About Us

The Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD) is a non-profit organization registered in Ghana under the Companies Code in 2003. Our purpose is to transform indigenous institutions and local groups into vibrant grassroots civil society organizations that would enhance participation of rural communities in their own development processes. CIKOD aims to facilitate dialogue on the role of indigenous knowledge and institutions in modern day community development and empowerment. Working within this context, cikod has been working in a wide field of community development focusing on strengthening sustainable food systems, traditional health systems, natural resources management and traditional women leadership. The work of CIKOD since 2003 has so far succeeded in strengthening chiefs and traditional women leaders in Ghana for the provision of leadership at the community level for community development initiatives in the various fields outlined above. There is however little work at making visible the myriad of other indigenous institutions and strengthening them as vehicles for community participation.


Moving from Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) engendered the re-alignment of development strategies. With an increase emphasis on climate change and a recognition for indigenous  knowledge,  resilience,  and   people’s  culture,  CIKOD has chosen to focus on the principle of endogenous development in all its development interventions. This is a development philosophy that encourages reliance on available indigenous knowledge systems, the local resource base and worldviews as well as appropriate external knowledge and resources.   In line with this philosophy cikod is focusing on Family Farming and Eco-friendly farming and is in the frontline advocating against Genetically Modified Organism (GMOs). CIKOD is a strong advocate of indigenous seed and food sovereignty. All these approaches are in tandem with the SDGs


In Ghana, despite a modern political organizational system, the majority of the people (in the rural areas) are still organized around their indigenous knowledge and their indigenous institutions for carrying out the activities that are important for their development and wellbeing. In fact, civil society in rural Ghana is embedded within these indigenous institutions and systems and remain the key factors facilitating the organization of people at the rural level for their socio- economic development. Civil society at the rural level is visible in the form of indigenous organizations such as Nnoboa groups, asafo groups, susu groups, clan networks, hometown associations, etc that are the structures through which poor rural families organize their social, economic, and political lives. The resilience of rural people despite 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. At the policy level, the current advocacy against the Plant Breeders Bill has received extensive input for CIKOD. This is consequential to her position on GMOs.

Also in Ghana, CIKOD is one of the lead organizations that is reconstructing indigenous organizations as self-initiated/ self-help groups that are based on traditional norms of trust and reciprocity. In the bid to target at the poorest in the community, CIKOD is working with like-minded organizations in Ghana to contribute this niche for national development policies.   Giving space and place to traditional authorities is gradually impacting on national level plans that are beginning to recognize the developmental roles of especially the Queens/ Queen Mothers and traditional leaders in general as mobilizers of development especially at the community levels. Some specific significant occurrences include:

I. Agriculture: The official policy direction for agricultural development in Ghana remains “modernization of agriculture” by which government policy is directed at intensification of agriculture through increased use of inputs and technol  There is however a gradual response to the call for policy consideration for Traditional Ecological Agriculture technologies. Government recently announced a subsidy for producing and distributing compost manure in addition to chemical fertilizers

II. Social protection: In the last few years, Ghana has launched several social

protection programmes, such as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the school feeding programme, and now the Livelihoods Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) social grants programme. According to a World Bank report, the LEAP programme has been most successful having met 50% of its target. The contribution of traditional leadership in mobilizing and organizing the poor in communities for this cannot be over emphasized.

III.      Governance: traditional authorities remain very relevant for community development.

Women traditional leaders have now been formerly admitted into the national and regional houses of chiefs as a result of the work of Cikod. There is however an emerging challenge of TWLs becoming increasingly divided up into splinter TWL associations and getting increasingly influenced by political party politics. There is also an increasing trend towards discrimination between the Paramount and divisional queens.

IV.    Decentralization of governance is advanced in Ghana. However, there is also a trend towards recentralization. The role of the myriad of indigenous institutions in all our communities would greatly enhance the decentralization policy in Ghana if they are made visible and empowered by relevant policy.


