About our Research, Evaluations and Assessments Work...
PDA has a strong reputation for qualitative research having evolved our practice and capacity over the last 15 years with our roots in Participatory Rapid/Rural Appraisal (PRA) methods and approaches. Several of PDA’s senior personnel and associates were part of some of the early PRA work undertaken in Ghana and elsewhere in the late 1990s, led by Robert Chambers. More recently we have complemented this with the ability to do quantitative surveys, enabling us to use a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods.
We have undertaken many pieces of national research on a wide variety of themes, sometimes working simultaneously in all of Ghana’s 10 regions. We have also coordinated several large scale (3000 questionnaires) surveys. We adapt our methods to each piece of research, working closely with each client to find the best approach to achieving the desired result. We also relish opportunities to embrace and explore new methods such as the Reality Check and Participatory Impact Assessment & Learning Approach (PIALA) approaches we have been working with recently.
Our past clients have included the Government of Ghana and most of the major donors and international NGOs working in Ghana. Please see list of our past work for details.
Date: 2007- 2015
Brief Description: PIALA Impact Assessment of the Roots and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Project (RTIMP)
PDA had a team of 13 staff working on an impact evaluation of the Root & Tuber Improvement and Marketing Program (RTIMP) in Ghana that was executed by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) of the Government of Ghana from 2007 to 2014. The impact evaluation was commissioned jointly by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Country Office and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and is using the Participatory Impact Assessment & Learning Approach (PIALA), developed through the Improved Learning Initiative (ILI) of IFAD and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
The evaluation used mixed methods. Three hundred communities were sampled from 30 selected districts across the country. Focus group discussions and key Informant interviews as well as ‘sense-making workshops’ were used for data collection.
Aiming at improving rural poor people’s livelihoods in Ghana through the development of commodity chains for roots and tubers (R&T) supplied by smallholders, the RTIMP consisted of three main areas of work:
a) linking of smallholders to old and new markets;
b) enhancing smallholder R&T production; and
c) enhancing smallholder R&T processing.
The focus of the evaluation was on the four types of commodity chains developed by the project over the 5 years of RTIMP: gari, high quality cassava flour (HQCF), bonding cassava plywood (BCP) and fresh yam export.
Download Report Here
Partner / Client : Anonymous International Client
Date: Feb - Mar 2015
Brief Description: Qualitative Baseline Study on the Trafficking of Children into Forced Labour
A baseline study to ascertain the nature and manifestation of trafficking of children in the fishing industry, understand community perceptions of the public justice system and determine the mechanisms and key players by which children are trafficked and forced to stay. PDA carried out over 30 FGDs and 60 KIIs in 6 communities in the Eastern, Volta, Central and Greater Accra Regions. The study will be used to address and prevent trafficking of children, analyse the interventions currently being implemented and identify those that are having the greatest impact.
Date: Aug 2014 - Jan 2015
Brief Description: Jobs for the Future - Ghana Country Study
PDA conducted the Ghana country study as part of .ODI’s research into emerging global trends in job markets and their effect on skills development, as well as the challenges faced by companies and the workforce in an increasingly competitive world. The research used a combined approach – literature review, interviews with multinational companies and key experts in the field as well as a more in-depth examination of trends in two countries: Vietnam and Ghana. PDA conducted key informant interviews with a wide range of experts, both from the public and the private sector, in order to better understand what these trends are and how they will affect recruitment policies and the talent pipeline. These interviews were carried out by 3 and covered sectors such as ICT, real estate, telecommunication, manufacturing etc. The results of the research will provide the basis for discussion on what government, business and education and training systems can do to address employment-skills, ‘mismatch issues’ in developing countries and ensure that individuals have the appropriate skills for the jobs of the future. In addition it will explore the role technology can play in helping to train large numbers of people in the right skills.
