UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Selecting local leaders to support forestry extension dissemination in Ghana : implications for management of rattan cane extraction in high forest zone (HFZ) communities. Ola, Sheriff Y


Social forestry practices such as extension dissemination have over the years evolved from top- down approaches to participatory and collaborative processes. For non-timber forest products that are facing scarcity concerns (such as rattan cane), there are calls for extension strategies to focus on partnering with local communities for improved management outcomes. A key challenge faced by extension programs in many developing settings, however, is that few extension agents are available to service entire local populations. One solution has been for extension agents to seek out and enlist support from local indviduals in positions of authority such as traditional rulers and similar local leaders who exercise influence within implementing communities. This thesis examined the criteria used by extension agents to identify and recruit local leaders in communities where they carry out extension programs. Using a survey-based research strategy that featured electronic questionnaire instrument administered via email to forestry extension agents (n = 23), stationed in 10 districts located across 6 administrative regions in Ghana, this study sought to determine which local leader extension agents often enlist for support, what key factors influence agents’ recruitment decisions, which specific qualities agents look for in local leaders they recruit, and whether women leaders are as likely to be recruited for extension support as men. The study found that, in general, formal traditional leaders (e.g. local chiefs) were the most enlisted local actors by extension agents, followed by informal leaders such as trade association or similar group leaders. The study also found that where an extension agent work was highly associated with the type of local leaders they select to support extension. Again, it found that extension agents look for similar leadership qualities when recruiting local leaders, and finally, that women may be as likely as men to be recruited as local leaders for extension support. The study proposed that traditional rulers in local communities – including rattan dependent communities – be empowered through appropriate legislation to provide enhanced support for extension programmes. The study again recommended that design of rural extension dissemination be cognizant of gender situations in implementing communities.

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