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We work with 4 key strategic areas:

1.    Inclusive access to Quality Education​ & Civic Awareness

2.    Improved livelihoods, Food and Water Security, Environment and Climate Change Adaptation

3.    Civil Society Strengthening and Participatory Local Governance​

4.    Organisational Development and Strategic Positioning & Engagement


1. Delivering and promoting Complementary Basic Education in Ghana.

​2. Advocate for improved access to quality education and policy changes.

​3. The general public has become more aware of social, economic and political issues and enhanced community and national development.

Case story

The Complementary Basic Education (CBE) is the flagship program of School for Life.  The CBE classes are community based, led by volunteer facilitators for a maximum of 25 learners in a class between the ages of 8 and 14. Classes are held over a nine-month period where learners are introduced and taught basic functional literacy and numeracy skills in their mother tongue.  The duration of class is 3 hours a day and 5 days in a week. Teaching and learning is child-centred, participatory, free and flexible school programme. Beside these, there is Community participation, ownership and management. The programme feature is functional curriculum and based on the needs and core values of the community among others. SfL is currently implementing CBE programme in 8 districts namely: Sagnarigu, Yendi, Mion, Zabzugu, Namumba South, Central Gonja, Kumbungu and Saboba. 

Key Results

The SfL program has been in operation since 1995 and has benefited over 300,000 children, their families and communities. The significant strides made by SfL in the area of Complementary Basic Education boils down to the exceptional.


School for Life has successfully through a landmark phase delivered functional literacy to 44,000 out-of-school children in 5 years, in addition to having the School for Life model replicated to cover almost 40,000 more of such children in Northern Ghana within the same period (2004 - 2008). SfL succeeded in making over 150,000 out-of-school children literate in their mother-tongue by the close of 2012.


Approximately, 80% of SfL graduates transition into the formal school to continue their education, entering school between stages 3 and 6 depending on the learners’ level of understanding and ability. 

Capacities of various PTAs, SMCs and Local Committees have been built to enhance educational governance


CSOs and other education stakeholders have been mobilized to support the provision of quality education and policy change.

Advocacy is being carried out at the District, regional and national levels to influence education policy.


The Minister of Education signed the Complementary Basic Education Policy (CBE) in December 2014. This was as a result of SfL sustained advocacy undertaken over more than a decade. The Government of Ghana has begun to implement the policy with support from Development Partners including DFID, UNICEF and USAID. The programme is currently being implemented nationwide over a three-year period (2015-2018).

Participatory radio programmes using community radio have been designed and being broadcast to increase public awareness on relevant developmental issues in health, education, agriculture, political, economic and social wellbeing.

The listening public have become active in development issues and are contributing actively in the development, implementation and monitoring of government policy.


Mechanisms for adult learning have been established and implemented in communities to enhance adult literacy, numeracy and world view.



Learn more about School for life



1. Improve household income, water and food security using rural enterprise promotion and cost effective technologies

​2. Promote climate change adaptation and good environmental management practices in deprived communities in Ghana

GDCA seeks to enhance food security and livelihoods of vulnerable households and communities through building capacity for adaptation and resilience to the impacts of climate change. It includes the building of capacities of individuals and groups to improve their skills in various productive vocations and trades.


GDCA will also seek to increase access to finance and the support for micro, small and medium enterprise development of women and farmer groups as well as enterprising individuals from deprived communities to enhance their productive and economic capacities. 

Key Results

1. Knowledge and skills of Farmer Based Organizations in good agronomic practices as well as modern agriculture production and processing practices have improved. Focus has been helping groups and individuals to address challenges in the agricultural value chain.


2. Capacities of young people and women have been enhanced in entrepreneurship, so that they can start their own businesses. Women and young people have acquired skills in various trades and vocations such as dressmaking, metal work and artisanship to be able to earn a living by themselves.

3. CBOs, farmers and community people’s understanding of climate change issues has improved. Many communities are taking measures to stop and prevent annual wild fires as a result of better understanding of the impacts of wild fires on the climate.

4. Community resilience to climate change impacts has increased. Beneficiary communities are able to carry out Climate vulnerability analysis and outline measures to reduce the risk and impacts.

5. Knowledge and skills of communities in sustainable environmental management practices have been enhanced. Communities have adopted measures to protect community resources such as water bodies and forest resources.

