Assessing Rural Communities Concerns for Improved Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in Northern Ghana
Subhajyoti Samaddar*, Muneta Yokomatsu*, Togbiga Dzivenu**,
Martin Oteng-Ababio***, Mujeeb Rahaman Adams**,
Frederick Dayour**, and Hirohiko Ishikawa*
*Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI), Kyoto University, Gokasho, Uji, Kyoto 611-0011, Japan
**University for Development Studies, Ghana
***University of Ghana, Ghana
Northern Ghana is becoming vulnerable to risks induced by climate change. There is an urgent need to improve communities’ ability to cope by implementing risk-preventive measures at the household and community levels. However, studies have shown that the existing risk communication system often fails to encourage the people to implement risk-preventive measures because community concerns are not seriously taken in the adaptation planning and management process. The present study systematically examines community concerns about existing risks and possible adaptation strategies by conducting group meetings in four rural communities in the Wa West District. Results show that local communities consider drought or water scarcity to be the most severe risk from climate change because it is directly affecting their livelihood, which ismainly rain-fed subsistence agriculture. As their livelihood is increasingly affected by drought, the local communities are becoming more exposed to floods and other natural calamities. Presently, the climate change adaptation strategies of the local communities are weak and ineffective. It is found that improved irrigation facilitated by rainwater harvesting, watershed management, and seasonal weather forecasting are the preferred adaption strategies. Though a high level of intention to adopt non-structural preventive measures is observed, local communities report that a lack of knowledge and insufficient financial resources aremajor impediments to their implementation.
-  IPCC, “Climate Change Synthesis Report, Summary for Policy Makers,” IPCC, Geneva, 2007.
-  W. Laube, B. Schraven, and M. Awo, “Smallholder adaptation to climate change: dynamics and limits in Northern Ghana,” Climatic Change, Vol.111, Nos.3-4, pp. 753-774, 2012.
-  J. A. Yaro, “The perception of and adaptation to climate variability/change in Ghana by small-scale and commercial farmers,” Regional Environmental Change, Vol.13, No.6, pp. 1259-1272, 2013.
-  P. Laux, H. Kunstmann, and A. Bárdossy, “Predicting the regional onset of the rainy season in West Africa,” Int. Journal of Climatology, Vol.28, No.3, pp. 329-342, 2008.
-  Ghana Environmental Protection Agency, “Climate change and the Ghanaian economy,” in Policy Advice Series, Vol.1, Accra, Ghana: Ghana Government Policy Document, 2007.
-  G. Jung and H. Kunstman, “High Resolution regional climate modelling for the Volta Basin of West Africa,” J. Geophys. Res., Vol.112, pp. 17, 2007.
-  F. A. Armah, D. O. Yawson, G. T. Yengoh, J. O. Odoi, and E. K. Afrifa, “Impact of floods on livelihoods and vulnerability of natural resource dependent communities in Northern Ghana,” Water, Vol.2, No.2, pp. 120-139, 2010.
-  S. Z. Bonye and J. S. Godfred, “Traditional Coping Mechanism in Disaster Management in the Builsa and Sissala Districts of Northern Ghana,” European Journal of Social Science, Vol.25, No.2, pp. 204-218, 2011.
-  M. A. Akudugu, S. Dittoh, and E. S. Mahama, “The implications of climate change on food security and rural livelihoods: experiences from northern Ghana,” Journal of Environment and Earth Science, Vol.2, No.3, pp. 21-29, 2012.
-  S. N. A. Codjoe, L. K. Atidoh, and V. Burkett, “Gender and occupational perspectives on adaptation to climate extremes in the Afram Plains of Ghana,” Climatic Change, Vol.110, Nos.1-2, pp. 431-454, 2012.
-  L. Westerhoff and B. Smit, “The rains are disappointing us: dynamic vulnerability and adaptation to multiple stressors in the Afram Plains, Ghana,” Mitigation and adaptation strategies for global change, Vol.14, No.4, pp. 317-337, 2009.
-  P. Kloprogge and J. P. Van Der Sluijs, “The inclusion of stakeholder knowledge and perspectives in integrated assessment of climate change,” Climatic Change, Vol.75, No.3, pp. 359-389, 2006.
-  M. K. Van Aalst, T. Cannon, and I. Burton, “Community level adaptation to climate change: the potential role of participatory community risk assessment,” Global Environmental Change, Vol.18, No.1, pp. 165-179, 2008.
