Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Francis Npong, Nalerigu
|Mr. Romanus Gyang CARE International ALP Manager|
As part of efforts to building local capacities to adapt to effects of climate change, CARE International-Ghana has adopted Digital Photo Story Telling (DPST) as a process for helping vulnerable communities to prioritize and share their climate change adaption strategies.
The Country manager for Care International-Ghana Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) Mr. Romanus Gyang explained that DPST will be deplored by CARE International not only as a monitory and evaluation tool but also to access the impact of climate change on livelihoods and how communities were coping with or without interventions.
Mr. Gyang was addressing participants during the trainer of trainees DPST training workshop organized for some selected journalists from the Northern and Upper East regions at Nalerigu in the East Mampurusi District.
According to him, the aim of the training was to change how climate change adaptation issues are communicated. He observed that though climate change was critical social, economic, health and development issues, communicating climate change issues were poor among policy makers.
“Though climate change is most compelling issue today, communicating climate change issues among policy makers, research institutions and governments is appalling”, he said.
CARE International he said is exploring DPST as innovative ways to communicate the issues of climate change adaptation to community members and the general public.
“DPST is adopted by CARE International to explain the complicated subject using photos and mini films”, he said.
The Manager of ALP also stressed that climate change was a threat to livelihoods, economic development, food security, peace and stability in Africa and needed to be prioritized.
Digital Photo Story Telling is an ideal tool for not only monitory and evaluation but also effective communication tool that can support communities and vulnerable groups to effectively communicate their plight to the world, according to the facilitator and trainer, Ms. Hanne Tornager.
|Ms. Hanne Tronager, CARE International Communication Consultant|
Ms. Tornager, a communication specialist and consultant for CARE Denmark ALP took the participants through to produce three digital photo stories in Zambulugu community. The DPST produced focused on deforestation, Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) and advocacy using local persons as guest artists.
The DPST produced are likely to be broadcast on social media by CARE International to reinforce the effects of climate change on the poor and rural folks.
The stories will also be used by local communities, civil society organizations and CARE to more easily share the views of often-marginalized and vulnerable people who are most impacted by a changing climate.
The digital stories (shown as mini films) can also create spaces for dialog with other community members, local civil society and government institutions in ways that other materials with similar information might not.
The DPST will support ALP’s M&E process by working with community members who have undertaken participatory exercises to identify and analyze their vulnerabilities and capacities to climate change impacts, plan their adaptation strategies and have started to implement them.
ALP will use its participatory monitoring methods to help the groups prioritize their top three adaptation topics - which give them most information on how much and how well they are succeeding to adapt to climate change. The first stories provide a “baseline” for them to record the most important aspect of adaptation that they want to explain, and track over the course of the project.
Stories may include their current and past situation, how the group feels the impacts of climate change in terms of livelihoods, socially, changes in risks and other change, what they are already doing about it, how and why, challenges and opportunities they face etc, according to what the group finds most important to tell. The group can then select up to 3 people who will represent them in the workshop to develop their story.
CARE International’s Climate Change Adaptation and Learning Programme (ALP) seeks to increase the capacities of vulnerable communities and households to adapt to the effects of climate change using what they called community based adaptation approach.
The community based adaptation approach hinged on four key elements; promoting climate resilient livelihoods strategies, building capacities of local NGOs and local public institutions, disaster risk reduction strategies and addressing the underlying causes of vulnerability through social mobilization for empowerment and advocacy to influence policies implementations.
|Journalists: Right to Left: Kassim Abdallah and Ebo Bruce Quansah|
The Care ALP’s overarching goal is also to increase the capacity of vulnerable households in Sub-Saharan Africa to adapt to climate variability and change. It is being implemented in 40 communities in Ghana, Niger, Mozambique and Kenya by CARE International and its local partner organizations.
ALP uses Community Based Adaptation (CBA) as its main approach - developing innovations in CBA, facilitating learning from experiences and advocating for CBA in local, national to global policies and plans.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Francis Npong, Bolga, Upper East
The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) has provided hope and a brighter future for northerner sector vegetable, fruits and legumes and root crops farmers, producers, and marketers after it had been able to woo one of United Kingdom’s biggest handlers of freshagricultural produce companies, Minor, Weir and Willis Ltd (MWW) into its operational areas.
