Communal labour can be described as a situation where a group of people in a given community come together to carry out a task beneficial to them collectively as a community or as individuals.
Communal labour used to be an integral part of societal development in Ghana and Africa to a large extent.
Evidence abounds in society on the benefits of communal labour ranging from the building of personal infrastructures (huts, barns, kraals etc) to build of community infrastructures such as social centres, durbar grounds,Chief’s palaces, culverts, bridges, dug-outs, dams, roads and many more.
Development was therefore seen as a community-driven or collective effort between the State and the grassroots people and thus not a preserve of the state’s responsibility.
This relationship thus created fertile grounds for the people to feel a sense of ownership of state projects hence their judicious usage and maintenance.
Incontrovertably, many infrastructure developments that place in the late 1990s down-ward were largely products of communal Labour.
One can still see products of communal labour in rural areas where women support each other to carry out tasks for the benefit of individuals or as a group.
Unfortunately, the quest to enrich one’s self among duty bearers especially political leaders and institutional heads has gradually paved the way for the state’s taking full responsibility for putting up infrastructure and thus killing the communal spirit among the 21 St generation of people.
The spirit of communalism has disappeared into a tine air ostensibly, due to adoption of Western culture or so-called civilization which evolves around individualism and self-centeredness.
One cannot entirely rule out the sad and unfortunate penchant on the part of political leaders conditioning our minds that, they alone can solve all our societal problems just for them to get our votes.
This consequently put pressure on the state to solely make available all developmental projects which communities could support with labour, This is then, used as a conduit create, loot and share orchestration or via shoddy job out put (10%) to embezzele, siphone, divert and misapproorate funds meant for putting up infrastructure.
Against the backdrop and in the face of inadequate or lack of funding for essential projects such as infrastructures, society seems to be living in a state of denial as a result of this anti-development trend.
It has therefore, become imperative that the government is lately wallowing in pains and difficulties in bringing development to the doorsteps of every community especially, in the wake of the global upsurge in prices of essential goods such as crude oil, Agriculture inputs and food.
If indeed we want to forge ahead so as development is concerned then, Government needs to re-invent policies that support the augmentation of communal labour to provide development since it can reduce the cost of putting up projects in communities.
Commendably and worthy emulating, the MP for Sissala East Hon.Amidu Issahaku Chinnia has started a pilot project with the use of communal labour to put up a six unit class rooms in Tanviali community and a Clinic in Bugubelle.
This according him,intends scalling up similar projects in other communities since it drastically reduces cost of putting up those projects had it been awarded to a contractor.
Thankfully too, a cross section of the youth are beginning to re-invigorate the spirit of communalism in them and hence advocating for same among the youth.
Let us together re-awake the communalism or communal spirit in us and use as a way of leaping out of the current economic upheavals.
I know for sure that, this will depend on how out leaders especially political leaders will carry themselves.
Together We can Sail Through!
By: Ayamga Bawa Fatawu
A Social Activist