Rethinking youth participation in monitoring and evaluation. The case of Local Enterprise and Skills Development Programme (LESDEP).
Boadu, Evans Sakyi
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The buzzword in recent development policy-making is PM&E. The notion is that; participatory approaches have the appropriate remedy to curb the problem of exclusion. That notwithstanding, the approach has become rhetoric in certain quarters rather than practical as admitted by some scholars who hold the principle in high esteem. Inferences from the concept of empowerment as put forward by Narayan (2005), might be the premise for rethinking the debate surrounding the inclusion of beneficiaries in participatory monitoring and evaluation because of its undulation positive effect on project outcomes. Over the past two decades, Ghana has initiated and implemented a good number of national policies and strategies that are youth-centered. The majority of these youth programmes are usually delineated in most public policies on thematic areas such as employment, education, health, among many others. A total of 120 respondents (project beneficiaries) were randomly selected for questionnaire administration, and 1 in-depth interviewed was conducted for this study. Using a Participation Perception Index (PPI), developed to assess the youth perception of the extent to which they were involved in the PM&E, the following were ascertained. It was evident that the youth were only made to actively participate in the data collection (as respondents) process. Evidently, the primary objective of the implementing agency was to secure the youth (beneficiaries) job rather than involving them in the project PM&E. The qualitative analysis also highlighted other critical factors affecting both the implementing agency and the youth (skills or know-how, cost, lack of beneficiaries' interest, non-existence of beneficiaries' associations) to ensure active participation. The study concluded that the end goal of the youth intervention programme is tied into the ideas of project sustainability which can be achieved when the various stakeholders are all on board in the PM&E.