Sustaining community participation: What remains after the money ends?

Grace Akukwe Nkansa, David W. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A major concern confronting development specialists in the education sector is the sustainability of project activities and outcomes, that is, their ability to persist once external funding ends. The increased attention of international development-assistance organizations to sustainability reflects the greater recent focus on outcome-based funding. The present study investigates differences between six communities in Ghana that varied in their ability to sustain externally initiated community-participation activities beyond the life of the external development-assistance project that promoted those activities. It was hypothesized that high- and low-sustaining communities differ in eight managerial and socio-cultural dimensions suggested by earlier research to be important for sustainability of community-level activities: planning, transparency, leadership, and participation, on one hand, and, on the other, social cohesion, resources, community skills, and valuing of education. Findings indicate that leadership and social cohesion are the two most vital elements in the sustainability of organizational structures intended to promote community participation in the oversight of local schools. Other factors suggested by the model are largely subsumed under leadership, so that the model can be simplified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-532
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Review of Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
A particularly promising setting in which to test this model is provided by the Community School Alliance Project in Ghana. Throughout the 1990s, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided over $50 million in financial support to the Government of Ghana to support its effort to increase the accessibility and quality of basic education in Ghana. The main mechanism for doing this was the USAID-funded Quality Improvement in Primary Schools (QUIPS) program (Community School Alliance 2001a, b; MOE/GES 2001; USAID 2001).


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