Exploring Social Outcomes of Interactions between University Students and Waala Communities in the Wa Municipality, Ghana
In the context of social integration theory, this paper explores the social outcomes of interactions between university students and indigenous Waala communities in the Wa Municipality, northwestern Ghana. Drawing on results from focus group discussions and in-depth interviews, weposit that social integration outcomes have been both positive and negative, the latter being predominant. In the positive domain, university students from varied ethnic backgrounds are socially accepted to live in shared rental accommodation by indigenous Waala families and by extension allowing for modest cross-cultural learning’s and exchanges. University students, especially female students serve as role models in education to Waala youth, particularly, young girls – inspiring them to attain higher education. In the negative domain, the outcomes include conflicts between students and Waala families over varied ways of life, conflicts over rents and ejection of students from rental apartments, exploitation of studentsthrough application of higher rents and market prices ofconsumer goods and finally, increasing incidences of love relationships between students and indigenes leading to social tensions and undesirable outcomes. We therefore, arguethat integration of students into the Waala community has been partial and underpinned by differentiated ways of lives, culture and conflicts that has undermined the process of acculturation. Thus, the paper advocates an integrated approach to Municipal Development Planning (MDP) through multi – stakeholder engagement for the promotion of education, platforms for dialogue, and strengthening institutions for dealing with emerging issues and conflicts arising from the processes of social integration.
Keywords: Social Interactions, Social Integration, Students, Indigenes, Ghana