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International Journal of Political Science and Development Vol. 1(1), pp. 831, August, 2013. ISSN: 2360-784X ©2013 Academic Research Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Testing conflict sensitivity of development projects in Ghana an evaluation of two projects in Ejisu-juaben district, Ashanti Region


Sheka Bangura


Development Assistance Coordination Office, 13 Bath Street, Brook Fields Freetown, Sierra Leone.

E-mail. shekabangs@yahoo.co.uk


Accepted 20 August, 2013



There has been serious concern about the nexus between development assistance and conflicts in the recipient nations. Thus, donors have been rethinking their assistance packages to ensure a conflict sensitive response to the development needs of poor countries. This paper examined the level of conflict sensitivity of two development projects in Ejisu-Juaben District in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. A framework of indicators was developed to analyze the survey data. One project (a borehole construction) was found to be moderately sensitive to conflict while the other (a livestock development project) was found to be highly sensitive. The former suspended operations due to land conflict, a situation mainly attributable to a discovered policy weakness surrounding the operations of the District Water and Sanitation Projects. The continuity of the livestock development project suggested a remarkable integration of conflict management concepts into its operations.

Key words: Conflict sensitivity, development project, community, district.




There is growing concern and rethinking in the global development industry in respect of conflict-related risks surrounding development interventions. While conflicts have prevented development progress in certain regions, experience has shown that development activities themselves have contributed to the ignition and escalation of a number of conflicts in other work places (Shore, 1998; Saferworld et al., 2000; Engel, 2001; Leonhardt, 2001a; 2001b; DFID, 2002; Barbolet et al., 2003). Strong advocacy is underway to ensure that development concepts are planned around conflict sensitivity to enhance development results and ensure peaceful co-existence among communities. Donors are developing conflict responsive frameworks to guide development assistance towards project regions underpinned by high risks of conflicts.

Traditionally, most institutions respond to conflicts when they result into violence. This has made contemporary conflict interventions highly costly. Enough attention has not been given to the root factors and symptoms that precede violent situations thereby making eventual crisis interventions extremely expensive. Incorporating conflict management principles at the outset of project programming is consistent with good practice suggesting preventive instead of curative measures against violent crises, noting that conflict is always and everywhere a natural phenomenon. Violence is only a way of expressing conflicts in the absence of their timely and peaceful resolution (Nobleza and Nyheim, 2000).

The purpose of this paper is to examine how sensitive to conflicts on local development projects in Ejisu-Juaben District in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. There is need to establish the correlation between development activities and conflicts in project communities. Sustainable development as a subject of current international debate can be perceived from various perspectives. This paper is focused inter alia on generating “conflict lens” for development actors to promote local development sustainability. Local development sustainability is defined in this context as a situation where the conflict risks associated with development projects in their area of operations are extremely minimized and consistent with the successful implementation of the project activities without disruption. The paper explores a range of conflict sensitive planning methods to guide development workers in conflict prone environments. Project failures are commonly primarily attributed to lack of funds, mismanagement and poor technical capacity among others. While these are crucial factors to consider, there is growing awareness that conflict risks surrounding project activities have been equally a fertile source of project failures. This is a reality that this paper has established.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows:

(i) A conceptual framework; defining what conflict is, depicting the consequences of project design without a conflict management component, highlighting various methods of building conflict sensitivity into project planning. (ii) An overview of communal conflicts in Ghana and the country’s development policy response to conflict issues. (iii) Research methodology and approach. (iv) Survey data. (v) Conclusion.



Definition of Conflict

Conflict can be defined as “a relationship between two or more interdependent parities in which at least one of the parties perceives the relationship to be negative or detects and pursues opposing interests and needs. Both parties are convinced that they are in the right.” (Leonhardt, 2001.) Warner (2001) says “conflict is a very fluid, mobile and ambiguous word that in different context can mean different things to different people; it can be a debate or test; a disagreement, argument, dispute, quarrel; a struggle, battle or confrontation; or a state of unrest, turmoil or chaos”. This paper deduces the concept of conflict as a situation of mounting tension, difference or disagreement between parties over resources, power, position, interest, opinion, religion, ethnic issues, etc. in a social setting. These are events that (overtly or covertly) are always found in local communities where projects are actually operationalised. A number of such conflicts are hidden in project settlements and are a potential for project disruption.

Projects ‘with’ and ‘without’ conflict management (CM) component

Figure 1. presents two-effect scenarios for a project operating in conflict prone environment. These are outcome scenarios resulting from ‘with’ and ‘without’ conflict management component in the project design. The direction of the dotted arrows indicates undesirable project effects if CM component is not built into the project; the converse holds for a project with CM component, which is expected to enjoy smooth operations. A project with CM component is deemed to be maximizing the likelihood of achieving desired project objectives by running low risks of disruption; the one without a CM component would be maximizing the likelihood of running high risks of disruption.

Building Conflict Sensitivity into Project Planning

The contemporary literature contains various conceptual methods and procedures for integrating conflicts issues into project planning and management. These methods can be utilised at national and local level development programming. They are intended for application in both violent and nonviolent conflict situations.

Conflict analysis: To understand conflict complexities surrounding their areas, all development actors are advised to adopt conflict analysis. This should cover the potential, economic and social manifestations and effects of a national conflict in the project region, conflicts from a neighbouring region, or conflicts emerging in the project region itself (OECD-DAC, 2001; Leonhardt, 2001). According to Barbolet et al (2003), this should involve a systematic study of the profile, causes, actors, and dynamics of conflict, Warner (2001) describing it as the mapping of actual or potential conflict based on information already available or which can be readily gathered. Performing such analysis is viewed as taking a close-up of the conflict in which the local causes, coping strategies, and individual conflict actors can be examined in detail. This helps to gain understanding of the problem areas in which external organizations can make a meaningful contribution in reducing the potential for conflict and advancing the peace-building process. Conflict analysis thus involves the following steps: conflict profiling and mapping; actor or stakeholder analysis; structural cause analysis; prioritization of conflicts and causes; trends and opportunities.

Project planning in conflict situation: It is advised that the formulation of project strategy should come after a thorough conflict analysis. And to start actual strategy development and planning of the project in conflict environment, there is need to first carry out a capacity analysis entailing a critical look at the capacity of the project’s own organization with regards to its mandate, its position in the conflict context and its material and human resources in relation to the strategy being considered. This guides the organization towards the execution of those tasks for which it is best suited and the maximization of complementarity with other organizations’ work (Leonhardt, 2001a). Doing an objective after capacity analysis is seen to be necessary as a next step, to critically specify what the project wants to achieve noting its strength and weakness. Then, the project strategy can effectively be developed, highlighting the individual areas of responsibility for the project and partners, laying down the initial steps. Project entry point can be defined here with regard to addressing conflicts alongside its works, using project usual planning methods. Subsequently, there is need to develop conflict indicators to monitor whether the conflict-related purpose of the project is achieved, and it should not be mistaken for the primary project purpose indicators (Gaigals and Leonhardt, 2001).