The company with many subsidiaries in about 40 countries in Europe andAfrica would not only partner with the local farmers to produce fresh fruits, and vegetables for European market but would also provide technical expertise and invest heavily in infrastructure development in the area.
The managing Director of Oxford Fruit Company, a subsidiary of MWW Ltd Mr. Francisco Stargardter who visited some local vegetable and fruit farmers in northern and Upper East regions described the zone as ideal place for fruits, vegetable and root crops production. “The zones are ideal place for fresh vegetable produce and we will like to invest in chemical free vegetables, butter nuts and roots crops and fruits production because we have the biggest for our produce already in Europe, Africa and Carribean”, he said.
Under the invitation of SADA, the field visit in the regions was for the management of the companies to explore the possibilities of collaboration and partnership in fresh agriculture produces such as mangos, butter nuts squash, vegetables and root crops production.
Established in 1963 and located in Birmingham at the heart of the UK’s road and rail networks, the company specialized in the procurement of produce from around the world for sale in UK, Europe and Africa, the company sources over 100 agriculture products from than 40 countries and work closely with British vegetables, fruits and butternuts growers to feed the market which was readily available. According to the managing Director, the MWW group incorporates associates produce companies in the UK, Spain, Holland and Germany. These include growers, wholesale, and catering suppliers and marketing companies, through which they can supply produce across Europe.
He assured northern farmers of a world class service in the procurement, supply and distribution of certified seed crops, technical expertise to help them meet the international or European standards for fresh agriculture produce. The company who promised to work in partnership with its suppliers and customers would also be dedicated to the continuous improvement and development of products and sources to meet the demands of an increasingly sophisticated market.
The Managing Director discouraged the massive and continuous uses of agro chemicals which he said was harmful to human health and was not acceptable in European market.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) Alhaji Gilbert Iddi stated that the establishment of SADA marks the turning point not only for agriculture but also infrastructure development in its operational area.
He said that SADA had moved into action, focusing on market led agriculture that seeks to expand the market for the agriculture produce particularly fruits, vegetables, and root crops from the regions.
SADA he disclosed was also sourcing advance irrigation technologies to encourage dry season farming to make the regions all year farming destination.
Alhaji Iddi told the Enquirer after conducting investors from the United Kingdom’s most popular fruits and vegetable producers and marketing Company round SADA supported vegetables and fruits farmers in parts of northern and Upper East regions that, SADA would turn the agriculture into a fruitful venture that would attract more youth idling in southern sector into agriculture.
He disclosed that SADA was piloting butter nut squash cultivation, a dry season crop that needed little but effective and efficient irrigated land to produce. The crop which does well in hot weather takes only 90 days to plant and harvest. The crop does not also need chemicals to or fertilizers to grow but just water and hot weather and northern sector provides an ideal condition for the cultivation butter nuts squash which was in hot demand in European market.
SADA, the CEO told the Enquirer would also invest heavily Northern sector of Ghana which covered about 65 per cent of the total landmass of the country is said to be disease prone, poverty stricken with high maternal and infant deaths, lack basic infrastructure that forced the sizeable number of the youth to migrate from the areas to southern sector in searching for none existing jobs.
According to the CEO, SADA was poised to transforming the area under its jurisdiction and was leaving no stone unturned to ensure massive development of the area.
“By the time we are done the youth not like to make move out of the region because the potentials and opportunities will be huge to sustain them”, Alhaji Iddi told the Enquirer.
SADA was partnering with EDIF, NRGP, MiDA and other developmental agencies to provide a long term solution to solution the regions deprivation. “We want to bring the youth back to the region to engage in activities that will give them both long and short term benefits. That is why SADA is bankrolling the pilot project butter nuts squash cultivation and funding irrigation projects and supporting local farmers with technical expertise and high but short term yielding crop varieties”, he said.
Butter nut squash is a wild fruit which takes less efforts and investment to produce as it does not demand too much water, or the use of agro chemicals. The crop which was said to have improved the livelihoods of most European farmers takes only ninety days to mature in a hot but less raining zones being its ideal environment. The crop which is also said to have some medicinal values has ready market internationally and was already in high demand. It was said to have turned agriculture in Brazil to flourishing business venture.