Food security



To improve community participation in the planning and implementation processes of MMDAs in Ghana by December 2019.

To enhance accountability and judicious use of resources in MMDAs by December 2019.

To increase the participation of women in governance by December, 2016.

To promote conflict prevention and peace building.

GDCA will seek to promote community and citizens' participation in local governance and especially the participation of marginalized groups in decision-making. Focus will be on identified vulnerable groups such as People with Disabilities, ethnic minorities, women, youth and children. In a similar vein, GDCA will work to enhance accountability of people and institutions in authority for the judicious use of resources entrusted to them.


GDCA will build on its experience in the promotion of peace to work with community groups, community leaders and other stakeholders in seeking and promoting peace. The following strategic objectives will be pursued to realize the accompanying outputs.

Key Results

1. GDCA is working with more than 600 CBOs, women groups, PWD groups, youth groups, informal groups, PTAs/SMCs and Traditional Authorities whose capacities have been enhanced to participate in the planning and implementation processes of MMDAs.

2. CBOs in Gushegu, Karaga and Savelugu-Nanton prepared their Community Action Plans (CAPs), which were adopted by the MMDAs. Women, youth and Persons with Disabilities groups in Savelugu-Nanton, Sagnarigu and Mion Districts prepared their action plans and submitted to the MMDAs for inclusion in the Medium-term plans.

3. Capacities of CBOs, informal groups and Traditional Authorities have been enhanced to demand accountability from MMDAs through social accountability mechanisms.


4. The responsiveness of MMDAs to communities has increased with increased availability of information from MMDAs to communities as well as the use of platforms for dialogue between MMDAs and communities.

5. Peace clubs have been established and working in building of peace and peace promotion as well as early warning systems


6. Partnerships have been established with traditional authorities, community leaders, law enforcement agencies and WANEP-Ghana to jointly promote conflict prevention and peace




1. To enhance organizational learning, knowledge management and skilled human resource base by December 2019.

2. To increase the funding base of GDCA by 20% by December 2019

3. To facilitate formation of alliances and advocate with Traditional Authorities MMDAs and MDAs to promote sustainability of programmes by December 2019.

GDCA will build strong and functional systems that enhance its legitimacy and accountability towards its stakeholders at all levels, and to strengthen its acceptance among CBOs, local groups and associations as their representative.


GDCA will undertake continuous, systematic and planned change in its organisational processes based on the context within which it operates, so that it can continue to be relevant.


GDCA will adopt processes that enhance organisational learning, financial sustainability and working with partnerships and strategic alliances with relevant stakeholders to increase and sustain the organisation's impacts.

Key Results

An effective Monitoring and Evaluation, research, documentation and system has been established, that supports the systematic documentation, processing and presentation of results. Quarterly, semi-annual and annual review events are carried out to follow progress, make adjustments and document learning.

Financial management and administrative systems and policies in place to ensure orderly operations.

A highly experienced workforce comprising 100 staff members is in place. Staff members are continuously trained to enhance their capacities to support the organisation’s goals as well as personal aspirations of staff members

A financing strategy has been developed. A resource mobilization committee has been established. A resource mobilization plan is prepared annually to raise funds. 

Resources in cash and kind have been obtained from individuals and corporate bodies to support key activities.

GDCA has signed up as active member of relevant networks and coalitions. GDCA has initiated the Good Governance Network comprising CDD-Ghana, Tamale Office, Institute of Local Government, Tamale Campus, Local Governance Network (LOGNet) and Rural Media Network (RUMNET). The group has undertaken interventions together for more four years. The group undertook research on the application of the Model Standing Order of Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies and disseminated the research findings to relevant stakeholders.


GDCA is the lead CSO for the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas for the Northern Ghana Sector. More than 100 CSOs were mobilized from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions in 2016 to examine the key considerations of political parties concerning oil and gas.


GDCA is an active member of the Northern Ghana Network for Development and the Northern Network for Education Development.

Org. Dev

Our strategy

In order to fulfil its mission and reach its objectives, GDCA's steering committee has put in place a five-years strategy for 2022-2025. This strategy is the result of a reflexion from all the staff, board and management members of GDCA. It aims to give a framework for the organisation's work in the upcoming years to foster a sustainable and inclusive development of its activities, for the benefit of deprived communities in Northern Ghana.

Download the document through this link

(96 Mb)

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