The district has no single tarred road.  Most of the roads are non-engineered and unusable especially in the rainy season.  Below is the state of roads in the district. Apart from the Damongo town roads, there is no single tarred road in the district. The road from Fulfulso Junction to Mole National Park is not the best and given the strategic nature of the game reserve the tarring of the road will open up the district to investors and tourists.

Most of the roads in the district are feeder roads and are often flooded and impassable during the rainy season.  This affects development because development partner.



The periodic update of information on housing, a human need, is important in assessing human wellbeing to plan ahead. According to the United Nations, a house is a structurally separate and an independent place of abode such that a person or group of persons can isolate themselves from the hazards of the climate, such as storms and sun (GSS, 2013). The achievement of health objectives is linked, among others, to the provision of improved housing, and well planned settlements since large household sizes may lead to overcrowding which could also lead to the spread of communicable diseases.

 Housing stock

The main construction materials for outer walls were mud brick /earth and cement blocks /concrete. A little below three – quarters (70.5%) of the construction materials of the outer walls of dwelling was made of mud brick / earth and 19.8 percent constructed with cement blocks/concrete. Mud brick/Earth was used in rural areas (83.1%) than urban areas (56.2%). Cement blocks/ concrete is however used in urban areas (31.9%) than rural (9.1%).

Data on the stock of household and housing is available in Table 8.1 with the number of housing units and households. The total housing stock in the District is 6,369. There exist marked differences between the country and region as well as urban and rural locality in the District in terms of proportions of number of houses and household.

On an average, the number of households per house for the country is 1.6 which is higher than both the regional (1.2) and district (1.0) averages. The average household size for the District is higher at 6.6 persons per household compared to national average of 4.5 persons but lower than the regional average of 7.8 persons. This pattern reflects larger household size in rural settings, though cultural and religious factors may differ. In terms of locality of residence, average household per house and average household size in urban localities are higher in both instances at 1.2 and 6.5 respectively than in rural localities, 0.8 and 6.7.

Type of Dwelling, Holding and Tenancy Arrangement

 Ownership status of dwelling by sex of household head and type of locality

Ownership status of dwellings by sex of household head and type of locality in the District. The table suggests that dwellings owned by members of the household constitute the highest, (4,829), of the number in the District, followed by dwellings owned by other private individuals (677). Dwellings owned by the Government/Public (446) and relatives but not a household member then successively follow with 446 and 208 units. The pattern of household ownership in the District virtually conforms to the national and regional ownership trends, particularly in the case of the first five largest forms of ownership though with some slight variations.

Also, disparities in ownership status by sex and type of locality exist in the District. Male headed ownerships clearly dominate all forms of ownership statuses in the District. In fact, in not a single form of ownership are females found to dominate their male counterparts as shown in table 8.2. Yet, females dominate males in the District. This could be explained by the fact that most females are married and so live in their husband’s houses rather than theirs. Besides, in accordance with northern cultural practices, males are more likely to be named heirs to the house of a deceased father or mother than females.

In terms of the different localities, it is observed that dwellings in urban localities (3,279) are more than those in rural settings (2,976). Generally, the pattern of ownership in urban areas conforms to the District trends but some variations are witnessed in the case of the rural settings. While ownership by other private individuals takes second place (635) in the urban areas, it is observed that in rural localities, it becomes the fourth highest (42) kind of ownership. This suggests that more people live in rental houses in the urban areas than in rural areas in the District.


Type of occupied dwelling unit by sex of household head and type of locality

This section discusses information on type of occupied dwelling unit by locality and sex distribution in table 8.3.Table 8.3 shows that the West Gonja District accounts for only 2.0 percent that is 6,255 dwelling units in the Northern Region (318,119). Among the dwelling units, the four main dwelling units were; compound house (41.7%), huts/buildings (same compound) (15.8%), separate houses (33.3%), semi-detached houses (6.3%).

Compound dwellings are the major dwelling unit in the District with 45.1 percent of female headed households and males (40.7%). Separate housing units and semi-detached housing units also had more female headed dwellings than males. However, huts and buildings had higher male headed dwelling (17.9%) than females (8.4%). Across the varying localities, compound houses (rooms) are higher in urban (48.2%) than in rural localities (34.5%). This may be as a result of the higher demand for housing in urban areas. As expected, the proportion of Huts/Buildings (same compound) was higher in rural areas (27.0%) than in urban areas (5.6%). Contrary, separate houses were more in urban localities (34.6%) than rural (32.0%).

Construction Materials

The materials used in the construction of a dwelling have a direct relationship with the income level of the dweller. This discussion deals with the main construction material for outer wall of dwelling unit, main construction materials for the floor of dwelling unit and main construction material for roofing of dwelling unit.

  Construction material for floor

 The floors of dwelling units in the District are largely made of cement/concrete (80.2%) and earth/mud (17.9%). This is similar to what pertains at the regional and national levels. Urban communities are however found to dominate rural communities in the use of cement/concrete for the floors of dwelling units. The proportion of urban dwelling unit floors constructed with cement/concrete stands at 85.9 percent compared to a rural proportion of 73.9 percent. In contrast, rural dwellings (25.0%) dominate in the use of earth/mud for the floors of dwellings compared to urban dwellings (11.4%). This may be a reflection of poverty status of persons resident in rural areas as cement/concrete is obviously more expensive compared to earth/mud. Only 0.6 percent of floors in the District are made of ceramic tiles compared to a national average of 1.6 percent and a regional average 0.7 percent. This yet again point to the likelihood of low income levels in the District as many household owners are unable to afford this type of floor material.

 About (35.7%) of dwelling units in the District are roofed with thatch/palm leaf or Raffia. The main materials used for roofing in the District are metal sheet (58.7%) while mud bricks/Earth account for 3.1 percent. However, over fifty percent (56.6%) of dwelling units at the regional level had metal sheet roof, while 34.9 percent had thatch/palm leaf or raffia roof.

There were variations in materials used for roofing in rural and urban localities. For instance, 60.8 percent of rural dwelling units are roofed with thatch/palm leaf or raffia compared with 6.9 percent in the urban dwellings. This reflects the use of materials available in the immediate rural environment. Also, 89.4 percent of dwelling units in the urban localities are roofed with metal sheet in contrast with 31.8 percent rural localities. However, the proportion using mud/mud bricks/earth was higher in rural (4.7%) than urban localities (1.3%).

 Room Occupancy

 Number of sleeping rooms

The number of ‘sleeping rooms’ provides an indication of the extent of crowding in households. Overcrowded rooms have health implications arising from, among others, disturbed sleep. More importantly, crowded living conditions increase the risk of the spread of infectious diseases, such as meningococcal disease, tuberculosis, respiratory infections, etc.

The average number of sleeping rooms occupied by households in the District is one. Out of the total dwelling units of sleeping rooms, 27.2 percent lived in one room,30.9 percent in two rooms,19.1 percent in three rooms,10.5 percent in four rooms,5.3percent in five rooms,2.9 percent in six rooms, about 1.4 percent lived in nine or more sleeping rooms. Nearly nine in ten of one sleeping rooms are occupied by one- member household (87.6%),while 57.1 percent and 46.2 of one sleeping room are occupied by two member and three households respectively. The table also indicates that 32.3 percent of two member households live in two rooms, 42.0 percent of four member household sleeps in two rooms, while 44.4 percent of six member household sleep in two rooms. This means that four in ten households with two- to- five households have two sleeping rooms.

Access to Utilities and Household Facilities

 Source of lighting

Nature of the source of lighting in any home is one of the indicators of quality of life. With technological advancement, sources of lighting shifts from use of low quality sources such as lanterns to more efficient ones such as electricity. The main source of lighting for dwelling units in the District is presented in Table 8.6 and Figure 8.1. The three main sources of non-natural lighting in households are; electricity main (49.1%), kerosene lamp (24.0%), flashlight (22.8%). Although there are efforts to introduce renewable energy sources such as solar, at the national-wide, only 2.6 percent of households in the District are using solar as source of light.

At the regional level, the percentage of households using kerosene lamp (42.3%) is higher than electricity main (36.1%). At the national level, the main source of lighting was electricity (64.2%) (GSS, 2013).