Conflict impact assessment: Conflict impact assessment (CIA) looks at the way a project is organized and the impact the project has in relation to conflict emergence and associated risks. CIA is a tool recommended for use by all development projects implemented in regions with an average to high risk of conflict, to be part of the regular programme monitoring as early as possible (Shore 1998; Leonhardt, 2001b). The derived conflict impact statements can be a useful meter to measure the sensitivity of project activity to potential or ongoing conflict in the project region. CIA involves conflict analysis (already discussed above), risk appraisal, impact assessment itself, and adaptation. Risk appraisal entails examining the concept, organization and activities of the project for potential negative influences on existing conflicts (Anderson, 2000; Leonhardt, 2001a/b; DFID, 2002; Barbolet et al., 2003). It is widely accepted that it is difficult for a development actor to remain neutral in a conflict. The structure of development projects, defined by variables such as the type of staff they employ and their partners, could raise serious suspicion about the project siding one party or the other in conflict. Where there is yet to be serious conflict, the project structure may be such that certain social class in the project settlements is favoured more than the others. It is thus advised that the project team take a bird’s eye-view in their everyday project work at regular intervals and critically examine self-evident things with regard to conflict implications, noting that many decisions and practices which appear rational and justified from the development policy standpoint in their immediate context can be problematic in practical terms (Leonhardt, 2001a/b).

During the project implementation stage, impact assessment identifies actual consequences of the activities on conflicts. The impacts are to be monitored regularly in order to pre-empt negative trends and to identify particular opportunities to take positive action. Adaptation involves the examination of risk appraisal and impact assessment statements to judge the need for any possible action following the end of each monitoring phase of the project. This stage looks for feedbacks from project actions and ascertains whether there is need for re-planning or ending the project owing to conflict matters in the project region. The project could be terminated if its continuity is anticipated to lead to long-term instability in its work region. It is argued that, risks should not be taken for short-term benefit derived from the project when long-run negative impact on social relations in the project settlements is imminent. (Barbolet et al., 2003; Leonhardt , 2001a/b.)

Coordination of development activities: Implications for conflict are said to be serious where there is lack of coordination of development assistance. Gaigals and Leonhardt (2001) argued that “one reason for the failure of development assistance to maximize the possibilities for peace building has been the lack of co-ordination between donors,” and that “poorly coordinated and incoherent policies have, on occasions, resulted in donor engagement undermining efforts specifically targeted to address the underlying causes of conflict.” Besides wasting scarce resources through duplication, lack of coordination of development can lead to oversubscribing of assistance in one locality. Consequently, inequality between regions and settlements would be increased and this could have conflict implication; thus, the need for coordination among actors.







Relative to its neighbours in the West African sub-region in recent times, Ghana has been reported to be going through a period of political stability. However, a critical examination of the country’s communal dynamics leaves many to see the ‘relative stability’ as a paradox. That is, the country has been nonetheless characterized by various longstanding communal conflicts. Many of these conflicts are said to be traces of “colonial policies of indirect rule and the practice of elevating favoured chiefs without sensitivity to the multi-ethnic character of various colonial territories.” (Tsikata and Seini, 2004). Tsikata and Seini broadly classify conflicts in Ghana into (i) inter-ethnic conflicts over land and political power, (ii) intra-ethnic disputes over succession to traditional political office or boundary disputes, and (iii) religious disputes between factions of Islam, Muslims and Christians, and Christians and adherents of traditional religions. Various types of conflicts are reported in a number of regions including Ashanti where the study district is located. Exclusively discussed in the paper by Tsikatah and Seini are the Konkomba conflicts in the North, Dagbon chieftaincy disputes in the North, Nkonya-Alavanyo disputes in the Volta Region, and the Ga State and the Christian Churches conflict in the Greater Accra Region, placing Chieftaincy disputes at the centre of all communal conflicts.

The message from above is that, it is extremely pertinent that all development projects in the Ghanaian communities be conflict sensitive to ensure that communal disputes are not accommodated while exploring avenues by which development projects could make a positive difference in the conflicts as they pursue their intended objectives.

It is all the more crucial to capture conflict management concepts in national development policy frameworks. The vast majority of conflicts all over the world are propelled by struggles to meet economic ends. Acute economic crisis and poverty have engendered serious instabilities and conflicts in poor nations. The imbalanced spatial development in poverty stricken nations has aggravated these conflicts among identities to see through various interests. Therefore, all poverty reduction frameworks should include mechanism to ensure peaceful co-existence by the implementation of equitable growth and development strategies. The Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) had not expressed a considerable degree of conflict sensitivity as a crucial development issue in the country. The Strategy had some reflection of conflict management principles, though, as it emphasized participatory approaches to development planning processes, transparency and accountability, and ensuring access by the general public to information regarding government and private sector activities. However, given the number of communal disputes reported on Ghana, and to be in tune with current donor concern, it would be crucial if conflict sensitivity could clearly be integrated at both policy and operational levels in the country.


The paper presents a case study research, deeply examining conflict sensitivity of two local projects in the Ejisu-Juaben District of Ghana (2001). The variables for the analysis were largely qualitative, including people’s perceptions, views, opinions, experiences, motivations, interests, actions and reactions, participation, attitudes etc. Efforts were made to derive quantitative statistics for some of the responses. The analysis was largely indicator based.

Survey Structure

Selection of study district: Firstly, all Ghanaian Districts were equally representative case studies for this research once development activities took place in all of them. This conviction is based on the assumption that conflicts exist everywhere and at all times, and that every conflict no matter how minor has a potential to become violent and disrupt development activities. Secondly, the study focused on efforts to prevent conflicts, a scenario where violent conflict may not necessarily have occurred. Thus, any district/region in a poor nation could be taken for a peace and development study in this context.


Therefore, the author looked for a district close to his residence in Ghana to reduce cost of the research. Ejisu-Juaben District was selected among four initially considered districts, including Kumasi Metropolis, after further screening and consultations with local authorities and other researchers.

Selection of case-study projects: The author held rounds of discussions with Ejisu-Juaben district officials with a view to identifying case-study projects. Conflict issues in the district were broadly discussed at this stage. Subsequently, two projects were purposively selected for the analysis. One of the chosen projects (a borehole project) had suspended operations due to land dispute in its location. The second selected project for the study was a livestock development project with undisturbed implementation of activities. See background information to these projects in the analysis Section.