Cikod Started its development journey promoting Low External Input and Sustainable Agriculture (LEISA) as community development strategy. It is now focusing on endogenous development for agroecology, nature conservation and sustainable development. It is also now focusing on policy influencing using community-led legal instruments such as community protocols and capacity building.


Choosing endogenous development (ED) means going against the dominant development paradigm of westernization. The focus has been to develop tools for ED, test and modify them and build evidence of the added value of ED approaches. There is a growing trend towards promoting ED for food production and regeneration of vegetation for climate change. Trends towards water sovereignty for agroecological food production. Women empowerment is a cross cutting area in cikod. Doing advocacy work as part of a network (the Agroecology and food sovereignty platform) and not as standalone effort is the trend now. CIKOD is also increasingly advocating for the mainstreaming of culture and indigenous knowledge in development.

  • promoting Endogenous Development (ED) as our development philosophy and approach in our work
  • working with indigenous knowledge systems and worldviews to ensure sustainability.
  • Working with staff that are committed and have a passion for the work we
  • We strive to promote respect and tolerance in which people feel happy to work.
  • We believe in  accountability and transparency in what we d

The Community Organizational Development (COD) approach and techniques, developed by CIKOD and its associates, aim 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, to build resilient communities and for the effective management of their livelihoods and wellbeing.

The COD approach comprises a set of tools comprising:

  • Community Institutions and Resources Mapping (CIRM)
  • Community Visioning and Action Planning (CVAP)
  • Community Organizational Self-Assessment (COSA)
  • Community Institutional Strengthening (CIS)
  • Learning, Sharing and Assessment (LeSA)
  • Using festivals and traditional forums for community dialogue with power bearers
  • Bio-cultural Community Protocols (BCP) for empowering communities to demand their rights to their heritage and natural resour

In using these tools, one is expected   to work with and through the traditional authorities and indigenous institutions and their organizational practices and resources. This enhances ownership and inclusion of the whole community in the development process.


The core business of CIKOD is to contribute towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)



  • Providing formal training to  strengthen  the  capacities  of  Traditional  Authorities,  local government agents, grass roots civil society groups and development facilitators to play stronger roles in the development process at the local level.
  • Providing Organizational development support to traditional authorities, indigenous institutions and local groups to play strong roles in developing sustainable local food systems, natural resource management, local governance and Policy Influenci

Building capacities to transform indigenous institutions and local groups into vibrant grassroots civil society organizations that would enhance participation of rural  communities  in  their  own development processes.


The mission is to contribute to the transformation of indigenous local organizations of rural communities into resilient and vibrant grassroots civil society organizations that enhance the engagement of rural people in revitalizing their ecological traditional systems for food, nutrition and water sovereignty using an endogenous development logic.


Our vision is that of a society, where the rural poor, the marginalized and rural women have voice and contribute pro-actively to equitable and sustainable community development.


To have resilient communities that are managing their community food, nutrition and health systems, building on their traditional ecological knowledge and indigenous resources while not ignoring appropriate external resources.

  • Commitment to promoting ED approach
  • Believe in a sustainable approach to community development
  • Shared commitment and responsibility
  • Accountable and transparent approaches to development

The Overall Goal is to contribute to poverty reduction, community resilience and well-being in Ghana through sustainable livelihoods for poor and marginalized rural families who depend primarily upon natural resource. To achieve this goal, CIKOD would work towards achieving the following objectives:



To promote community-based poverty reduction activities through facilitating the interface of traditional and modern local governance institutions. (SDG 1; SDG 16)



To facilitate and provide community organizational development (COD) support for health, food sovereignty, and sustainable natural resources management. (SDG 1; SDG 2; SDG 3; SDG 6)



To research, develop, document and practice appropriate methodologies and approaches that support CIKOD’s Endogenous Development approach with a particular focus on Gender, Generation, and Culture (SDG 5; SDG 8; SDG 16).



To ensure the development of CIKOD as a dynamic learning organization with effective and efficient deliverables for community resilience and endogenous development