Living and working in an information dryland: a study of the information behaviour of NGO development workers in the Northern region of Ghana
thesisposted on 15.10.2012, 14:26 by Samuel Kotei Nikoi
The last few decades have seen a rise in the number of civil society organisations involved in global development. This has been attributed to the end of the cold war and a shift in global economic and political thinking driven by beliefs organised around neoliberalism. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as agents of civil society have become significant players in what is now described as the "New Policy Agenda" a fact evident in their visibility at many global policy forums. Today, NGOs are seen both as vehicles of democratisation and preferred channels for welfare service provision in direct substitution to the state. Ghana, like many African countries have been caught in this new wave of global socio-political developments. In 1992, the country adopted multi-party democracy ending a long period of military dictatorship. The result of this transition is that many organIsed civil society groups, including NGOs, have joined forces with government In the fight against poverty and in the socio-economic development of the country. Despite this positive development two major, but separate studies, carried out in the country in 1999 both reported that lack of access to information continues to undermine effective participation of civil society groups in the country's development, something seen as a threat to the country's nascent democracy. To address thIs issue, the study examined the information behaviour ofNGO development workers as a segment of civil society in order to assess what implications, if any, this might have on the design of an information system better suited to their needs. The findings of this study suggest that the information behaviour of NGO development workers, is greatly influenced by a number of factors. These include amongst others the aid system, particpatory development rooted in human centred development, and also decentralised development reflected in vanous partnership arrangements. The study findings also show that the informatIon behaviour of development workers is greatly influenced by their knowledge state, when they come into the social development environment, and also at various stages during the life of a project. Various information locales are identified which act as spaces for the open exchange and sharing of information. A framework is put forward - Knowledge Village and Information Pumpstations (KVIP) - as a useful way of looking at, and addressing information issues within the NGO work environment in Northern Ghana.
- Information Science