Research Instruments: Various methods were employed to collect the data including participatory approaches. (See Table 1) Owing to the sensitive nature of the research, with special reference to the borehole project which was witnessing serious community dispute over land, district officials and community members participated in the collection of the data. Table 1 summarises the survey structure.

Analytical framework

With the help of the reviewed literature, several analytical indicators were derived to test project response to conflicts. Broad analytical dimensions were first derived, followed by the derivation of sub-indicators.

Definition of local projects’ sensitivity to conflicts: The paper defines local projects’ sensitivity to conflicts as the extent to which development projects make effort to integrate conflict management principles into their activities to prevent communal tensions/clashes due to project intervention or prevent existing conflicts from intensifying so as to ensure general community stability and sustainability of the project activities. In other words, it looks at the degree of responsiveness of the projects to community conflicts in an effort to identify entry points from where the project can contribute towards resolving the conflict in order to ensure continuity of project work.

Construction and measurement of indicators for sensitivity analysis: Eight analytical dimensions were derived and applied to investigate the extent to which case projects integrated conflict management methods into their cycles. Four of these dimensions were examined descriptively due to difficulty of developing clear sub-indicators to measure them. The remaining four were examined quantitatively since sub-indicators were clearly developed, using scale points to gauge project sensitivity. Table 2. summarizes the information on the eight dimensions employed for the analysis.

Quantitative dimensions and sub-indicators: Borrowing from the logic of Likert Scale, the paper adopted three scale levels and scores to evaluate the degree of project sensitivity to conflict against the four quantitative analytical dimensions (4, 5, 7 and 8 Table 2). The projects’ performance scores are 1, 2 and 3, where 1 is awarded for insignificant project sensitivity to conflicts, 2 is awarded for moderate sensitivity, and 3 for high sensitivity. Appendices 1, 2, 3 and 4 show these four dimensions and their sub-indicators, spelling out the basis for the projects being awarded a particular score. For example, 12 indicators were developed under risk appraisal dimension. The first indicator is to investigate the issue of the language commonly spoken among project staff, which has been viewed in the literature as having conflict implication. It is argued that the more local project staff you have speaking the same mother tongue the more the tendency that the staff will accord undue project support to a local people of the same ethnic identity. Thus, in this paper, if less than 15% of the project staff had the same mother tongue, the indicator would reveal high sensitivity to conflict from the said project and would be awarded a score of 3; if it had such staff between 15-30% of the total number, the project would be recorded for moderate sensitivity with a score of 2; if such staff were more than 30% of the total, insignificant sensitivity would be recorded with a score of 1 (see Appendix 1). This analytical logic applies for the rest of the indicators under risk appraisal, as well as those found under the remaining quantitative dimensions----conflict monitoring and early warning system; coordination with other projects/institutions, and community participation (see Appendix 2, 3 and 4).

For each of the four quantitative dimensions, a total score for the given sensitivity or scale level (insignificance, moderate or high) was first obtained, followed by an average grand score which was used to judge the level of sensitivity of the projects to conflict. Three ranges of values were developed for each dimension, with the objective of determining the one the grand score (GS) would fall into. The ranges were determined depending on the number of sub-indicators used for the project evaluation. The number lines in Figures 2, 3, 4 depict these ranges and are referred to as the sensitivity lines or rulers to measure the degree of projects’ sensitivity to conflict.

To demonstrate how evaluation decision was reached as to whether a project was sensitive to conflict or not, consider the sensitivity line for risk appraisal dimension (with 12 sub-indicators) in the following Figure.

If all 12 indicators were applied, the average project’s responsiveness to conflict for the relevant dimension would be recorded insignificant if its grand score (GS) took any value from 1 to 12; the sensitivity would be moderate if the GS took value from 13 to 24; and high if the GS took any value from 25 upwards, noting that the scale score for insignificant project response against a sub-indicator is 1, moderate response is 2, and 3 for high response. The decision logic is based on the reasoning that if there were 12 sub-indicators under a dimension, the maximum total score for moderate response is 24 if no score was recorded for insignificance and high response, leaving moderate response with an average GS score of 24. So that, where scores were distributed across the scale, a GS of more than 24 that is 25 upwards---automatically records high sensitivity on the average. A GS taking any value from 1 to 12 denotes insignificant response, so that from 13 to 24 signifies moderate response. This argument was used in the evaluation decision under the three other quantitative dimensions whose sensitivity lines are shown in Figure 3.

Descriptive/narrative dimensions: The projects were evaluated descriptively under the remaining four analytical dimensions due to difficulty in getting feasible sub-indicators. This made the evaluation here less objective. The descriptive dimensions are community conflict profiling, stakeholder analysis, conflict cause analysis, and adaptation (dimension 1, 2, 3 and 6 in Table 2). A score (1, 2 or 3) was awarded each project given its level of reflection on each of these dimensions in an effort to become conflict sensitive.





Determining final sensitivity score: Having evaluated the projects on each of the eight dimensions, the various scores of each project were pooled for final evaluation (see the final evaluation scheme in Appendix 5). The logic in reaching the final decision as to whether a project was sensitive to conflict on the whole remained the same as the framework set for the quantitative analytical approach discussed above, where the combined dimensions appeared as broad indicators. In this case, the number line developed for the final evaluation is referred to as the grand sensitivity line is shown in Figure 4.

A major assumption underlying this framework is that, all indicators have the same weights. They were taken to be equally important conflict issues against which project sensitivity can be evaluated. All indicators reinforce one and the other in terms of projects’ response to conflict. However, this assumption could depend on the situation under review. Other researchers on the same topic in different location may suggest attaching different weights to such indicators.

Weaknesses of the analytical model

The paper is not oblivious of the eminent subjectivity of the analysis, but this was beyond the researcher’s control given the nature of the research; most of the variables encountered were mainly qualitative. There were problems of summation as shown by trying to bring together different sensitivity level values, resulting to pulling up and down of the grand score. If frequency statistics were used, a project can be awarded a score for insignificant sensitivity but by adding scores across would pull up its grand score to a higher sensitivity level thereby creating a tendency to blur decision. However, this is just the natural problem of using averages in reaching decision---it is always affected by extreme values. On the whole, the logic behind the construct was very strong to enable decisive decision.

Suitability of indicators

The study projects were not of the same nature in terms of coverage, staff requirement, finance, institutional set-up, etc. In totality, the borehole project was very small and was community specific relative to the livestock development project (LDP), which covered the entire district. Though all the eight analytical dimensions were applicable in analyzing both projects, the sub-indicators for some dimensions were not all applicable to the two projects. For instance, not all sub-indicators developed under the risk appraisal dimension were suitable for application in the case of the borehole project-----e.g 1, 2, 5 and 6 in Appendix F1 were not necessary in the case of the borehole analysis. This contrast was due to the fact that conflict related issues like language spoken by project staff, spatial assignment of extension staff across Area Councils and spatial distribution of beneficiaries were not necessary for application to the borehole since the project was community specific and all inhabitants in the project settlement (Hwereso town) were beneficiaries unlike the LDP which entailed targeting of beneficiaries; and the borehole project implementing staff were just the four members of the District Water and Sanitation Team, the District Coordinating Director and one assistant, while the LDP staff were more than twenty.


