The “Third Sector” and Climate Change Adaptation Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Experience from Ghana

  • Issah Justice Musah-Surugu
  • Justice Nyigmah BawoleEmail author
  • Albert Ahenkan


In spite of growing evidence of non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) active participation in both bottom-up and top-down climate change policy negotiations and implementation, a research effort that focuses on the former barely exists. Grounded within the qualitative research approach, this paper contributes to the emerging climate policy literature by drawing on experiences from three purposefully selected non-state actors’ adaptation program in Ghana. The paper observes that through tripartite mechanisms—climate advocacy, direct climate service provision and local empowerment, NGOs significantly play a complementary role in building local adaptive capacities, especially among people who are already living at or close to the margins of survival. The paper again found that NGOs tacitly explore four interrelated “social tactics” (rulemaking, alliance brokerage, resource brokerage, and framing) to gain the cooperation of local actors for the implementation of adaptation interventions. In order to improve the performance and sustainability of adaptation interventions, the paper puts forward that NGOs should, among other things, harmonize their interventions to resonate with local interest and identity and also nurture capable project caretakers before community exit.


Climate change Adaptation Non-governmental organization Local people 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors whose names are listed above certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any entity with any financial interest or non-financial interest in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript. Again, this manuscript has not been published previously and is not currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. We therefore declare that there is no potential conflict of interest before, during, and after submitting this manuscript to VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations.


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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Issah Justice Musah-Surugu
    • 1
  • Justice Nyigmah Bawole
    • 1
    Email author
  • Albert Ahenkan
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GhanaAccraGhana

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