It is against this background that the SADA was bankrolling the pilot cultivation of the crop in its operational area which indicates a positive response. The Upper East Regional Minister Mr. Mark Wayogo who hailed SADA for bringing the investors to explore investment possibilities invited investors to in irrigation project to support the dry season farming to make the regions self food sufficient and improve the livelihoods of farmers.
Friday, February 24, 2012
From: Francis Npong, Gnani,
A sod has been cut for the construction of three rain water harvesting tanks for the pupils of Gnani primary and junior high school at a short ceremony held at Gnani in the Yendi Municipality.
The project valued at GH¢ 11, 370 and funded by Eagle Communication Filming Company based in Canada through Christian Children Fund of Canada (CCFC) was part of the efforts to promote children health and education.
The tanks when completed would bring the number of rainwater harvesting tanks constructed by CCFC through partner organisations in the northern region to 107 at the cost of GH¢305, 000 according to the country Director of CCFC, Mrs Sanatu Nantogma.
She said the project is part of the water, health, nutrition, sanitation, sustainable livelihood development and hygiene intervention area under CCFC which aimed at reducing water and sanitation related diseases among school pupils. The organisation is registered in Canada as charity organization, also member of Child Fund Alliance- a child focused alliance of international organisations operating in over 55 countries protecting and promote children development, education and health.
Mrs. Nantogma explained that CCFC addresses the needs of children in economically poor areas and that provision of water to school children would help them stay and learn in the school, promote hygiene and prevent sanitation and water related diseases. She said the project would also discourage absenteeism, child delinquency among other things.
The Vice president of CCFC-Canada, Carol Froom said children are the future world leaders and deserved every encouragement and support they deserve to development as responsible adults and that her outfit would continue to support the needs of children in Ghana and for that matter the whole wide world.
The project which is being implemented by Tuma Kavi Development Association, a community based non-for profit organisation is parts efforts to solve perennial water crisis faced community schools. The project Coordinator of Tuma Kavi, Mr. Jonathan Nasona Zakaria said aside these water tanks CCFC is financing $32,000 3-class room Early Childhood Development Center at Gnani to improve children education in the Yendi Municipality.
The rainwater harvesting tanks which is being constructed by Duraqua Company Ltd (DCL), would contain 30,000 litres which is enough to last for six months dry season period and would serve the pupils and community members from the difficulties they go through before accessing water during dry season.
From: Francis Npong, Tamale
The stakeholders in development have called on government of Ghana to play an influential role in forging a concerted and strong African voice at the Copenhagen talks and beyond to signal the seriousness of climate change issues to Africa and other vulnerable countries in the world.
According to them, a concerted and strong position by Africa governments in Copenhagen talks would give a good signal of the seriousness of for Africa and developing world that are most likely to bear the brunt of climate change.
In a nine-point communiqué signed by the Director of SEND-Ghana, Mr. Samuel Zan Akologo, Delasie Frank Amable, Care/KASA, Tony Dogbe, Participatory Development Associates, Tzvetelina Arsova, Christian Aid and Bashiru Daballi for chief of Tamale, and issued at the end of a two-day consultative forum on climate change organized by SEND-Ghana held in Tamale, the stakeholders commanded government on her efforts so far undertaken and its willingness to continue to engage civil society in the run-up toCopenhagen climate change talks and it related issues.
They however called on government of Ghana to play an influential role in forging a concerted and strong African voice at the Copenhagen talks to advocate for a comprehensive deal on climate change that recognizes climate as an issue that was central to development, growth and , fair and equitable, recognizes the need to support vulnerable countries to adopt, and enable them to benefit substantially from financial mechanisms in responding to climate change.
They stressed the need for sustained efforts by civil society to partner government with the view to shaping a strong position at the Copenhagen climate change talks. They also encouraged government to build capacity across government institutions and integrate responses to climate change in relation to their development mandates and objectives.
They urged government to empower traditional authorities to play their role of stewardship over natural resources at the local in a responsible and accountable manner. They also urged civil society organizations to commit themselves to participate in the government of Ghana consultative processes in the lead up to the Copenhagen talks and beyond and also continue their own independent engagement on climate change issues through areas like sensitization, tracking government commitments, advocacy and lobbying.
They also called on civil society to enhance their capacity and broadening the consultative processes leading to the Copenhagen talks and beyond at the levels of society and developing a broad constituency and consensus on the causes, impacts and responses to climate change, climate vulnerability and adaptation among other things.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Frustrated members of Organic Mango Out-growers Association (OMOA) are agitating for the upright enforcement of anti-bushfire laws in northern region after its members have lost about 3,500 acres of mango plantation valued at 1,560,000Ghana cedis to bushfire.
According to the Coordinator of OMOA, Mr. Isahaku Idrissu, its members were frustrated by the consistent and indiscriminate bush burning that was wrecking havoc to farm plantations increasing poverty levels among them.
The Association was formed by Integrated Tamale Fruit Company (ITFC), a fruit processing and exporting company based in the region after its recruited 1,375 farmers to plant about 130,000 organic mango trees between 2001 and 2002 respectively.
These farmers however lost 3,500 acres of mango plantation approximately about 30,000 trees from 2008 to 2012 to bushfire. This rendered their five years of hard labour in vain increasing poverty level among them. “They are frustrated by the advent effects of bushfire and were ready to volunteer to enforce the bye-law, that’s why we are engaging necessary government agencies such as agric, forestry, EPA, and fire service and district assemblies to reintroduce anti-bushfire bye laws in the region”, the Coordinator told the Enquirer after he had addressed participants during anti-bushfire workshop in Savelugu.
The workshop that brought chiefs and youth leaders from Savelugu/Nanton, Karaga, and Tolon/Kunbumgu districts was parts of efforts to get assemblies to re-introduce anti-bushfire bye laws in the country.
The workshop was also used to educate chiefs on the devastating effects of bushfire, bush management and prevention techniques.
“We are currently out of one district because the one hundred acres of mango plantation there got burnt totally this year”, the coordinator said.
Mr. Iddrissu said that, the association was now approaching chiefs, District Assemblies, EPA and Agric and Forestry departments to enforce anti-bushfire law in the region.
Though, there was anti-bush burning law in the country that prohibits bush burning in northern region it was not being enforced to protect the vegetation as it was intended to.
“We want that law to be enforced now through chiefs who themselves are farmers and victims of the bushfire”, Mr, Iddrissu demanded.
He said that to reintroducing the bye laws by the assemblies would the prevent this unfortunate situation their members go through each year saying the devastating effects of bush buring were too much to cope with.
He hinted that about 450 local rice, maize, soy beans farmers lost their farm produce to bushfire this year alone and that until somebody supported them, their livelihoods would be hard to sustain throughout the year.
The District Chief Executive for Savelugu/Nanton, Alhaji Prince Askia Mohammed in an interview disclosed that the assembly could not enforce anti-bushfire law because of interferences from chiefs, community leaders and even politicians. Pointing out the negative effects of wildfires, he said the assembly was mobilizing food and other relief items for about 450 farmers who lost their farm produces to bushfires this year alone. He said the financial burden on the assembly relating bushfire was too great to bear considering other important pressing needs of the assembly.
He however appealed for collaboration from chiefs, youth leaders and other stakeholders for effective implementation of anti-bushfire laws.
Friday, January 27, 2012
“The green frogs, no, toads that used to hop from one corner of our garden just around our backyard there are no more. There were some wild birds that gave no rest in our rice farms. These rodents we used to see were admirable and beautiful with colourful feathers but they are no more. Where did all these animals go?” This was a recount of events of nature by a 75 year old women and a mother of six, Kwajin Meinbah, based at Tatale in the Zabzuzu/Tatale District of the northern region ofGhana.
She’s no more into farming but now waiting impatiently to join her ancestors she told me with a forced smile that revealed her fallen teeth. Afarmer? I asked childishly.
“Oh, boys of these days, look, I never allowed my husbands, to beat me in farming, the secret was that I used to supply some of my husbands, seeds of maize and rice because I was an aggressive woman farmer who wanted to portray that the difference between women and men is very thin. I supplied paper, okra, groundnuts and garden eggs freely to my fellow women. While I was still active, I never bought or begged for these ingredients until I left farming”, she said.
