Traditional and Local Knowledge Practices for Disaster Risk Reduction in Northern Ghana

Ngwese, N. M. S., et al., 2018. Sustainability

Original research (primary data)
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Abstract

In order to deal with recurrent disasters, like floods and droughts coupled with the limited adaptive capacity, in the semiarid regions of Northern Ghana, local communities have no choice but to apply traditional and local knowledge practices. This study seeks to identify such practices employed in selected rural communities in Northern Ghana and to investigate their effectiveness. Data were collected through key informant interviews, household questionnaire surveys, focus group discussions, and participant observations. The findings indicated that although diverse practices were applied to predict and manage local disaster events, skepticism prevailed among locals toward these practices regarding their effectiveness. Due to the lack of science-based tools and systems for disaster prediction and management, local communities continually depended on these knowledge systems and practices. Integrating local and traditional disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts into modern scientific knowledge should be encouraged in order to reduce the vulnerability of local communities to disasters with thorough effectiveness evaluation protocols.

Case studies

Basic information

  • Case ID: INT-257-4
  • Intervention type: Created habitats
  • Intervention description:

    local and traditional disaster risk reduction (DRR). the residents resorted to planting small patches of plantations around their villages to counter such effects.

  • Landscape/sea scape ecosystem management: No
  • Climate change impacts Effect of Nbs on CCI Effect measures
    Wind damage  Positive **Positive effects and same outcome measures for both impacts Soil erosion/Wind damage: No quantified outcome measures but based on interview/focus group/questionnaire statements on perceptions of local community members ““In Yoggu, 82.5% of the respondents were aware that trees around the village are used to mitigate windstorm effects (Figure 6). Likewise, in Chietanga, 80% of the respondents were involved in tree planting around homes to mitigate the effects of strong winds (figure 6). The household interview results showed a high perception of effectiveness to the different windstorm coping practices. … The majority of respondents perceive these practices as effective.”.” Statements for how intervention is effective for mitigating windstorms relevant for erosion and wind damage b/c "Soil erosion and damage to rooftops are the principal consequences of windstorms"
    Soil erosion  Positive **Positive effects and same outcome measures for both impacts Soil erosion/Wind damage: No quantified outcome measures but based on interview/focus group/questionnaire statements on perceptions of local community members ““In Yoggu, 82.5% of the respondents were aware that trees around the village are used to mitigate windstorm effects (Figure 6). Likewise, in Chietanga, 80% of the respondents were involved in tree planting around homes to mitigate the effects of strong winds (figure 6). The household interview results showed a high perception of effectiveness to the different windstorm coping practices. … The majority of respondents perceive these practices as effective.”.” Statements for how intervention is effective for mitigating windstorms relevant for erosion and wind damage b/c "Soil erosion and damage to rooftops are the principal consequences of windstorms"
  • Approach implemented in the field: Yes
  • Specific location:

    Northern ghana, rural community "Yoggu in Tolon District of the Northern Region"

  • Country: Ghana
  • Habitat/Biome type: Created forest |
  • Issue specific term: Not applicable

Evidence

  • Notes on intervention effectivness: effectiveness determined by focus groups, interviews, questionaires to gain knowledge of local community's perception of intervention effectiveness
  • Is the assessment original?: Yes
  • Broadtype of intervention considered: Not applicable
  • Compare effectivness?: No
  • Compared to the non-NBS approach: Not applicable
  • Report greenhouse gas mitigation?: No
  • Impacts on GHG: Not applicable
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on natural ecosystems: No
  • Impacts for the ecosystem: Not reported
  • Ecosystem measures: N/A
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on people: Yes
  • Impacts for people: Positive
  • People measures: Same as climate impacts because outcomes directly associated with benefits to the local community **Positive effects and same outcome measures for both impacts Soil erosion/Wind damage: No quantified outcome measures but based on interview/focus group/questionnaire statements on perceptions of local community members ““In Yoggu, 82.5% of the respondents were aware that trees around the village are used to mitigate windstorm effects (Figure 6). Likewise, in Chietanga, 80% of the respondents were involved in tree planting around homes to mitigate the effects of strong winds (figure 6). The household interview results showed a high perception of effectiveness to the different windstorm coping practices. … The majority of respondents perceive these practices as effective.”.”
  • Considers economic costs: No
  • Economic appraisal conducted: No
  • Economic appraisal described:
  • Economic costs of alternative considered: No
  • Compared to an alternative: Not reported

