EDITORIAL: Focus On Basic Needs
Development is a process towards a desired change. It is not only about physical things such as skyscrapers, infrastructural projects and economic figures. It is about people and every development process must always target the well-being of the people.
That is why we find appropriate and timely the call by the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Emmanuel Kweku Osam, on Ghanaians to decide whether to satisfy their basic needs or follow some “high flowing development agenda”.
The example Prof Osam used, the one laptop per child policy, is very apt. This is a policy which will certainly not achieve the desired result, especially in communities where the basic needs of children cannot be met. What about the schools which do not have electricity or whose teachers are not computer literate?
We believe it is for some of these reasons that development planners have moved away from grandiose planning to concentrating on the provision of basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing.
It is important to reckon that for one to lead any meaningful life, he or she must have access to good health and educational facilities, well-trained and motivated teachers, among other things.
Ghana is endowed with many resources, the latest being oil and gas, and if these resources are properly utilised, they can easily transform our lives for the better.
But if we go along with the present development paradigm that focuses on economic development, instead of human-centred development, the living standards of the people will continue to deteriorate.
For many years, and even now, our policy makers have not involved the people in the conception and implementation of programmes. We, therefore, fashion out development plans without taking into account the needs of future generations.
Nonetheless, the introduction of the district assembly concept has helped provide some token of participation by the people in the decision-making process.
Unfortunately, however, decisions are often taken at the central government level and forced down the throats of officials at the district assembly level. We had instances when some district assemblies last year complained about deductions from their District
Assemblies Common Fund by the central government without the knowledge of the assemblies.
There are very good dividends to be derived from the involvement of people in the decision-making process. The process helps the people own the projects and thereby disabuse their minds of the notion that “when the government owns something, nobody owns it”, for which reason nobody cares about it.
The Daily Graphic urges policy makers at all levels to target the well-being of the people and not buy into programmes because some donors have recommended those initiatives.
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