This section analyzes the data obtained from the field.

The analysis started with the borehole project’s sensitivity to conflict estimated against each of the eight analytical dimensions, followed by the livestock development project against the same dimensions.

Sensitivity analysis of the borehole project

The project was supported by the World Bank and managed by the Water and Sanitation Team of Ejisu-Juaben District. It entailed the construction of two boreholes within the township of Hwereso. The first borehole was successfully constructed and now in use. However, the siting process of the second borehole met stiff resistance from an individual claiming to be the owner of the plot of land where the hydro geologist sited the water point. The alleged owner of the plot uprooted the peg the hydro geologist placed on the land indicating the water point. Upon receiving the information about this development, the Odikro (that is the town chief of Hwereso) took the matter to court against the said landowner on behalf of the community. According to the Odikro, during an interview with him, the community took the said landowner to court for causing damage to public property. But 80% of the town residents interviewed said the claimant owned the disputed land against 20% who said he did not own the land. Unfortunately, the said landowner denied the author audience when approached for his own version of the dispute. This conflict, starting in October 2004, considerably delayed the continuity of the project.

In the following subsections, the survey data were analyzed to evaluate the degree of responsiveness of the project management to community conflicts in general, and the land dispute in particular. As discussed in the analytical framework, eight dimensions with their indicators were applied in testing the level of sensitivity of the project.

Community conflict profiling

All borehole project staff (the District Water and Sanitation Team) indicated that they were not aware of any community dispute at the project location (Hwereso Town) before the project was implemented. But the community members (the intended beneficiaries including the Odikro and the Unit Committee) indicated that, the land conflict that led to the suspension of the borehole construction had been there before the project was started. This infers that the project management never made effort to initially engage the community authorities to understand past or present conflict situation there, knowledge of which would have brought about informed project activity to ensure unhindered progress. Therefore, it was evaluated under this dimension that the project’s sensitivity to conflicts was insignificant and thus awarded a score of 1.

Stakeholder analysis

During a discussion held with a cross-section of the project officials regarding the position of the project team and the District Assembly in the said land dispute, the officials indicated that their development interventions will not interfere into community conflicts. This statement was in conformity with the guidelines for the pre-selection of communities for water & sanitation (WATSAN) assistance contained in the WATSAN district operational manual. In these guidelines, it was highlighted under community conflicts and disputes that ‘……. it will be impossible to implement projects in communities involved in disputes over chieftaincy, land, or ethnic issues’, it continued further that ‘ …..if you are aware of any such dispute, then set the community aside until such time as it is resolved’ (District Operational Manual 2000, 24). This depicts total irresponsiveness of water projects managed by the District Assembly to community disputes that stand on their way. Meanwhile, the key stakeholders to the land dispute (the ‘landowner’ and the Odikro) were said to have individually reported the matter to the District Assembly. While the WATSAN team were saying the project site should be relocated once the court could not reach a ruling, the community was against it since they would bear the relocation cost, the landowner expressing fear that he would be badly affected if the borehole was sunk in his land. The Town authorities cast serious blame on the District Assembly for the continuity of the stalemate since they, as the project managers, refused to bring together the key conflict stakeholders to find a mutually benefiting solution for the continuity of the project. The project was again awarded a score of 1 for insignificant sensitivity to conflicts.

Cause Analysis

The project staff discerned some causes of the borehole conflict when it was reported to them. One cause enumerated was that lands within and around the township of Hwereso had become attractive and pretty much expensive due to the ongoing national inland port project at Boankra community, a neighbouring community to Hwereso both of which were located along the Kumasi-Accra road. The demand for lands around the inland port project site was increasing including Hwereso community lands. Consequently, according to the WATSAN team, the Odikro of Hwereso town, as the custodian of the community lands, had decided to hold back some portion of the land acquired by the other party to the conflict due to the Boankra-project-induced value added to lands. Though the borehole project management did not seem to incorporate knowledge of this into its activity in Hwereso, it may have informed them towards developing better strategies for future public works in communities. In this dimension, the project responsiveness was thus evaluated to be moderate and therefore awarded a score of 2 for the effort made in trying to investigate the cause of the conflict.

Risk Appraisal

Table 3 presents conflict sensitivity results under risk appraisal dimension with sensitivity indicators ranging from: proportion of youth representation on the community WATSAN management committee, proportion of women representation on the committee, to the selection process of committee members, and committee members knowledge of conflict resolution. The results indicated that the youth were not represented on WATSAN committee. The participation of youth in community development activities is crucial for the sustainability of projects, whom otherwise are a potential force to undermine the continuity of projects. It was revealed that all committee members were 40 years and above. Based on this ground, the project’s response to conflict was evaluated as insignificant with a score of 1 (indicator 1 Table 3). Regarding gender, the survey indicated that 29% of the WATSAN committee members were women. This percentage was far below the female representation threshold of 50% and above set in the district WATSAN operational manual. From various viewpoints, women are most crucial in household management to which water is a great need. Thus, deemed to feel the impact of acute shortage of water resource most, women should be highly represented on community water management committees. In poor countries, a lot (if not most) of the community water related conflicts and fights involve women as they are, for many traditions, the main fetchers of water for household consumption. With 29% representation on Hwereso’s WATSAN committee, the project’s response to local conflict was evaluated as moderate with a score of 2. The same logic holds in the case of representation of the illiterate on the committee. If all decision makers in the local communities of poor nations must read and write, then the voice of a large social group would have been marginalized, thereby risking potential conflicts. The survey indicated that only 29% of the WATSAN committee members were illiterate. Therefore, under this indicator (3 in Table 3), the project’s sensitivity to conflict is scored 2 for moderate response. On the promotion of transparency in WATSAN management, 70% of the beneficiary respondents indicated that committee members did inform them about issues related to water and sanitation but enough provision was not made for their contribution in decision-making. Lack of transparency in any leadership can invite suspicion and mistrust from those being decided for, making participation of the ordinary members difficult to sustain and possibly leading to undermining development initiatives. The project’s sensitivity was evaluated to be moderate here with a score of 2. With regards to the selection of WATSAN committee members, the survey revealed that the whole community did the selection; the project management only guided them. This may have reduced the risk of having the wrong individuals on the committee. This finding was in line with the guidelines on community promotion contained in the district operational manual, emphasizing the formation of community WATSAN committees by the people (District Operational Manual 2000 pp. 20). Thus the project’s sensitivity to conflict is considered here as high with a score of 3. As to whether the community was animated on the national water and sanitation programme (indicator 6 Table 3) out of which the borehole project derived, 70% of the respondents indicated that the animation was carried out by a non-governmental organization. This was an important conflict-risk reducing activity, informing the community about the programme’s objective, what was required of them, and so on. Therefore, the project sensitivity was thought to be high and awarded a score of 3. As to whether WATSAN committee was trained outright in conflict resolution and management (indicator 7 in Table 11), 100% of the respondents reported that no such training took place. Thus the project sensitivity was seen to be insignificant here and awarded a score of 1.