Evaluation methodology

  • Type of data: Qualitative
  • Is it experimental: No
  • Experimental evalution done: Not applicable
  • Non-experimental evalution done: Empirical case study
  • Study is systematic:

Basic information

  • Case ID: INT-257-3
  • Intervention type: Protection
  • Intervention description:

    In Yoggu, there are dugouts within the community to trap the freshwater that is used by locals and livestock during the dry season. To mitigate the effects of droughts on these dugouts, local people avoid cutting trees around dugouts, even during the driest periods of the year when fuelwood becomes very scarce…[later described as] Traditional taboos, forbidding residents from cutting trees around dugouts or secret grooves, equally contribute to reducing drought impacts in the study area, specifically in Yoggu.

  • Landscape/sea scape ecosystem management: No
  • Climate change impacts Effect of Nbs on CCI Effect measures
    Reduced water availability  Positive Water availability: [Positive] No quantified outcome measures but based on interview/focus group/questionnaire statements on perceptions of local community members “equally contribute to reducing drought impacts in the study area, specifically in Yoggu” but note they also state “However, the results show that the perceived effectiveness of these coping strategies is very low.”  coded as positive but note it appears to be a low positive effect
  • Approach implemented in the field: Yes
  • Specific location:

    Northern ghana, rural community "Yoggu in Tolon District of the Northern Region"

  • Country: Ghana
  • Habitat/Biome type: Tropical and subtropical grasslands |
  • Issue specific term: Not applicable

Evidence

  • Notes on intervention effectivness: effectiveness determined by focus groups, interviews, questionaires to gain knowledge of local community's perception of intervention effectiveness
  • Is the assessment original?: Yes
  • Broadtype of intervention considered: Not applicable
  • Compare effectivness?: Please select
  • Compared to the non-NBS approach: Not applicable
  • Report greenhouse gas mitigation?: No
  • Impacts on GHG: Not applicable
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on natural ecosystems: No
  • Impacts for the ecosystem: Not reported
  • Ecosystem measures: N/A
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on people: Yes
  • Impacts for people: Positive
  • People measures: Same as climate impacts because outcomes directly associated with benefits to the local community "Water availability: [Positive] No quantified outcome measures but based on interview/focus group/questionnaire statements on perceptions of local community members “equally contribute to reducing drought impacts in the study area, specifically in Yoggu” but note they also state “However, the results show that the perceived effectiveness of these coping strategies is very low.”  coded as positive but note it appears to be a low positive effect"
  • Considers economic costs: No
  • Economic appraisal conducted: No
  • Economic appraisal described:
  • Economic costs of alternative considered: No
  • Compared to an alternative: Not reported

Evaluation methodology

  • Type of data: Qualitative
  • Is it experimental: No
  • Experimental evalution done: Not applicable
  • Non-experimental evalution done: Empirical case study
  • Study is systematic:

Basic information

  • Case ID: INT-257-2
  • Intervention type: Created habitats
  • Intervention description:

    local and traditional disaster risk reduction (DRR). the residents resorted to planting small patches of plantations around their villages to counter such effects.

  • Landscape/sea scape ecosystem management: No
  • Climate change impacts Effect of Nbs on CCI Effect measures
    Soil erosion  Positive **Positive effects and same outcome measures for both impacts Soil erosion/Wind damage: No quantified outcome measures but based on interview/focus group/questionnaire statements on perceptions of local community members ““In Yoggu, 82.5% of the respondents were aware that trees around the village are used to mitigate windstorm effects (Figure 6). Likewise, in Chietanga, 80% of the respondents were involved in tree planting around homes to mitigate the effects of strong winds (figure 6). The household interview results showed a high perception of effectiveness to the different windstorm coping practices. … The majority of respondents perceive these practices as effective.”.” Statements for how intervention is effective for mitigating windstorms relevant for erosion and wind damage b/c "Soil erosion and damage to rooftops are the principal consequences of windstorms"
    Wind damage  Positive **Positive effects and same outcome measures for both impacts Soil erosion/Wind damage: No quantified outcome measures but based on interview/focus group/questionnaire statements on perceptions of local community members ““In Yoggu, 82.5% of the respondents were aware that trees around the village are used to mitigate windstorm effects (Figure 6). Likewise, in Chietanga, 80% of the respondents were involved in tree planting around homes to mitigate the effects of strong winds (figure 6). The household interview results showed a high perception of effectiveness to the different windstorm coping practices. … The majority of respondents perceive these practices as effective.”.” Statements for how intervention is effective for mitigating windstorms relevant for erosion and wind damage b/c "Soil erosion and damage to rooftops are the principal consequences of windstorms"
  • Approach implemented in the field: Yes
  • Specific location:

    Northern ghana, rural community "Chietanga in Wa West District of the Upper West Region"

  • Country: Ghana
  • Habitat/Biome type: Created forest |
  • Issue specific term: Not applicable

Evidence

  • Notes on intervention effectivness: effectiveness determined by focus groups, interviews, questionaires to gain knowledge of local community's perception of intervention effectiveness
  • Is the assessment original?: Yes
  • Broadtype of intervention considered: Not applicable
  • Compare effectivness?: No
  • Compared to the non-NBS approach: Not applicable
  • Report greenhouse gas mitigation?: No
  • Impacts on GHG: Not applicable
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on natural ecosystems: No
  • Impacts for the ecosystem: Not reported
  • Ecosystem measures: n/a
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on people: Yes
  • Impacts for people: Positive
  • People measures: Same as climate impacts because outcomes directly associated with benefits to the local community. **Positive effects and same outcome measures for both impacts Soil erosion/Wind damage: No quantified outcome measures but based on interview/focus group/questionnaire statements on perceptions of local community members ““In Yoggu, 82.5% of the respondents were aware that trees around the village are used to mitigate windstorm effects (Figure 6). Likewise, in Chietanga, 80% of the respondents were involved in tree planting around homes to mitigate the effects of strong winds (figure 6). The household interview results showed a high perception of effectiveness to the different windstorm coping practices. … The majority of respondents perceive these practices as effective.”.”
  • Considers economic costs: Please select
  • Economic appraisal conducted: No
  • Economic appraisal described:
  • Economic costs of alternative considered: No
  • Compared to an alternative: Not reported

Evaluation methodology

  • Type of data: Qualitative
  • Is it experimental: No
  • Experimental evalution done: Not applicable
  • Non-experimental evalution done: Empirical case study
  • Study is systematic:

Basic information

  • Case ID: INT-257-1
  • Intervention type: Protection
  • Intervention description:

    In Yoggu, there are dugouts within the community to trap the freshwater that is used by locals and livestock during the dry season. To mitigate the effects of droughts on these dugouts, local people avoid cutting trees around dugouts, even during the driest periods of the year when fuelwood becomes very scarce…[later described as] Traditional taboos, forbidding residents from cutting trees around dugouts or secret grooves, equally contribute to reducing drought impacts in the study area, specifically in Yoggu.

  • Landscape/sea scape ecosystem management: No
  • Climate change impacts Effect of Nbs on CCI Effect measures
    Reduced water availability  Positive Water availability: [Positive] No quantified outcome measures but based on interview/focus group/questionnaire statements on perceptions of local community members “equally contribute to reducing drought impacts in the study area, specifically in Yoggu” but note they also state “However, the results show that the perceived effectiveness of these coping strategies is very low.”  coded as positive but note it appears to be a low positive effect
  • Approach implemented in the field: Yes
  • Specific location:

    Northern ghana, rural community "Chietanga in Wa West District of the Upper West Region"

  • Country: Ghana
  • Habitat/Biome type: Tropical and subtropical grasslands |
  • Issue specific term: Not applicable

Evidence

  • Notes on intervention effectivness: effectiveness determined by focus groups, interviews, questionnaires to gain knowledge of local community's perception of intervention effectiveness
  • Is the assessment original?: Yes
  • Broadtype of intervention considered: Not applicable
  • Compare effectivness?: No
  • Compared to the non-NBS approach: Not applicable
  • Report greenhouse gas mitigation?: No
  • Impacts on GHG: Not applicable
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on natural ecosystems: No
  • Impacts for the ecosystem: Not reported
  • Ecosystem measures: n/a
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on people: Yes
  • Impacts for people: Positive
  • People measures: Same as climate impacts because outcomes directly associated with benefits to the local community
  • Considers economic costs: No
  • Economic appraisal conducted: No
  • Economic appraisal described:
  • Economic costs of alternative considered: No
  • Compared to an alternative: Not reported

Evaluation methodology

  • Type of data: Qualitative
  • Is it experimental: No
  • Experimental evalution done: Not applicable
  • Non-experimental evalution done: Empirical case study
  • Study is systematic: