WACDEP Demo projects raise hope to village communities of Tampizua 2 and Azum Sapelga in Ghana!

The village communities of Tampizua II in the Bawku Municipality and Azum Sapelga in the Binduri district of Northern Ghana are very happy with the field demonstration project being implemented in their communities. Located on the borders of the White Volta River these communities are experiencing various unfortunate situations such as floodings that are affecting their livelihoods because of climate related factors.

“If it rains you cannot do anything in this area which overfloods” says Charles Akwotiga, the Bawku Municipal director of Agriculture. The village is one of the many villages located on the banks of the river and during rainy seasons experience overflowing. Because of the decrease of rains during the last decades people occupied the buffer zones and trees on the river banks have been destroyed.

Dry season farming is very important for the communities and they used to dig wells to water their gardens. The wells are dug on the river banks and this facilitates siltation of the riverbed. So the dry season farming practices erode the river banks and that is why they need to be restored. The idea of restoration is to define buffer zones and plant trees in agreement with farmers who will protect them. A surface area of 90 meters wide and five (5) kilometers long was defined on both sides of the rivers.

In agreement with landowners, a selection of trees was done including mango, mahogany, etc. These trees will contribute both to the restoration of the ecosystems and provide fruit that contribute to improving the livelihood of farmers.

The farmers are trained on tree planting, protection technics and they are educated to accept to leave a buffer zone and not cut trees on the buffer zone.

In the village of Tampizua 29 farmers volunteered to plant trees in their farms in the river banks, they will protect the trees and water them during the dry season.

Farmers fear during rainy seasons the spillage of the Bagré dam in Burkina which generally brings flooding. 

An experience in Mongnore, a village not far from Tampizua 2 carried out by another project some years ago was a good practice that throws light on how farmers should act. There were community interactions with farmers from Mognore who speak the same language.

“The project is doing the work we should have done, so we are much committed to its success”, says the village community leader of Tampizua 2.

The implementing partners organize communities so that the project implementation is accompanied by other revenue generating activities like small ruminants breeding, livestock activities. The communities learn to organize themselves better and set up a community monitoring system.

Government services are contributing to the implementation of the activities because it is part of their mandate included in the Government agenda at district level to contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of the populations.

And according to Abdallah Seidu Ali, Forest services division of Bawku « you have to go to people and find out what they are doing on the ground to be able to better plan ».

In Binduri the same project is being implemented and according to Zacharia Abdul- Razak, Binduri district schedule officer discussions were done with community members to diagnose their problems and on their desire to change. The problems identified include the flooding of farmlands every year during the rainy the season that leads to the destruction of crops. This has a great impact on living conditions of the communities. To improve the livelihoods a number of activities were suggested by the communities including livestock, dry season farming, water harvesting, and tree planting.

To make the process participatory and totally owned by the population, working groups were set up in the community to find out the farmers who are working in various areas. Community Base organizations were also identified with the activity areas. Because of the bad farming practices brought out to the knowledge of the community as one of the factor behind the regular flooding, people said that the community was ready to accept change since their main worry was about how to face the bad effects of the flooding.

The Forestry services supported the project implementation by providing their own plant nursery. In Binduri the surface area is also of 90 meters wide and 5 km long on both sides of the river as buffer zone of the river that will be protected by planting trees in order to minimize the effect of flooding.

50% of the population involved in the project is female who take part in all meetings with the community. The meeting turnover is very good and women, leaders, and youth take part in high numbers to meetings.

There is no land conflict in the area because of some traditional rules which says that anybody involve in land conflict should leave the community forever.