From the evaluation results in Table 3, the total score for insignificant project sensitivity was 2, the score for moderate sensitivity was 4 and the score for high sensitivity was 9. The grand score (GS) was 15, that is, the sum of the respective total scores, 2+4+9 = 15. The decision was that, since the number of sub-indicators in this evaluation form was 7, the overall sensitivity of the borehole project under the risk appraisal dimension was insignificant if the GS took any value from 1 to 7; it was moderate if the GS took any value from 8 to 14; and it was high if the GS took a value from 15 to 21. Since the GS of 15 was within the upper range 15<GS<21, it was concluded here that the project sensitivity to local conflict was high.

Conflict monitoring and early warning system

It is strongly advised that projects in conflict prone regions incorporate conflict monitoring into the traditional project monitoring process to ensure sustainability of project objectives and goals. In that direction, Table 4. presents assessment of the borehole project’s sensitivity to local conflicts looking at effort to incorporate conflict monitoring and early warning system into its monitoring framework. First, it was examined as to whether the project developed conflict indicators, but there was no response to the affirmative. Example of conflict indicators that could be developed and observed for such community projects are: rate of participation of beneficiaries in meetings and workshops; arguments or quarrels that erupt during meetings; reported disagreements in meetings; and reported complaints of women and youths in project settlements. From the survey, there was no development of such indicators. Thus, the project was evaluated for insignificant response under this indicator (1 in Table 4) with a score of 1. Consequently, the project would not be expected to monitor and predict any conflict factors as the survey discovered to the affirmative. Thus, the project was again scored 1 for insignificant response under the indicators 2 and 3 in Table 4. From this Table, total score for insignificant project sensitivity is 3, no score recorded for both moderate and high sensitivity. The GS is 3, automatically leading to the conclusion under this dimension that the project’s sensitivity to local conflict was insignificant.


It is clear from the foregoing analysis that, the district WATSAN projects had already been fore-guided in the district operational manual with a predetermined approach should they encountered any community conflict. That is, where a conflict was encountered, they would rightaway set the project aside until it was resolved as such projects were not meant to interfere in it. This implies that, even if the project was able to resolve the conflict through, for instance, re-planning its activities or mediating so as to continue its implementation, this would not be done. This is a serious policy weakness and could lead to depriving the populace of important basic service score of 1 for insignificant response.


The project sensitivity was judged here in respect of its level of cooperation with other projects or development organizations operating in Hwereso community, as well as cooperation with traditional authorities (TAs). A big advantage could be derived from cooperation in terms of soliciting one and the other’s technical expertise and other capacities in resolving community conflicts within the network area of coverage. Table 5 shows the evaluation results for the project’s conflict response under the coordination dimension. As to whether the borehole project was in network with other project organizations, 100% of the respondents answered to the affirmative. For instance, the project was reported to have collaborated with Olof Palme Peace Foundation NGO based in Kumasi in carrying out community animation and project supervision. Thus, the borehole project was evaluated for high conflict sensitivity with a score of 3 (indicator 1 Table 5).

The next indicator evaluated the project on was contract award procedures. The objective was to know whether the borehole project followed contract award procedures similar to those followed by the same type of projects within the Town and or neighbouring settlements. Contractors for the procurement of goods and services may well understand the terms of the contract for one another. Therefore, any striking difference in contract details or arrangement for one project from the other may leave one contractor feeling disadvantaged and may deliberately perform work below standard. This could be a source of conflict. However, 80% of the respondents indicated that the borehole project ensured the same contract award procedures as in other projects. Competitive bidding was reportedly employed by most projects including the one under review. This project was thus awarded a score of 3 for high sensitivity. Following the same logic, different beneficiary (community) contribution methods across projects have been reported to be a fertile source of lackluster community participation in certain projects thereby undermining their continuity. Initial discussions held with District Officials revealed that projects used to encounter obstacles due to unharmonized approaches in the district. However, 100% of the respondents affirmed that the borehole project followed the same community contribution methods as other projects operated in the study community. Thus the project was evaluated for high sensitivity to conflict under this component with a score of 3. The project was also awarded a score of 3 for following the same staff remuneration structure as in similar projects. The project’s cooperation with the traditional authorities in the township was however reported to be moderate and thus awarded a score of 2 for conflict sensitivity.

From Table 5, there was no score for insignificant project sensitivity, the total score for moderate sensitivity was 2 and the score for high sensitivity was 12. The grand score (GS) was 14 and indicates that the project sensitivity was high since it lied in the range 11<GS<15 given that the number of indicators was 5.

Community Participation

Community sense of ownership of projects can be increased and any potential resistance minimized if the community members were involved in the projects right at the beginning of the project cycle. Table 6. presents assessment of the borehole project under this dimension, looking through its cycle. With the exception of budgeting and contract award indicators, 100% of the respondents indicated that the community was highly involved in the rest of the project stages----identification, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and operation and maintenance. For instance, in accordance with the guidelines enshrined in the District WATSAN Operational Manual, the communities were responsible to assess their needs and come up with priorities; the project under review was conceived in conformity with these guidelines. Thus for each of these indicators (1, 2, 5, 6 and 7 Table 6), the project’s sensitivity was rated high with a score of 3. The community’s involvement in budgeting and contract award was said to be very limited, thus the project was awarded a score 1 for each of these two indicators (3 & 4 Table 6).

From Table 6, the total score for insignificant project sensitivity was 2; no score for moderate sensitivity; the score for high sensitivity was 15. The grand score (GS) was 17. The GS indicates that the project sensitivity was high since it lied in the range 15<GS<21 given that the number of indicators was 7.

