Republic of Ghana

What Works in Local Governance: Lessons, Policies and Tools from DISCAP

Purpose of this Site:

Welcome to!  This site is a resource centre for local governance.  It offers lessons, policies and tools generated in Northern Ghana by the District Capacity Building Project.

The purpose of this site is to share what worked on DISCAP--and to support practitioners, policy-makers and scholars in the ongoing search for what could work elsewhere in Africa and the developing world.


The site offers downloadable documents on the following themes:

The District Capacity Building Project


Best Practices Conference Decentralized Management in the Context of GPRS and MDBS

The District Capacity Building Project worked during the period 2000 through 2007 to strengthen the planning and management capacities of 34 district and three regional government institutions in northern Ghana, as well as six national ministries and agencies. The project was sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency and Ghana’s Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment. DISCAP generated, from the ground up, a wide range of innovative policies, tools and lessons in decentralization policy and budget support, town water supply, gender and local-government planning, strategic leadership and management training, budgeting and financal management, engagement of communities and government officials, decentralized poverty monitoring, and connectivity among local-government institutions.

DISCAP was a high-performing development intervention. Implementation was led by national and regional government officials with the technical advice of Canadian firm E.T. Jackson and Associates Ltd. and its Ghanaian partner, Gariba Development Associates. The work of the project was honoured by Ministers and Governments of both Ghana and Canada. In 2004, the project was recognized with the Export Development Canada Award for Gender Equality Achievement. As the project concluded, Alhaja the Honourable Alima Mahama, Ghana’s Minister of Women’s and Children’s Affairs, declared “DISCAP has taught us much and we will carry on its work in the years ahead.” In 2007, CIDA’s Head of Aid in Ghana, Archie Book, called the project a success and looked forward to tracking the long-term results of the project in Ghana’s north and in the rest of the country.

Can the centralizing features of poverty reduction strategy papers and multi-donor budget support be reconciled with a deepening of the decentralized governance system?  This challenging question was the focus of a Best Practice Conference organized by Ghana's Institute of Local Government Studies and sponsored by DISCAP, on May 8-9, 2007, in Accra. Click here to access the conference agenda and presentations.

The District Capacity Building Project, or DISCAP, is a tool for change in the way local governance is conducted in northern Ghana.  Working with three regional administrations and 34 district assemblies, DISCAP aimed to strengthen local government planning and management in all development sectors, and placed special emphasis on promoting the sustainable management of water and sanitation systems.  
(See DISCAP's Results Chain and Project Coverage)

Quick Links on Decentralization and Capacity Development Seven Years of Achievement

Click to see our list of Decentralization and Capacity Development links

Click here for DISCAP's  Project Competion Report

DISCAP Sponsors and Leadership

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