Gender and occupational perspectives on adaptation to climate extremes in the Afram Plains of Ghana

Abstract

Although sub-Saharan Africa does not contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, significant adverse impacts of climate change are anticipated in this region. Countries in West Africa, which are heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture, are projected to experience more frequent and intense droughts, altered rainfall patterns and increases in temperature through the end of this century. Changes in hydrology and temperature are likely to affect crop yields, thereby placing pressure on scarce resources in a region that is characterised by limited social, political, technical and financial resources. The success with which communities cope with the impacts of climate change is influenced by existing conditions, forces and characteristics which are peculiar to each of these communities. This paper assesses the preferred adaptation strategies during floods and droughts of males and females in three different occupations (farming, fishing, and charcoal production). Findings are based upon an analysis of focus group discussions and a ranking of preferred adaptation options in three communities in the Afram Plains of Ghana. Assessments of this nature should aid in the selection and implementation of adaptation options for communities and households, which is the level at which climate change adaptation is likely to occur in West Africa.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Linguistically, the population of Ghana can be divided into four broad divisions: Akan (comprise about 20 sub-ethnic groups with similar cultural, social and political institutions and customs); Mole-Dagbani, Ewe, Ga-Dangme and Other minority ethnic groupings. As of 2000, the Akan represents the largest ethnic group with about 49% of the total population; Mole-Dagbani (16.5%); Ewe (12.7%); Ga-Dangme (8%) and Others (13.7%).

  2. 2.

    Mitigation is defined by the IPCC (2007, page 878) as “An anthropogenic intervention to reduce the anthropogenic forcing of the climate system; it includes strategies to reduce greenhouse gas sources and emissions and enhancing greenhouse gas sinks.”

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Acknowledgement

We are grateful to the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) for providing funds for the Food Security and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Afram Plains Project (# CCP 07 08). Further support from the Climate Change and Learning Observatory Network in Ghana Project (EEM-A-00-66-00014) sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development is also acknowledged. We are also grateful to Petra Tschakert of the Penn State University and Regina Sagoe of the Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana for assisting with data collection. We also want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the anonymous reviewers and the Editor-in-Chief for their useful and constructive suggestions, which has greatly enhanced the quality of this paper.

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Correspondence to Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe.

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Codjoe, S.N.A., Atidoh, L.K. & Burkett, V. Gender and occupational perspectives on adaptation to climate extremes in the Afram Plains of Ghana. Climatic Change 110, 431–454 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-011-0237-z

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Keywords

  • Adaptation Strategy
  • Seasonal Forecast
  • Fish Pond
  • Male Fisher
  • Charcoal Producer