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.
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