Swinging her right hand back and forth, Madam Meinbah who spoke passionately about farming and hardworking never failed to hit at me “you, modern children, you think farming is a bad thing it is because you are all lazy, and your cures will be poverty, hunger and starvation”.
She never stepped in a classroom before and therefore did not have formal education but that does not mean she could not reason. She said in 70s, when “fertimiza”, (chemical fertilizer) was introduced some farmers including herself spoke against the use of that white man thing. “Well, some accepted and used it and the very first time, they got bumper harvest and became vulnerable to the “fertimiza” afterwards and that caused serious loses, the beginning of their food insecurity”.
She explained that when farmers began using chemical fertilizers, they noticed some changes, strange things, the green frogs, earth worms, and wild birds were reducing in population but they claimed it was a sign of the anger of the Gods. “Each day people picked and threw or buried about three frogs in their farms and it became topical issues for discussion. This happened when “fertimiza” became popular among farmers”, she recounted.
Madam Meinbah narrated that in 1986, rains failed the farmers seriously and that brought famine to the country the following year (1987). And this was the year Ghana witnessed serious food crisis, untold hardship, and economic breakdown.
“Some of us (women farmers) could not cope after the crisis and have to abandon farming as a career to assist our husbands to feed the household. This brought our farming career to a halt” she lamented.
Her testimony depict the impact of climate change on vulnerable people particularly women and children. Madam Kwajin is part of the vulnerable and disadvantaged persons in society who are hard hit by the impacts of climate change.
At that year it was not only food supply that was affected, water supply was hard hit, there was also health crisis, and mass exodus of the youth from Ghana across the boarders particularly to Nigeria, minimal conflicts emerged over resources among the people in some part of the country. Rare Signs of climate change began in Ghana and parts of Sahara Africa region in 1986 but as it were the governments at the time never planned to putclimate resilience policies and programme to support the people to cope with the impact.
After this drought, Ghana had not been able to catch up with food security. Food had always been in short supply afterwards, the never ending water crisis also popped out and women and children continue to walk for kilometers to access drinking water for household chores, no alternative energy policies had been effectively implemented to stop the indiscriminate felling of trees, and youth migration from rural communities to urban centers in search for non existing jobs has become a usual phenomenon.
This is because agricultural lands no long support lucrative or profitable farming, the rainfall patterns had changed (now few rain drops), unpredictable weather patterns, flooding and unbearable heat continue to be recorded, and poverty, hunger, starvation and deprivation had gone pass their peak.
The country, according to the Ghana Wild Life department had also lost significant number of wild animal species, such as green frogs or toads, earth worms and other soil manipulating living organisms because of ever increasing temperatures and flooding.
Now the government had realized the need for green economy as she struggles to cope with the unemployment and development, hence the development of climate change policy framework.
Like Madam Meinbah who couldn’t tell the whereabouts of all these beautiful birds, butterflies, worms and green frogs that beautify the environment at her youthful days, so is my question, who caused climate change?
So tackling climate change would not only need cash but governmental and individual actions, support and willingness, and result oriented adaptation and mitigation measures to reduce the impact of climate change on people’s livelihoods.
It is against this background that Care International’s Climate Change Adaptation and Learning Programme (ALP) which seeks to increase the capacities of vulnerable communities and households to adapt to the effects of climate change using what they called community based adaptation approach is laudable.
The community based adaptation hinged on four key elements; promoting climate resilient livelihoods strategies, building capacities of local NGOs and local public institutions, disaster risk reduction strategies and addressing the underlying causes of vulnerability through social mobilization for empowerment and advocacy to influence policies implementations.
Until we are able to take the needed actions, developed the needed development plans, and generated legal frame works to support the implementation of climate change resilience plan actions, we will continue to witness, mass extinction of animal species, wild plants, water crisis, youth migration, conflicts, disasters and food crisis. That is why the fight against climate change, or tackling climate change needs multi-facets approach. If we cannot bring the green toads back to Madam Meinbah’s backyard, we can prevent the crawling lizard from vanishing into thin air through climate resilience policies and programmes.