CIKOD’s vision is that of a society, where the rural poor, the marginalised and rural women have a voice and contribute pro-actively to equitable and sustainable community development.
CIKOD’s Mission is to strengthen the capacities of communities through traditional authorities (TAs) and local institutions to utilize their local and appropriate external resources for their own development and for future generations.
Community participation has been accepted as a pre-condition for any meaningful community development programmes. To this end, various tools have been developed that aim at maximizing the participation of the poor in their development programmes. CIKOD believe that, in spite of these participatory approaches, poverty reduction is still problematic because of the failure to build community development interventions that respect and include local cultures and people’s worldviews. The core of CIKOD’s work is to promote a community development approach that empowers and builds on the existing indigenous institutions and resource base of communities including their natural, social and spiritual resources – termed as Endogenous Development. In this approach communities use the skills and knowledge already present in the community as a means to lever appropriate external resources for their development initiatives.
In Ghana, in spite of a modern political organizational system, the majority of the people, specifically in the rural areas, are still organized around their indigenous institutions for carrying out the activities that are important for their development and well being.
Civil society at the rural level is visible in the form of indigenous organizations such as Nnoboa groups, asafo groups, susu groups, clan networks and hometown associations through which poor rural families organize their social, economic and political lives. The resilience of rural people in spite of the serious deprivation at the rural level may be largely attributed to these institutions and forms of organization. Yet these opportunities for sustainable community mobilization for self development have been undermined and ignored over the years by development practitioners.
CIKOD is an active member of COMPAS which is an international network with headquarters in the Netherlands that seeks to encourage development practitioners to take indigenous knowledge seriously and support endogenous development in Africa, Asia and South America. COMPAS Africa is a network comprising NGOs using an Endogenous Development approach in their work in South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania and Ghana.
The Community Organizational Development (COD) approach and techniques, developed by CIKOD and its associates, aims to enable development facilitators to work with people’s cultural resources – material, social and spiritual – in the context of their worldviews. The COD process supports communities to mobilize and utilize their cultural assets, use them more effectively and manage and direct their own affairs.