Title: Changes in the living conditions and well-being of older persons in Ghana, 1991-2013

The major findings of the few empirical studies that exist on older persons in Ghana show clearly that they are plagued by conditions of poverty and vulnerability but what combination of factors drive this process still appears not too clear. As part of the grand effort to understand and inform policy on the general well-being of the elderly in Ghana, the Centre for Social Policy Studies (CSPS), between 17th March 2015 and 28th February 2016 undertook a study titled ‘Changes in the Living Conditions and Well-Being of Older Persons in Ghana, 1991 – 2013. The main objective of the study was to identify factors that affect general well-being of the older persons through improvement in the availability and/or documentation of their living conditions. The main approach was to track these conditions over a period of two decades through empirical analysis of livelihoods while seeking to understand the ccontributions of older persons to family welfare and community development.

The study found that the population of the older persons in Ghana has been increasing. It also found out that changes in household composition in the last two decades have been impacting negatively on the well-being of older persons in Ghana. Again, it emerged that the proportion of older persons involved in farming has declined over the years because of urbanization and changes in the methods of farming. Moreover, a considerable proportion of older persons were found to be usually involved in community affairs, especially in relation to the organisation and supervision of festivals and rites of passage. The following policy recommendations were suggested:

  • The tenets of the national ageing policy should be implemented to the letter to improve the living circumstances of the older persons
  • Apart from NHIS and LEAP intervention packages, a special social intervention package should be designed for members of poor households with older persons
  • Methods of farming should be revised to make it attractive to the older persons
  • Contribution of older persons to development should be appreciated at all levels

A dissemination workshop was held at the University of Ghana on the 25th February 2016 to present the findings of the study to the members of academia, practitioners, researchers, students and some invited older persons. A journal article ‘Household composition and well-being of older persons in Ghana’ has been accepted for publication in the Ghana Studies Journal. A technical paper, titled: ‘The changing trend of the living circumstances of older persons in Ghana’ is currently going through review processes to be published as a CSPS Technical Paper. CSPS is currently putting together plans to undertake an exclusive national survey on older persons in Ghana in order to better understand factors that affect their general well-being.

The study was funded by an ORID Seed Grant of GH¢ 7,000. The members of the research team are Dr. George Domfe (PI), Prof. Ellen Bortei-Doku Aryeetey and Mr. Ralph Nii Armarh.   





Title: Child Marriage in Ghana

National and international communities have come to recognize child marriage as a violation of girls’ human rights, and a hindrance to key development outcomes. In Ghana it is estimated that about 25 percent of the girls aged between 20 and 24 years married before they were 18 years old. The main objectives of this research project are to examine and document the prevalence and root causes of child marriage, identify the most vulnerable groups susceptible to child marriage, examine the impact of child marriage on the girls and women who were child brides with special focus on issues of domestic violence and maternal health, examine the sexual and reproductive rights of child brides and their access to sexual and reproductive health services, identify and assess community-led actions to reduce child marriage and evaluate the legal framework on child marriage. Trends in the incidence of child marriage and regional variations over time will be identified using data from the Ghana Living Standards Surveys conducted since 1991/92. Interviews with girls who are child brides and women who were child brides at the time of marriage in selected communities in the Upper East, Northern, Volta and Brong-Ahafo regions will be conducted to gain insights into the effect of child marriage on their well-being. Interviews will also be held with parents whose daughters were child brides and key informants in the communities visited to gain insights into the causes of child marriage. This project is funded by World Vision Ghana. The research team comprises Professor Abena D. Oduro (PI), Dr. Stephen Afranie, Dr. George Domfe, Dr. Antoinette Tsiboe-Darko, Dr. Ernestina Dankyi and Dr. Sylvia Djan.


Title: Rapid Assessment of Impact of Media Placement

UNICEF Ghana is supporting the national Risk Communication & Social Mobilisation efforts to reduce the threat of Ebola and cholera in Ghana. One way that UNICEF Ghana is supporting this agenda is through Communication for Development (C4D) interventions to prevent contracting the diseases. UNICEF’s contribution includes developing appropriate audio visual communication materials for social mobilizers to carry out targeted activities for sustained change in behavior of individuals and communities. One such material is a video-clip / song, ‘Wash Wana Hands’, featuring well-known Ghanaian artistes, as well as key prevention messages on cholera and Ebola focusing on hand washing. The video-clip / song has so far been broadcasted 756 times on major TV channels and aired 3,122 times on major radio stations from 11-January to 24-April 2016. Besides, it has also been used for interventions in 844 Senior High Schools (SHS) which reached 372,425 students.

The Centre for Social Policy Studies has been contracted to use a mixed method approach (combination of quantitative and qualitative methods) through triangulation design to investigate the impact of the media placement. The study intends to assess the impact of the media placement of the video clip and song “Wash Wana Hands” in the mass media in order to measure exposure, recall and behaviour adoption. The target population for the study is limited to all individuals within the age bracket of 10 and 24 years living in Tamale, Kumasi and Accra Metropolitan areas, for operational reasons. The study will be guided by theories of social behaviour change, specifically, the trans-theoretical (stages of change) model. The ultimate goal of the impact assessment is to identify the young persons’ knowledge of the ‘wash wana hands’ media message by UNICEF Ghana, which aims at sustained change in behaviour of individuals and communities in the fight against the Ebola virus disease (EVD) and cholera; the awareness and sustainability potential for demand for the Agoo mobile phone platform services; entertaining potential of the song to get the youth hooked onto sustainable hand washing behaviour. UNICEF intends to share the findings with the Ghana Heath Service and Ghana Education Service, and will be also used internally within UNICEF to demonstrate the necessity to put in place a monitoring and evaluation system assessing impact of mass media placement. The project is being led by Dr. Stephen Afranie. Other members of the research team are Dr. George Domfe, Dr. Atoinette Tsiboe-Darko and Dr. Ernestina Dankyi.