Friday, 25 November 2011

BUILDING RESILIENCE THROUGH INNOVATION IN GHANA

Africa Storytelling Project


Anabig Ayaab is a 50 year old farmer from Tariganga, Garu-Tempane District, in the dry Savannah Zone of the Upper East Region of Ghana. Also a wife and mother of seven, Anabig has been struggling with how shifting weather patterns have been affecting her ability to feed her family and make a living. 
Three years ago, Anabig was among a group of women who took part in the Village Savings and Loans Project implemented by CARE International in Northern Ghana. The project aims to build capacity and further empower women like Anabig, and communities like Tariganga, to diversify their farming systems and make good choices as they adapt to the impacts of climate change.
As with most of the families in Tariganga, Anabig depends almost entirely on the land for producing food and generating income through crop farming, dry season gardening, animal rearing, and petty trade. But the growing frequency of severe drought continues to destroy crops, reduce the availability of water, increase disease in animals and spread hunger and poverty across the region. For Anabig’s family the lack of food during the dry season has become a yearly inevitability.

“In recent years, farming has become more difficult. The soils are less fertile, seeds have become more expensive to acquire and the rains come late and leave early”, says Anabig.

After taking part in the savings and loan project, Anabig put her new knowledge of farming practices to work. Making compost instead of buying inorganic fertilizer, recognizing that deforestation hurts her environment and understanding how best to invest in her farm, Anabig has seen an important increase in her crop yields.

“I was able to acquire improved seeds of maize from the seed growers by taking a loan from my savings group. I bought enough seeds, which I shared with my husband. The results are very exciting. On my own, I harvested 5 bags of maize from my 2.5 acres of farmland, compared to 2 bags the previous years. My husband harvested 9 bags from his farm as compared to 5 bags in previous years. We used the improved seeds combined with use of farm residue as organic fertilizer and this has brought a lot of excitement to my family. There is now peace, unity and love in my family. My husband now respects me and I feel happy to be among my fellow women in the community”, says Anabig.

The increased yields have enabled Anabig and her husband to insure their family under Ghana’s national health insurance scheme, and to provide her children with all the supplies they need for school. 

Anabig’s openness to learning new skills and diversifying her family’s farming systems is an important example of adaptive success in the face of the serious impacts of climate change. Building on what she has experienced, Anabig hopes to learn more about how to design and apply community-based adaptation strategies, increase the resilience of her livelihood choices and reduce the risk of disaster throughout her community.

For more information about Anabig’s story visit: http://www.careclimatechange.org/personal-stories

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