Presented in the table is the source of lighting of urban and rural dwelling. Some 73.7 percent of urban dwelling units used electricity as the main source of lighting, compared with only 22.0 percent at the rural localities. About three in ten (30.9%) dwelling units at rural localities used kerosene lamp as their main source of light in contrast with urban (17.7%). The use of torch (40.4%) is also a rural phenomenon than urban (7.0%). Firewood had become one of the least attractive sources of light at the rural areas, accounting for only 0.7 percent. Flashlights/Torch as the second most common source of light (40.4%) for rural areas in the District could be due to the introduction of rechargeable varieties and long-lasting batteries.

 Main source of cooking fuel and cooking space

Table 8.6 shows the main sources of cooking fuel and cooking space used by households by type of locality in the District. The three main sources of energy for cooking as identified in the District are firewood (68.7%), charcoal (24.6%) and gas (2.8%). The proportion of firewood usage at the region is 75.6 percent, which is more than the District proportion. Electricity usage as a main source of cooking is only 0.3 percent. This may be due to the increasing cost of electricity and its variable availability.

In terms of the different localities, firewood is the main source of cooking fuel in rural localities (61.4%) than urban (38.6%) localities. Charcoal usage is common in the urban localities for cooking (40.0%) compared with rural localities (7.0%). The use of gas as source of energy for cooking in the District is substantially low because of scarcity and associated cost. No one uses saw dust as energy for cooking in the District.

 Cooking space

Information on cooking space used by households in the District is also presented in Table 8.6. About six in every ten households (59.6%) in the District cook in the open in their compounds. Some 14.1 percent of households cooked in separate room for exclusive use of household. This implies that less than one-fifth of households in the District have access to a separate room for exclusive use. The proportion of dwelling units in the District with verandah as a cooking space is 16.0 percent and those without cooking space are 3.8 percent.

With the rural and urban divide, households in rural areas with open space in compound for cooking (62.8%) were higher than urban (56.7%). Similarly, a higher proportion of dwelling units in rural localities have separate room exclusive for cooking by the households (17.0%) compared to rural localities (11.6%). The proportion of dwelling units where no cooking is done at all is common in urban (4.9%) than rural (2.5%).




Information Communications Technology (ICT) has become important tools in today’s knowledge-based information society and economies, and is now generally considered as a factor rather than a consequence of growth and development. This shift in consciousness appears to have inspired a riveting growth in the promotion of ICT across the developing world with different applications. In countries such as Botswana and Egypt, ICT has been used in tracking livestock and in the management of irrigation respectively, and in Malawi, Senegal and Uganda, ICT is being adopted in the mitigation of the effects of climate change (Deloitte, 2012; International Institute for Development, 2012).

The role of ICT in a transition economy such as Ghana’s, has been widely recognised at various levels. This recognition is reflected in actions such as the development and deployment of a national ICT infrastructure, the design of an institutional and regulatory framework for managing the sector, the promotion of ICT use in all sectors of the economy, the implementation e-governance in all government institutions and in the construction of a national data centre (NDC) as well as regional innovation centers (RIC) among others. This chapter is therefore devoted to discussing access to ICT facilities in the West Gonja District.

For the first time, in the 2010 population and housing census data has been collected on access to and use of ICT by individuals and households. This kind of information was precisely sought from persons 12 years and older on access to and use of mobile phones and internet facilities, either at homes, in internet café’s, on mobile phones or on any other internet enabled device. Again, information on households with desktops/laptop computers, and access to fixed telephone lines were also included.

 Ownership of Mobile Phones

In a study conducted by Delloite (2012), it is reported that the growth in mobile connections since 2000 stood at 44.0 percent for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in contrast with 34.0 percent for developing regions generally. Developed regions recorded a relative marginal increase of 10.0 percent over the same period (2000-2012). In Ghana, it is asserted that mobile phones became the primary source of social and business communication for the majority of Ghanaians in 2003 (Ayensu, 2003). The Delloite report rates Ghana as the nation with the second highest mobile phone penetration rate in SSA in 2012 with a spread rate of 84 percent coming after South Africa which recorded a rate of 123 percent. Nonetheless, recent data from the National Communications Authority of Ghana (NCA) showed an improved diffusion rate of 107.2 percent with a corresponding subscriber base of 28,296,904 in 2013.


