ESDA in University of Ghana



Given the fact that Africa is richly endowed in natural resources, it is paradoxical that poverty persists on that continent, especially in rural sectors of the Sub-Saharan region where countries rank lowest in the global human poverty index. Low incomes, nutritional deficiency, food insecurity, famine and limited access to safe water among other forms of severe human deprivation reflect the poverty. A major challenge lies in overcoming the low agricultural production capacity, disease, land degradation, extreme weather and climate, social conflicts, rural-urban migration, and the myriad of other environmental, economic and social factors that condition the poverty, which is most pervasive in the rural areas, ironically forms the bedrock of the national economies in the Sub-Saharan.

A sustainable solution to these myriad and integrated problems requires the adoption of a strategy that focuses on identifying appropriate methods to turn rural regions into agriculturally productive areas, and to improve health and nutrition of the communities in these rural areas as fundamental in rural contribution to the national economic growth and sustainable development.




The programme, Sustainable Integrated Rural Development in Africa (SIRDA), aims at imparting in concerted practical ways of knowledge and skills required for reducing poverty and improving the human living conditions in rural Africa.


The uniqueness of the programme lies in its innovative combination of the following into a unified rural development training strategy:

  • Holistic perspective
  • Integrated multidisciplinary methodology
  • Endogenous approaches
  • Participatory community-based field-oriented work
  • Built-in capacity to generate employment for university graduates and rural youth.


The professional masters’ programme is designed to build the capacities and competences of students in the area of integrated rural development to enable them to function as effective and efficient rural development practitioners. For this reason, the programme seeks to impart practical knowledge and skills required for reducing poverty and improving human living conditions in rural Africa.


The programme aims at a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Integrated Rural Development in Africa (SIRDA), which is targeted at the following candidates among others:


  • Rural Development Agents (e.g. Extension Officers; Field Workers; Social or Community Workers; District Assembly Officers)
  • Middle-level policy makers
  • Scientists of Research Institutions
  • Researchers and teachers in tertiary institutions
  • Junior University Lecturers
  • Secondary School Teachers
  • Other professionals whose vocation relates to rural development
  • Research & Teaching Assistants.


The program has the following key features:

  • The courses embody relevant theories and models,
  • It is practise-oriented,
  • Seeks to impart in concerted practical ways knowledge and skills required for reducing the poverty and improving the human living conditions in rural Africa.


Current Status of UG SIRDA and staff strength: The program is awaiting approval by National Accreditation Board (NAB) and is expected to commence in 2017-2018 academic year.

The hosting Department is the Department of Geography and Resource Development with principal instructors: 10; in addition to eight other departments in Legon with a total of 12 instructors and UNU-INRA: 1, thus making overall instructors: 23.