Self Help Africa is working in partnership with implementing partners TRAX Ghana on a range of sustainable agricultural and environmental conservation activities amongst rural communities in the far north of Ghana close to the border with Burkina Faso.
Activities are being undertaken with communities in Dachio and Pelungu areas of Bolgatanga and Talensi/Nabdam districts, in the Upper East region of Ghana, and in Pagnatik and Mozio areas of Bunkpurugu andYunyoo districts of the Northern region.
The region is one of the least developed areas of Ghana. More than 70% of the economically active population are agricultural. The small population density is partly caused by emigration due to extreme poverty in the region.
The objectives of the TRAX Ghana project are to promote sustainable agricultural and environmental conservation practices to enable farmers to increase production and restore degraded lands.
The project is promotion soil conservation and low input farming activities such as composting and production of manure, land reclamation and the use of terracing, and is promoting alternate crop production, including groundnut and soy bean, and fruit trees.
Providing potable water for rural communities with perennial water problems is also being undertaken in a number of participating communities, while work is underway on training and developing the skills of local volunteer community trainers (CTs), and on lobbying government agencies to improve local water, health care and educational provision for the rural poor in Northern Ghana.
Putting farmers first - the training of “lead farmers” at the Duusi project area in the Upper East region of Ghana
Projects in Ghana are designed on the principles of sustainability and self help so that the activities will continue beyond the life of the project. The training of “Lead Farmers” is one way to achieve this.
Lead farmers are selected by the community because they have above-average skills, knowledge and talents. These experienced and skilled farmers are those best suited to train and motivate others. Their work is voluntary but they may receive in-kind donations from farmers they assist. The lead farmers are locally called Community Trainers (CTs), and are trained to act as a catalyst for development in their own communities after the end of a project phase.
In June 2008, 10 CTs were trained in participatory problems identification, prioritization and analysis as well as in formulation of community action plans.
Promotion of Improved Cooking Stoves in Dachio, Northern Ghana
Within northern Ghana’s rural farming communities, the majority of households use firewood for cooking. The firewood is burnt in a traditional ‘three stone’ open fire cooking mudstove. This traditional mudstove uses a lot of firewood, which contributes to the high deforestation level in the area. The traditional mudstove method is also time consuming for women and who have to travel long distances to collect wood.
In January 2008, TRAX Ghana commenced sustainable land management activities in Dachio by training farmers, especially women, in the construction and use of improved cooking stoves. These stoves are more efficient in burning wood, and thus save time and most importantly contribute to reduced deforestation.