Final evaluation of the borehole project

Table 7 presents the final evaluation results for the borehole project. The table pooled the project’s performance scores across all dimensions, ranging from conflict profiling, stakeholder analysis to community participation. It should be recalled that insignificant sensitivity had a value of 1, moderate sensitivity had a value of 2 and high sensitivity a value of 3.
From Table 7, the ultimate total score for insignificant project sensitivity was 4, the score for moderate sensitivity was 2 and the score for high sensitivity was 9, leaving a final grand score (GS) of 15. The decision was based on the same ground that, given the number of the broad dimensions to be 8, the overall sensitivity of the project was insignificant if GS took value from 1 to 8; it was moderate if GS took a value from 9 to 16; and it was high if GS took a value from 17 to 24. Therefore since the final GS (15) lied between 9 and 16, it was concluded in summary that the borehole project sensitivity to local conflict was moderate. This could be highly attributable to the policy weakness discerned in the research with regard to the absence of policy guideline to support full incorporation of community conflict management principles into the district WATSAN project activities. Therefore, the continued suspension of the borehole project should not be a surprise.

Sensitivity analysis of the livestock development project

The livestock development project (LDP) was an African Development Fund (ADF) supported project implemented in Ejisu-Juaben district by the decentralized department of agriculture. The project covered the entire district, benefiting 31 different farmers’ groups representing 20 communities. Each beneficiary group comprised at least 10 livestock farmers with a total of about 375 farmers directly benefiting from the project so far. Small-scale small-ruminant farmers were the main beneficiaries and many of them were women. Launched in 2003, the LDP project, unlike the borehole project, did not experience any serious conflicts in the communities. The project’s sensitivity to community conflict was analyzed below using the same broad dimensions as in evaluating the borehole project.

Community conflict profiling

About 80 % of the respondents indicated that community conflict profiling was carried out in the initial stages of the LDP project. This confirmed the application of the principles developed for agricultural extension agents (AEAs) operations within the LDP project guidebook. In getting to know the people aspect of this guidebook, the AEAs who formed the bulk of the LDP staff in the district were trained to obtain knowledge with regard to how to investigate past and present conflict factors in the communities such as friendships and animosities, quarrelsome persons and peacemakers, socio-economic stratifications, the gap between the better-off and the poor including their relationships, and history of settlements and people. The LDP project was therefore awarded a score of 3 for high conflict sensitivity under this dimension.

Stakeholder Analysis

From the perspective of Warner’s definition of stakeholder in community conflict analysis for project planning, and where serious conflicts are yet to occur, 70% of the respondents indicated that stakeholder analysis was carried out in adherence to the project guidelines for staff activities. Through stakeholder analysis, the project identified leaders and figures of authority in the project communities, opinion leaders and resource persons, and all the various institutions that the staff had to recognize and dialogue with to know the various interests, concerns, fears and motivation. For instance, the AEAs interviewed indicated that, stakeholder analysis enabled them to discover that it was a taboo to rear goats in certain communities owing to local traditions; as a result the project substituted sheep for goats. Thus the project was evaluated for high sensitivity to conflict with a score of 3.

Cause analysis

None of the respondents reported any conflict the LDP project encountered in the communities of operations, nor conflict that existed before the project was begun. This blanket response perhaps was due to what was earlier noted in the literature as common misconception about the meaning of conflict, which to many only arises when there is an open or violent confrontation. Nonetheless, the fact that the LDP project carried out community conflict profiling and stakeholder analysis implies conflict cause analysis was in progress. You need to ascertain the existence of conflicts first (effort the LDP project reported to have made) before underlying causes or structural factors could further be investigated. Since the project attempted to gather facts on past and present conflict factors, it was again evaluated for high sensitivity under this dimension with a score of 3.

Risk appraisal

Risk appraisal was most decisive for the LDP project given its size (covering the entire district), staff requirement, beneficiary selection process, etc. Twelve sensitivity indicators were considered for the measurement of the project’s sensitivity to local conflicts under this dimension, unlike the borehole project where only eight sub-indicators were applied. Let us start with the language commonly spoken by the project staff (1 in Table 8), noting that the project had 25 staff.

The local language (mother tongue) commonly spoken by the staff could be a strong determinant in terms of which ethnic group in the district shall receive more assistance from the project. “…….. language usage in the development organization or project can result in staff feeling drawn more towards one particular group or region and giving it stronger support.” (Leonhardt 2001a). From the survey results, 62 % of the LDP staff had Twi as their mother tongue. Twi is spoken by the Ashantis ethnic group who constitute about 85.6% of the Ejisu-Juaben district population. The remaining 38% had other languages as mother tongue. Consequently, there can be the tendency to have disproportionate project support accorded to social groups belonging to the Ashantis. Thus the project’s sensitivity to conflict was evaluated to be insignificant with a score of 1 given the high proportion (62%) of staff having the same mother tongue. Regarding spatial distribution of AEAs across Area Councils (ACs) as an indicator, it was revealed that, all beneficiary ACs were serviced by the AEAs. Equitable distribution of extension agents can suppress complaints that would otherwise emerge from communities for lack of extension service. The project was awarded a score of 3 here for high sensitivity (indicator 2 Table 8). Looking at the youth proportion in the direct beneficiary group (375) as indicator, only 16% are persons of age group 20-34. In this direction, the LDP project was evaluated with moderate sensitivity to conflict with a score of 2, since, as discussed under the borehole project, more involvement of the youth is crucial for community project success. Regarding gender balance, 30% of the beneficiaries were women. This figure is far below the intended 45% women beneficiaries mentioned in the LDP Project Appraisal Report (Africa Development Fund, 2001). Thus, the project was evaluated for moderate sensitivity to conflict with a score of 2. Coming to the spatial distribution of beneficiaries across Area Councils (ACs) (Indicator 5 Table 8), all ACs in the district, except for Besease, benefited from the project. Discussion with project officials revealed that Besease was already benefiting from a similar FAO supported project, thus for equity reason it was not included as beneficiary AC for this ADF supported project. This is in adherence to the principle of horizontal spatial equity in development in support of the current thinking regarding prevention of communal conflict. (Barbolet et al., 2003). For equitable distribution of benefits, the project is thus scored high for conflict sensitivity with a score of 3. As to indicator 6, it was discerned that the project supported only individuals who already had livestock. This policy may breed discontent in those persons (like croppers) who did not readily have livestock but would have desired to directly benefit from the LDP project. It should be noted that about 90% of the livestock farmers receiving support were also croppers. The LDP is evaluated for insignificant response to conflict in this case with a score of 1.

Educational status of beneficiaries is the next indicator evaluated the project on (indicator 7 Table 8). It is crucial, especially for rural projects that those who were not opportune to go to school are reasonably considered when selecting beneficiaries. Being illiterate by itself has made one vulnerable, and such individuals could easily feel discriminated against in any selection process and could pose invisible threat against the success of projects. Of the LDP beneficiaries, only 26% were illiterate and persons with little education (JSS and below). This proportion appears small for a rural African environment where a good number would have problem reading and writing. The project is thus evaluated for moderate response with a score of 2.