Partner / Client: Walk Free Foundation
Date: May – Sep 2014
Brief Description: Country Study on Modern Day Slavery in Ghana
PDA carried out a country study on modern day slavery in Ghana and conducted a series of interviews with relevant stakeholders, from government, civil society and Ghanaian industries. The objective of the research was to map and assess coverage, cost, impact & effectiveness of existing responses and interventions to modern slavery in Ghana. PDA mapped and reviewed literature about existing forms of and policies on MDS in Ghana. It also identified stakeholders and then organized a consultative stakeholder workshop with more than 30 representatives from government and NGO sector. The data collected during the field work was, together with the literature, analysed and reflected in a country report.
Date: Oct - Dec 2013
Brief Description: Quality Research and Analysis of the Economic Impacts of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme
Oxford Policy Management (OPM) was contracted by FAO to undertake a qualitative assessment of the economic impacts of cash transfer programmes in six countries: Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Lesotho Malawi and Zimbabwe.
In Ghana, the work focused on the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) cash transfer programme. PDA provided 2 team leaders and 6 field researchers) to undertake a qualitative study to explore the economic impacts of the LEAP programme, and the synergies between LEAP and other social protection programmes in Ghana. The geographical focus of this research was northern Ghana.
Partner / Client : UNFPA, UNICEF and DFID
Date: May 2013 - Mar 2014
Brief Description: Situation Analysis of Adolescents and Young People
The overall purpose of this research was to gather and analyse existing information and provide evidence of where inequities exist, why these inequities occur and recommend areas for action. These action areas focused on existing laws and policies, key bottlenecks and constraints in the provision and use of basic social services, as well as prevailing and social and cultural norms that perpetuate the vulnerability of adolescents. The situation analysis was used by stakeholders to guide to guide national policy development and programming.
The process included an extensive desk-based literature review, qualitative research on key information gaps with key informants and communities in 6 regions, data analysis and writing a final report and 6 regional reports.
Partner / Client : UNICEF
Date: Jan 2013 - Feb 2014
Brief Description: National Child Protection Baseline Research
An extensive national baseline study on child protection in Ghana using both qualitative and quantitative research techniques. The information gathered from all 10 regions informed a) the national child protection policy development/design and b) the final baseline for the GOG/UNICEF Child Protection Programme. The research process managed by PDA included:
A literature review, development of data collection tools and field manuals, organising and facilitating the training of 40 field researchers and others involved in the research process.
Organization of regional consultation and validation workshops in all 10 regions at the beginning and end of the data collection process respectively.
Reporting regularly to a national advisory committee.
Writing up field research (as per agreed methodology) with information gathered from all 10 regions to a) inform the policy development/design and b) to inform the final baseline for the Child Protection Programme.
A quantitative survey of 3000 people (1500 children, 1500 adults) in 100 enumeration areas in rural and urban locations all 10 regions.
Baseline - 2012/2013
Mid - Term - 2015/2016
End - Term - 2018/2019
Brief Description: Qualitative (PRA) Baseline Study as part of the External Impact Evaluation of the Millenium Village (MV) Project, Northern Ghana
PDA is part of an ITAD UK-led consortium undertaking an independent 5-year evaluation of the MV Project in Northern Ghana using mixed methods. PDA is undertaking the qualitative aspects of the evaluation, largely using Participatory Rapid Appraisal and Reality Check approaches.
The independent evaluation builds on, expands and validates the MV project’s own M&E of the MV site and their selected comparison site. It includes establishing baselines, ongoing evaluation during the implementation phase and, subject to further agreement, continued evaluation after completion of the 5-years of direct implementation by the MV project.
Partner / Client : Coffey International Development Ltd. / DFID
Date: Nov 2012 - Feb 2013
Brief Description: Evaluation of the DFID-funded Ghana Election Support Programme
PDA was contracted by Coffey to undertake media monitoring, election-day polling station observation and a telephone survey of 150 polling agents.
Partner / Client : Free Generation Internation (FGI)
Date: May - Sep 2012
Brief Description: Free Generation International Academy Situation and Feasibility Analysis
The research focussed on the issues faced by marginalized, including migrant, girls within the Dome/Taifa community in Ghana to determine whether the setting up of an academy would be beneficial to them. The study looked at girls’ involvement in activities preventing them from going to school, how an academy would be received into the community and any tensions existing between marginalized girls and the community.
