Does NGO aid reach the poor? Field based evidence from Ghana

Type Journal Article - Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development
Title Does NGO aid reach the poor? Field based evidence from Ghana
Volume 6
Issue 20
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers 134-147
Mostly relying on cross-country studies and often limited data, research on the allocation of NGO aid remains
inconclusive. Whiles some studies (Nunnenkamp et al 2008; Dreher et al 2007; Nancy & Yontcheva 2006)
suggest poverty as a significant determinant of NGO aid, Fruttero and Gauri (2005) notes that NGOs’
association with donors influence the allocation of their aid and it appears they do not locate in areas most in
need. Empirically evidence on whether NGO aid reach the poor is hugely lacking. The fact that some evidence
shows NGO aid go to poor countries does not automatically mean, it reaches the poor people and communities in
these countries. Nunnenkamp et al. (2008) caution against the view that aid would be better targeted to the needy
and deserving if only NGOs had more resources at their disposal. If NGOs are seen and believe to be better
placed to reach poor people and poor communities, then it is extremely important to interrogate whether the
funds they receive actually get to the intended beneficiaries. Using field base evidence from Ghana, it emerged
that NGO aid through projects actually locates in areas and communities where poverty is high but there are
difference in the reach of the poor by different categories of NGO projects. Livelihood projects reach the poor
more whereas microcredit projects reach them less. The assumption and belief that chunk of NGO project aid
actually gets to the ultimate beneficiaries is not supported by the field evidence collected and analyzed. It
emerged that just about 30.5 percent of total funds are spent directly on activities that benefit the poor. This
means that even though NGOs in Ghana locates a greater proportion of their projects in communities where
poverty is relatively high but a smaller proportion of the aid allocated to them actually reaches the poor.

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