Next is project staff influence in the selection of leadership in beneficiary groups. The LDP project required that the leadership constitute a chairman, secretary and treasurer (indicator 8 Table 8). The type of leadership chosen for any group had conflict implication with regard to the level of loyalty it enjoyed from the rest of the group membership. However, 100% of the beneficiaries interviewed indicated that the leadership was democratically voted; the LDP staff had no hands in it other than supervision of the election process. This gave the project a score of 3 for high sensitivity to group conflicts. With regards to ensuring transparency within the leadership of each group, the project was reported to have adequately put in place mechanisms to ensure accountability from group leaders, which was confirmed by all beneficiary respondents. The project encouraged the preparation of constitution/bye-laws by each beneficiary group within the project guidelines provided, defining roles, responsibilities and restrictions of group members including the leaders. To reinforce this, groups were formed by socio-economic characteristics of livestock farmers, grouping them by income status, age and other considerations. The project was therefore evaluated to be highly sensitive to conflicts under this indicator with a score of 3.

About conducting animation (indicator 10 Table 8), this was reported to have been the first project activity. Animation was particularly necessary since the LDP project idea was not coming from the communities. The details of the project were presented to the people including its objectives and expected benefits. About 80% of the respondents indicated that there was general community acceptance of the project thereafter. This awarded the project another score of 3 for conflict sensitivity. With regard to general training of project staff and beneficiaries in managing group and community conflicts (indicator 11 Table 8), the project made laudable effort in this direction, affirmed by 100% of the respondents. For example, among the eight chapters in the guidebook on group formation and development for AEAs prepared by the project, there was a training chapter on conflict and conflict resolution and all respondents confirmed the execution of this activity component. Thus the project was awarded 3 for conflict sensitivity. However, the project was reported to have remained untimely in the implementation of certain project components. Most crucial was the delay in disbursement of loans. Some AEAs indicated that certain farmers did not receive the LDP project well because they lost confidence in past projects related to livestock development owing to failure to achieve their objectives. “Delay in credit disbursement could be a source of conflict by itself as may wither the relationship between the farmers and AEAs”, reported one of the LDP staff. The project sensitivity in regard of timeliness is therefore evaluated for moderate sensitivity with a score of 2.

From Table 8, the total score for insignificant project sensitivity was 2, the score for moderate sensitivity was 8 and the score for high sensitivity was 18. The grand score (GS) was 28. The GS indicates that the project sensitivity was high since it lied in the range 25<GS<36 given that the number of indicators was 12.

Conflict monitoring and early warning system

Three sensitivity indicators were applied here as in the borehole project analysis. In the guidebook for AEAs, conflict indicators were developed to guide the project staff monitoring of potential conflicts during the project implementation. The monitoring indicators include: weakness in the leadership of a beneficiary group; eroding trust and co-operation among members; lack of accountability in the group’s finance; and failure by members to pay dues and attend meetings regularly. 100% of the beneficiaries interviewed responded that they were aware of these indicators as signals for serious conflict emergence, that they informed the AEAs when there were signals for response or onward submission to higher project authorities. The beneficiaries indicated further that awareness of these indicators by all members had strengthened their group dynamics, oneness and trustworthiness. Therefore, for both developing and monitoring conflict factors, the project’s sensitivity to conflicts was recorded high with a score of 3 (indicator 1 and 2 Table 9). However, the responses from the survey depicted possible future conflict in connection with credit disbursement to members, but this speculation did not appear to have clearly come under the view of the project staff (indicator 3 Table 9). 100% and 63% of the beneficiaries and staff interviewed respectively reported that there were problems related to the delay in disbursement of project loans to farmers. Some farmers were not sure to benefit from the credit because of the unaffordable condition of providing 25% collateral.








Already a number of farmers had expressed mistrust in this project at the beginning (reported by 20% of staff interviewed) due to failure of similar projects in the past. Should proper credit arrangement not done, subsequent projects of the like may face cooperation problems from the communities. Thus the project is judged for insignificant response under this indicator with a score of 1.

From Table 9, the total score for insignificant project sensitivity was 1; no score recorded for moderate sensitivity, and the score for high sensitivity was 6. The grand score (GS) was 7 and indicates here that the project sensitivity was high since it lied in the range 7<GS<9 given that the number of indicators was 3.


About 60% of staff responses indicated that the LDP project had mechanism in place to resolve any conflict during project monitoring. The AEAs were said to be equipped with conflict training to handle potential conflicts within beneficiary groups, reporting those they could not resolve to higher project authorities. Unlike the WATSAN programmes, which set aside water projects rightaway in the event of any community conflict, the LDP first explored ways to resolve them to ensure continuity of activities. The LDP project was thus awarded 3 for high conflict sensitivity under this dimension.


Discussions held with project officials revealed that the LDP project did coordinate with other projects operated in the district. For instance, Besease Area Council was said to be excluded from those benefiting from the LDP project because there was ongoing FAO supported livestock project in that AC. There was also a Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) in the same Council. This was an outcome of well coordinated activities to ensure equitable distribution of development assistance across communities in the district. The LDP project was thus rated for high conflict response with a score of 3 for networking with other project activities (indicator 1 Table 10). Contract award arrangement was not only reported to be synonymous to other projects within the district, but the LDP also ensured that procurement arrangements were uniform across the 25 districts benefiting from the LDP in Ghana. Two of the three districts supported in the Ashanti region, Ejisu-Juaben and Kumasi, share boundaries with each other so that information on the operations of the LDP in each of these neighbouring districts could easily diffuse into the other. Contractors can easily exchange information in the two districts so that better remuneration to any one may bring about under performance from the contractor in the other district. This also holds for neighbouring beneficiaries and staff in these districts. Therefore, owing to the project’s effort toward harmonizing contract arrangements within and outside the study district, it was awarded a score of 3 for high conflict sensitivity. The same score was awarded for indicators 3 and 4 (Table 10) for similar justification in terms of following the same project staff remuneration and beneficiary contribution as in other project organizations within and in the immediate neighbours of Ejisu-Juaben district. Regarding cooperation with traditional authorities (TAs), 100% of the staff interviewed reported that there was high interaction between the project and the TAs, thereby awarding the project a score of 3 again for high sensitivity to conflict.

From Table 10, no score was recorded for insignificant and moderate project sensitivity; the total score for high sensitivity was 15. The grand score (GS) was also 15. This automatically brought about high project response under coordination dimension for the LDP.

