Communities and civil society empowerment for environmental governance in rural areas
The lives of women subsistence farmers in the drylands of northern Ghana are becoming more precarious as environmental degradation and the impacts of climate change – including floods and droughts that occur with increasing frequency and severity – are causing declining farm productivity and incomes.
The project, kindly funded by the Commonwealth Foundation in the UK, is increasing women farmers’ capacities to advocate and lobby policy makers for participation in agricultural and environmental policy and decision making that will help them adapt to the environmental and climate change impacts they are experiencing. It is envisaged this will ensure that local government (District Assemblies) will be more willing to listen to and address the needs and concerns of women farmers in deprived marginalised rural communities of northern Ghana. There are three sets of activities and expected outcomes for this project.
Activities and outcomes 1
- Meetings with the beneficiary communities and local government to outline the project and objectives
- Community workshops to identify and document the women farmers’ environmental and agriculture concerns
- Women and community training on advocacy, media engagement and public speaking techniques
The expected outcome of these activities is an increase in the capacity and skills of women farmers to advocate for their participation in agricultural and environmental policy and decision making, and an increase in the responsiveness of policy makers towards the problem encountered by the women in their farming activities.
Activities and outcomes 2
- Round-table meetings between women’s groups, local government officials, community organisations and NGOs to exchange information and ideas
- Visits to communities affected by environmental degradation and climate change impacts to give the District Assembly agricultural officers first hand experience of the problems faced by the women farmers
- Meetings between women farmers and District Assemblies to discuss strategies and action on environmental degradation and climate change adaptation
- Meetings with the local media to strengthen the women’s voices and their advocacy activities.
The first expected outcome of these activities is that DA policy and decision-makers will be willing to engage with women farmers, and that the women’s concerns and needs will be properly addressed in district agricultural and environmental management strategies. The second is that policy makers will have greater awareness and knowledge of women farmers’ problems and the environmental and climate change impacts they face.
Activities and outcomes 3
- Women capacity building workshops on sustainable agriculture and climate change adaptation initiatives and strategies in project districts
- Visits by the women to other dry lands communities successfully implementing sustainable environmental and food security actions
- Training in ecological agriculture and restoration of degraded lands
- Support for women’s groups to attend strategy meetings on environment, climate change and agriculture organized by bodies such as district assemblies
The expected outcomes of these activities are: an increase in the number of women farmers adopting environmentally friendly agricultural methods in the dry lands; women farmers have new skills in ecological agriculture and land restoration; and increased knowledge among rural women farmers of successful farming methods that improve environment and food security dry lands.