
- Using festival and traditional forums for community dialogue with power bearers
The difference between these tools and their conventional counterparts is the fact that they are premised on working with and through the traditional authorities and indigenous institutions and their organizational practices and resources. This enhances ownership and inclusion of the whole community in the development process.
CIKOD carries out its work through:
- Training in methodologies and skills for community organizational development for local development agents.
- Direct engagement with traditional authorities, indigenous institutions and local groups to strengthen their organizational capacities.
- Small Grants Fund management in partnership with local and international funding organizations to support community based advocacy.
OUR INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY
CIKOD have a small but dedicated team of 9 permanent staff at the national office in Accra, 2 facilitators in Northern Ghana, 1 intern (service personnel), 1 facilitator in the Brong Ahafo Region and an Advisory Board of 7 eminent persons. CIKOD also take on international Volunteers and interns from Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and COADY International Institute, St Francis Xavier University, Canada.