Table 5.1 presents data on mobile phone ownership and internet facility usage by sex. Overall, a little over twenty-nine percent (29.1%) of the 26,716 population 12 years and older have access to mobile phones within the District. This is higher than the Northern regional average of 22.3 percent but lower compared to the national average of 47.7% (GSS, 2013). Although there is nearly a balance in the sex distribution of the population 12 years and older within the District, it is observed that male ownership of mobile phones (58.2%) outpaced that of females (41.8%) by some 16.4 percentage points. This falls in line with the findings of the National Analytical Report of the 2010 Population and Housing Census where male dominance in mobile phone ownership is found to exist in all regions of Ghana (GSS, 2013).


Use of Internet

The Internet has become a very useful communication facility for people, businesses and organizations. Some of the common uses of the Internet include electronic mailing, accessing information, conducting business transactions, social networking and shopping. According to the International Communication Union (2012), the percentage of individuals using the internet continues to grow worldwide and by the end of 2011, about 2.3 billion people were using the Internet.

However, there is a wide gap in access to Internet between the developed and developing countries. By the end of 2011, 70 percent of households in developed countries used the Internet compare to only 20 percent of households in developing countries (ICU, 2012). Delloite (2012) however point to the fact that desktop computers remain the leading internet access platform around the world with a percentage of 89.99 percent in 2012 relative to a mobile internet access of 10.01 percent.

The same can however not be said of Africa and the developing regions as mobile internet browsing is quickly becoming the main platform for internet connectivity which is ascribed to the limited coverage of fixed lines and the associated cost of computers in these regions. Zimbabwe and Nigeria are reported to be the global leaders in mobile web browsing with 58.1 percent and 57.9 percent of web traffic being mobile based in these countries respectively (Delloite, 2012).

In Ghana, the utilization of mobile phones for internet connectivity (21.8%) is yet to rival the rate of access with desktop computers (78.2 %) which concurs with the findings of Delloite (2012). On average, access to internet facilities in Ghana currently stands at 7.8 percent for the population 12 years and older. Northern region has the third least access of 2.7 percent (GSS, 2013). As shown in Table 5.1, the 2010 Population and Housing Census recorded 597 users of internet facilities out of 26,716 persons 12 years and above in the West Gonja District.

This translates into a lower internet facility user rate of 2.2 percent compared to the regional average. In terms of the sexes, (Table 5.1) usage of the Internet among males is 3.2 percent and that of females is 1.2 percent. Thus, nearly three quarters of all internet users within the District are males compared to one third of females. Therefore, relating this to the preceding discussions (Section 5.2) on mobile phone ownership, it is observed that the disparity of usage or ownership between the sexes is far greater with internet usage than with mobile phone ownership but remains in favour of males.

Household Ownership of Desktop or Laptop Computer

Desktop and laptop computers are useful for accessing and processing information, including the use of the internet, electronic mail and other services. For the country as a whole, only 7.9 percent of households owned a desktop/laptop computer. With regards to the regions, the highest proportion (42.0%) of households with a desktop/laptop is resident in Greater Accra while the Upper West had the least of 0.9 percent. For the Northern region, households with desktop/laptop computers stood at 2.2 percent (GSS, 2013).

As shown in Table 5.2 only 214 out of 6, 255 households owned either a desktop or laptop computer within the West Gonja District. This translates to 3.4% of all households in the district. While this is obviously small, it should be noted that laptop or desktop ownership within the District surpasses the regional average by some 1.2 percentage points. Nonetheless, Tamale Metropolis tops the region with the highest percentage (69.7%) of laptop or desktop ownership with the least (0.4%) recorded in the Karaga District (GSS, 2013). Male headed households have access to desktop or laptop computers than females in the West Gonja District. This stood at 3.7% for male headed households and 2.3% for female headed households. Again, albeit some disparities, it is 45 children that this conforms to the observed national and regional paradigm (GSS, 2013).

Date Created : 11/27/2017 3:06:07 AM