-  O. Mertz, C. Mbow, A. Reenberg, and A. Diouf, “Farmers’ perceptions of climate change and agricultural adaptation strategies in rural Sahel,” Environmental Management, Vol.43, No.5, pp. 804-816, 2009.
-  H. C. Hung and L. Y. Chen, “Incorporating stakeholders’ knowledge into assessing vulnerability to climatic hazards: application to the river basin management in Taiwan,” Climatic change, Vol.120, Nos.1-2, pp. 491-507, 2013.
-  International Risk Governance Council, “White Paper on Risk Governance,” Geneva: IRGC, 2005.
-  C. Pahl-Wostl, “The importance of social learning in restoring the multifunctionality of rivers and floodplains,” Ecology and Society, Vol.11, No.1, pp. 10, 2006,
http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol11/iss1/art10/ [accessed July 3, 2014]
-  T. Grothmann and A. Patt, “Adaptive capacity and human cognition: the process of individual adaptation to climate change,” Global Environmental Change, Vol.15, No.3, pp. 199-213, 2005.
-  P. Bubeck, W. J. W. Botzen, and J. C. J. H. Aerts, “A review of risk perceptions and other factors that influence flood mitigation behavior,” Risk Analysis, Vol.32, No.9, pp. 1481-1495, 2012.
-  C. Vogel, “Usable science: An assessment of long-term seasonal forecasts amongst farmers in rural areas of South Africa,” South African Geographical Journal, Vol.82, No.2, pp. 107-116, 2000.
-  K. T. Ingram, M. C. Roncoli, and P. H. Kirshen, “Opportunities and constraints for farmers of West Africa to use seasonal precipitation forecasts with Burkina Faso as a case study,” Agricultural Systems, Vol.74, No.3, pp. 331-349, 2002.
-  C. Roncoli, “Ethnographic and participatory approaches to research on farmers’ responses to climate predictions,” Climate Research, Vol.33, No.1, pp. 81, 2006.
-  A. G. Patt and D. Schröter, “Perceptions of climate risk in Mozambique: Implications for the success of adaptation strategies,” Global Environmental Change, Vol.18, No.3, pp. 458-467, 2008.
-  L. Sjöberg, “Factors in risk perception,” Risk analysis, Vol.20, No.1, pp. 1-12, 2000.
-  K. Yamori, “The Roles and Tasks of Implementation Science on Disaster Prevention and Reduction Knowledge and Technology: From Efficient Application to Collaborative Generation,” Journal of Integrated Disaster Risks Management, Vol.1, No.1, pp. 48-58, 2011.
-  N. D. Weinstein, A. J. Rothman, and M. Nicolich, “Using correlations to study relationships between risk perceptions and preventive behavior,” Psychol. Health, Vol.13, pp. 479-501, 1998.
-  C. Rademacher-Schulz and S. M. Endward, “Where the Rain Falls,” Project. Case Study: Ghana. Results from Nadowli District, Upper West Region. Report No.3, Bonn: United Nation University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), 2012,
http://www.ehs.unu.edu/file/get/10564 [accessed July 3, 2014]
-  C. Coirolo, S. Commins, I. Haque, and G. Pierce, “Climate Change and Social Protection in Bangladesh: Are Existing Programmes Able to Address the Impacts of Climate Change?” Development Policy Review, Vol.31, No.s2, pp. 74-90, 2013.
-  J. M. Ayers, S. Huq, A. M. Faisal, and S. T. Hussain, “Mainstreaming climate change adaptation into development: a case study of Bangladesh,” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, Vol.5, No.1, pp. 37-51, 2014.
-  A. C. Ruane, D. C. Major, W. H. Yu, M. Alam, S. G. Hussain, A. S. Khan, and C. Rosenzweig, “Multi-factor impact analysis of agricultural production in Bangladesh with climate change,” Global Environmental Change, Vol.23, No.1, pp. 338-350, 2013.
-  P. Singh, S. Nedumaran, B. R. Ntare, K. J. Boote, N. P. Singh, K. Srinivas, and M. C. S. Bantilan, “Potential benefits of drought and heat tolerance in groundnut for adaptation to climate change in India and West Africa,” Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, pp. 1-21, 2013.