Community participation

As indicated earlier, peaceful co-existence among beneficiary communities and between the latter and project staff can be bolstered for sustainable project work if the communities were involved right at the beginning of the project cycle. In the case of the LDP project, the survey revealed that neither in project identification nor in planning, budgeting and contract award stages were the communities meaningfully involved. As noted earlier, some communities were said to have cast serious doubt on the LDP objective during the animation stage because of failure of similar projects before. Such doubts could be attributable to the fact that the LDP did not come from the people. However, the community involvement in implementation, M&E and OM was reportedly high. Thus while the project was awarded 1 under sensitivity indicators 1, 2, 3 and 4 for insignificant response, it was scored 3 for high response under indicators 5, 6 and 7 (Table 11).

From Table 11, the total score for insignificant project sensitivity was 4, no score for moderate sensitivity was recorded, and the score for high sensitivity was 9. The grand score (GS) was 13, indicating moderate sensitivity of the project since GS lied in the range 8<GS<16 given that the number of indicators was 7.

Final evaluation of the LDP project

Table 12 pooled together the performance scores of the LDP project across all analytical dimensions. It was ultimately concluded from the table that the LDP project’s sensitivity was very high with a grand score (GS) of 23. The decision maintained the same logic. That is, there are 8 dimensions. The sensitivity would be insignificant if GS took values from 1 to 8; moderate if it took values from 9 to 16; but the project’s response was found to be high since it took a value between 17 and 24 (that is 23). The LDP project was only one point below the highest limit on the conflict sensitivity scale developed for the analysis. This shows an instance of high consideration of conflict management principles in project activities.

Comparing conflict sensitivities of the borehole and LDP projects

Table 13 compares the evaluation results of the two projects across all eight analytical dimensions. As earlier indicated, the sensitivity of the borehole project to conflict was found to be moderate with an overall total evaluation score of 15. In fact, if sensitivity were to be judged based on frequency of times insignificant (I), moderate (M) and high (H) scores occurred, the borehole would have been found for insignificant response to local conflict because insignificance had the highest frequency of occurrence across the dimensions (4 times) compared with 2 times for both moderate and high response. However, summing total scores across all levels brought the borehole to a moderate conflict sensitivity on the whole. The LDP project had no insignificant score for all dimensions; and it was only scored once for moderate response on the aggregate. It was far more frequently scored for high response (7 times out of the highest possible frequency of 8 because there are eight dimensions applied), leaving it with overall total score (GS) of 23 while the borehole was 14.

Looking at the projects against each dimension (Table 13), the LDP performance outweighed the borehole in 5 dimensions, tying in 2, while the latter only outweighing the former in 1 according to the analysis. One important inference is that, whether small or big, all projects should incorporate conflict management concepts into their cycles. For example, the borehole project was far smaller in coverage and is financially 0.02% the cost of the LDP project, yet the former was suspended due to a conflict during its operations. Thinking that only large projects should be screened for conflict impacts may be a serious practical mistake.

Summary of key issues

Borehole Project: The relationship between the Hwereso Town Authorities and the owner of the contending piece of land for the construction of the borehole was characterized by rising tension. Asking the opinion of the community leaders as to the way out to secure the resumption of the project work, one of them suggested the use of force if the landowner continued to be recalcitrant over the use of his land. Therefore, if the District Assembly failed to intervene as the implementer of the project, this would be an unproductive policy precedent and may thwart future development interventions from operating in the community. Livestock Development Project: The threats associated with the LDP project were in connection with possible loss of confidence in the project by the target beneficiaries. Serious delay in the disbursement of credit to farmers was reported. Moreover, the farmers viewed the loan condition of 25% collateral as extremely stringent, which many cannot afford. Several farmers were said to be initially apprehensive of the LDP intervention because similar projects failed in many Ghanaian communities before. If this project was to fail, the participation of the communities in similar projects in the future would be a big question and relations between the Agricultural Extension Agents and people would be seriously strained.


Summary of main findings

It has been clearly established that, projects fail not only because of financial and technical issues but also due to failure to integrate conflict management principles into the planning and implementation process. While project managers were found to be making efforts in integrating conflict management methods in Ejisu-Juaben, the extent of incorporation of these techniques was very limited in some cases like the district water and sanitation projects as demonstrated in the construction of the borehole at Hwereso town. Weak policy guidelines were discovered to have restricted the adoption of conflict management methods in these projects coupled with the myth that conflict resolution is out of the realm of development workers and planners. The national guidelines contained in the district operational manual for community water and sanitation projects in Ghana did not warrant the implementation of such projects in communities met with conflicts, or their continuation if a conflict broke out during their implementation. This policy restriction was found to be the main factor responsible for the moderate sensitivity of the borehole project to communal conflicts.

Unlike the borehole project, however, the livestock development project (LDP) was found to have adequately put in place conflict management measures alongside its operations. It is suggestive that, the high level of sensitivity of the LDP to conflict may have enabled it remain ongoing. Projects could therefore become more successful if conflict management principles are integrated into their planning cycles. It is instructive in this paper that conflict management principles should not be tied to the size of the project. Whether small or large, all projects, especially those implemented in a poor country, should be conflict sensitive.

The paper brought out a gamut of useful conflict management techniques for project planning and management. However, these techniques are far from representing an exhaustive list of conflict management tools. More could be found in the development literature.





National development policy and planning frameworks should integrate communal conflict management concepts, ensuring that operational plans at regional and district levels be guided by such frameworks. Mainstreaming conflict sensitive planning requires increased capacity of the relevant practitioners (including regional and district planning authorities) to carry out conflict analysis in their planning responsibilities. Management tools, such as conflict impact assessment (CIA), should be seen in the same spirit as environmental impact assessment (EIA). In other words, CIA could be made an addendum to EIA since the latter itself indirectly addresses conflicts, but they are not mutually exclusive.

It was a big flaw discovered in the WATSAN District Operational Manual that the community projects the district assemblies operate should not interfere into communal conflicts. This has been a myth in many development interventions and should be reversed in line with international concerns over empirically established interrelationships between development assistance and conflicts. The national WATSAN programme document should be reviewed to proactively make it conflict sensitive.

Land administration and ownership issues should be looked into critically at national level. Responses on the land conflict vis-à-vis the borehole project investigated did not present clear picture as to the ownership situation of lands in the communities. The Ghanaian government should give it attention if communal conflicts should be mitigated.

It should be ensured as much as possible that projects be implemented as planned especially where the details of the project had earlier been communicated to the beneficiaries. It was noted that the percentage of women benefiting from the LDP project was far below the minimum threshold set in the project appraisal report while women constituted the greater proportion of farmers rearing small ruminant animals everywhere in the country. There is need for cautious targeting of development assistance in poor communities. Detailed study of the various social spectrums in communities is necessary in the process. Adapting projects to local conditions (especially those conceived from the top) is highly necessary to secure the full participation of the intended beneficiaries.


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