Partner / Client : West African Fair Fuit (WAFF)
Date: Apr - May 2012
Brief Description: Sustainable West Africa Palm - oil Programme (SWAPP) Ghanamill Survey
PDA was part of the team that conducted the WAFF/SWAPP Ghana Mill Survey. This included collaboration on the development and testing of the survey questionnaire. The team visited oil palm mills across Ghana, administered the survey, transcribed and analysed data and presented a report on the findings.
Partner / Client : The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Date: Jan - Apr 2012
Brief Description: IUCN Socio-Economic Baseline Study
PDA was commissioned by IUCN to do a follow-up on the 2009 Poverty-Forest linkage analysis and to review livelihood dependency on forest resources in the Wassa Amenfi West District. The study further sought to determine the implications of forest dependent livelihoods on the implementation of Reduced Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) and to further develop a socio-economic baseline for the Wassa Amenfi West District.
Date: Oct 2010 - Feb 2011
Brief Description: Study of the Effects of the Financial, Food and Fuel Crises on Vulnerable Children in Ghana, with reference to the Construction Industry
This study was aimed at understanding the impact of the global financial, food and fuel crises on Ghanaians with special emphasis on the construction industry in terms of loss of employment and the coping strategies adopted by affected households. It also focused on the vulnerability of children pertaining to child protection issues namely working children, children on the move, children separated from families etc.
Partner / Client : Global Environmental Fund (GEF)
Date: May - Jul 2010
Brief Description: Assessment of Environmental, Social & Community Concerns
PDA provided technical support to the GEF to help map out social and community issues worthy of focus and attention, in connection with GEF’s Afram-Plains plantation forestry project, through an assessment exercise and from PDA’s general knowledge of Ghana.
This assessment was to enable GEF to optimally fine-tune its project strategies, to limit the actual and perceived negative impacts, promote and help people to see the potential/positive development impacts and proactively address the potential concerns of civil society and NGO groups.
Partner / Client : The World Bank
Date: Mar - May 2011
Brief Description: Gender, Poverty, Environment and Infrastructure Linkages - Ghana
This research commissioned by the World Bank focused on analysing the positive and negative linkages between Poverty, Environment, Gender and Infrastructure (PEGI). It further sought to increase the knowledge base of local women’s and men’s perceptions of the gender-poverty-environment nexus and it interface with infrastructure and other sustainable development programs as well as their views and practices regarding the best ways to turn the negative linkages into positives.
Partner / Client : CARE International
Date: Mar - Dec 2010
Brief Description: Ghana Baseline - GIRAF Project
This study aimed to create a baseline on the current status of existing forest forums. It further sought to ascertain the capacity level of Forestwatch Ghana members to work with forest policy/ legislation, undertake advocacy, and develop the skills and strategies to facilitate forest forums, among others.
Date: May 2009 - Dec 2011
Brief Description: Participatory Poverty & Vulnerability Assessments I, II & III
June 2009 - A national study (PPVA1) conducted by a 20-person research team working in 17 sites in the three northern regions and in migrant communities in southern Ghana using participatory rapid appraisal research methods. The assessment was to contribute to the 2009 World Bank Poverty Study and to capture people’s experience of coping with poverty and vulnerability in northern Ghana. A national workshop took place in Aug. 09 to present the findings to development organizations in Accra.
Oct 09 (PPVA II) - the research teams returned to the same communities to share the findings and invite feedback from the communities that took part, as well as undertake brief further research on labour intensive public works and the government’s LEAP cash transfer programme.
Feb-Mar 2010 (PPVA III) - a further intensive round of research was organized visiting the same communities, this time focusing on education and social protection.
June 2011 A consolidated report of these three rounds was published.
2010/2011 - PDA worked with the three client organizations and GOG to write briefing papers and organize high level national meetings to disseminate and implement the PPVA findings.
Partner / Client : CARE International
Date: Nov 2009 - Feb 2010
Brief Description: Ghana Baseline Study
A baseline study in the two programme areas of the Agriculture and Natural Resource portfolio was conducted by PDA. In particular the AFS and FNR programmes.
