Understanding the Characteristics and Governance Structures of Non-State Social Protection Programmes in Ghana: A Case Study of Work-Based Associations in Winneba and Cape Coast

"Most people in Africa are vulnerable to all the life shocks associated with poverty, and social protection systems are now deemed integral to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, especially in health, food security, education, shelter, social/gender equity and livelihood. State social protection systems are inadequate, and the poor and vulnerable are overwhelmingly dependent on non-state actors (NSAs) as their primary and, often, only source of support. NSAs—especially community groups, and also NGOs, faithbased organisations, work-based associations, etc.—have proliferated in response to state default, and are now, arguably, pivotal to the social protection capacity and performance of all developing countries. Yet there is little quantitative or qualitative data on this vital resource on which so many millions of people depend. NSAs have not even been comprehensively mapped, and research on their services and operational systems is scant. Less still has been scientifically studied of their characteristics and governance. This paper describes the characteristics and governance structures of non-state actors in Central Region of Ghana. It profiles all the non-state actors mapped in four communities and looks closely at eight work-based associations—four traditional and four contemporary—to ascertain the extent to which governance principles identified in the literature are borne out in practice."