Partner / Client : Free Voice
Date: May - Jun 2009
Brief Description: PIWA Community Radio Programme (Senegal) - External review
Conducted a desk review and held semi-structured interviews with PIWA and Free Voice staff as well as PIWA’s representatives in all four countries of operation (Maritania, Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone) to assess whether all planed programme activities had been carried out successfully.
Partner / Client : The World Bank
Date: Apr - Sep 2009
Brief Description: Vulnerability Assessment and Participatory Scenario Development for costing Climate Change Adaptation for Ghana
A baseline study on the Social Dimensions of Climate Change within the global context of Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change in Ghana. In May 2009 carried out Field Validation Survey in 8 selected sites of the 4 delineated agro-ecological zones in Ghana to capture people’s knowledge and experience in coping with climate variability and environmental degradation by identifying appropriate strategies for adaptation to adverse impacts of climate change.
Also conducted Participatory Scenario Development (PSD) workshops at both national and regional (zones) levels in Ghana. PSD provided an opportunity for a range of stakeholders, including government officials, local experts, and representatives to explore the future in a rigorous, creative and policy relevant way. In these workshops, participants from government as well as the research and non-profit sectors developed desired, yet realistic, adaptation pathways for regional and/or livelihood groups within the country, evaluating both existing and alternative adaptation options in order to prioritize investments in the short-, medium-, and long-term.
Partner / Client : The World Bank
Date: April 2009
Brief Description: Rapid Assessment of the Impact of the Global Economic Crisis in Ghana
Brief study to gather information on the likely impacts of the economic crisis on the Ghanaian economy, identifying categories of Ghanaians experiencing impacts from the financial crisis and global downturn.
Date: Oct 2007
Brief Description: Research-based evidence on the effectiveness on Japanase aid in Ghana
Part of a global project being undertaken by the Evidence based Policy Development Network (EBPDN) PDA coordinated the planning workshop held in Accra in October 2007 for this project for representatives of various organisations taking part in the global project. The workshop helped generate the terms of reference for the research carried out at the national level. The focus of the research was on Japanese aid as Japan would be hosting and chairing the 2008 G8 meeting. The research in Ghana commenced in December 2007 and ended in March 2008. The evidence generated on the effectiveness of Japanese aid from the Ghana study was incorporated into a global synthesis report that would be used to engage Japan and other G8 countries with a view of influencing the policy outcomes of the TICAD and G8 meetings in 2008. The global EBPDN is supported by ODI RAPID programme.
Partner / Client : ACTIONAID
Date: Jul 2007
Brief Description: Baseline Survey on Disaster Risk Reduction
Conducted a baseline survey for a project aiming to draw the attention of stakeholders, primary schools and communities to risks, their vulnerability to hazards, disaster prevention and suitable coping mechanisms. The study was conducted in four districts in the Upper East Region namely, Bawku Municipal, Bawku West, Garu-Tempane and Builsa.
Partner / Client : ODI
Date: Mar 2007 - Mar 2008
Brief Description: International Survey of Key Stakeholder Perceptions of Multilateral Organisation Effectiveness
This 6-country survey for DFID involved the identification of 50 top-level “well informed people” within five different stakeholder groups in Ghana: government, parliament, civil service, civil society and the private sector. The questionnaire-based Ghana survey was managed by PDA. Data was entered on line.
Date: Nov - Dec 2004
Brief Description: Inception Studies
Undertook two studies for the inception phase of RAVI, a DFID funded civil society strengthening fund. One study led to the compilation of a directory of existing funding opportunities for civil society within Ghana, the other involved research into some of the other citizen-government engagement activities happening within Ghana.
Partner / Client : IT Transport
Date: Mar - Jun 2004
Brief Description: Value of Time Study
A researcher on the Value of Time Study undertaken in three countries including communities in the Northern Region of Ghana to ascertain how time is valued in relation to transport decision-making.
Partner / Client : GTZ / Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA)
Date: Jan 2004
Brief Description: Design of Survey on the effectiveness of MOFA's HIV / AIDS activities
This survey was designed to fully understand the status of the knowledge, attitudes and practices of the target groups that MOFA aimed to reach in its HIV/AIDS activities including MOFA staff and farmers. Furthermore, it assessed the effectiveness of MOFA’s HIV/AIDS activities and identified ways of making MOFA’s work on HIV/AIDS through agricultural extension agents as effective and sustainable as possible.
Date: Nov - Dec 2003
Brief Description: HIV / AIDS Mapping - A first step towards mainstreaming HIV / AIDS into the GTZ / MLGRD Local Goverance Poverty Reduction Support Programme (LG-PRSP)
This study was carried out in six districts in Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions as a first step towards mainstreaming HIV/AIDS into the GTZ/Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) Local Governance Poverty Reduction Support Programme (LG-PRSP). The exercise attempted to ascertain who was doing, what, where, and how it was being done. It involved interviews with a variety of stakeholders from public, private and civil society organisations, including PLWHAs.
Partner / Client : Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisation Development (CIKOD)
Date: Aug - Sep 2003
Brief Description: Inventory of Indigenous Institutions
As an associate of CIKOD, PDA participated in an exercise to take an inventory of indigenous institutions - political, social, economic, religious, etc. - around which communities were organised, but which external development agents tend to marginalize when they intervene in a community. The outcome provided the basis for identifying strategies for supporting indigenous institutions in their organisation development.
Partner / Client : GTZ Regional AIDS Programme for Africa (RAPA)
Date: Jun - Jul 2003
Brief Description: Baseline Survey for the Takoradi Technical Institute HIV / AIDS Peer Education Programme
PDA co-ordinated a baseline survey for the Takoradi Technical Institute HIV/AIDS Peer Education Programme and undertook the training of the research team in PRA methods, coordinated the quantitative survey and wrote up the report. The company then provided technical assistance with writing a proposal to the Ghana HIV/AIDS Accelerated Response Fund (GARFUND). PDA also edited the Peer Educators Training and Reference Manuals started by TTI with assistance from GTZ RAPA.
Partner / Client : Ghana Association of Private and Voluntary Organizations in Development (GAPVOD)
Date: Feb 2003
Brief Description: Civil Society Platform on the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy
Conducted a study into the formation of a civil society platform on the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy and wrote a concept paper for GAPVOD and its partners.
Date: Jul 2002
Brief Description: Traditional Authorities and District Institutions Study
Study to identify the conditions necessary for improved co-operation and complementarities of purpose between the traditional authorities and the district and sub-district institutions of the new local government system for effective community governance.
Partner / Client : Royal Danish Embassy, Ghana
Date: Jun - Aug 2002
Brief Description: Country Assistance Strategy Assessment
The assessment, undertaken by a team of 5 consultants, was to determine the extent to which Danida had met its poverty reduction objectives in the water, transport, health and business sectors during the strategic period 1998-2002. Involved interviews with key stakeholders, analysis and reporting, and presentation of findings at a national validation workshop.
Partner / Client : Christian Aid, UK
Date: Feb - Jun 2002
Conducted a study/review into Christian Aid's Ghana Programme. This was to contribute to their national strategic planning process in Ghana.
Conducted the Ghana Country Study as part of Christian Aid's national strategic planning process in Ghana.
Partner / Client : GTZ Legal Pluralism Project
Date: Jan 2002
Brief Description: Qualitative research study using PRA methods to explore marriage and child maintenance issues.
Trained and supervised a group of 12 law students to undertake qualitative research using PRA methods in four pilot communities on marriage and child maintenance issues that were of concern to the community members. PDA was responsible for the final report.
Date: Sep 2001
Brief Description: Feasibility study for a National Volunteer Programme
PDA undertook this consultative study for VSO as a first step to assess the interest in and need for a national volunteer programme. Included interviews with stakeholders from national to community level, with institutions and individuals. Wrote and presented final report.
Partner / Client : Ministry of Finance / COWI / EU
Date: Aug 2001
Provided a national consultant (for COWI) on a study team using PRA to look at best practices for implementing and monitoring poverty reduction programmes at district level.
Date: Sep 2000 - Aug 2001
Brief Description: PRA Study on Promoting Women in a Pluralistic Legal System
Led this national study. Trained a team of lawyers, police and women rights activists/advocates to undertake the study involving community level fieldwork and wrote the final report.