Silencing the fires on our bushes
We seek to silence fires on the bushes that perpetuate poverty in the Sahel Upper East Region of Ghana.
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
I am 18 years old or older.
Initiative's representative name
Initiative's representative date of birth
Initiative's representative gender
Headquarters location: country
Headquarters location: city
Where are you making a difference?
Ghana, Upper East Region, Navrongo, Sandema, Fumbisi and Bongo
Website or social media url(s)
Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working toward the next level of expansion)
Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?
1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.
Since 2001, with the dawn of the Millennium Development Goals, I joined the University for Development Studies, Tamale Students Representative Council where I became the Coordinator for Outreach Programmes. We won a National Grant from the Government of Ghana on creating awareness among women and young girls on the Millennium Development Goal 7: ensure environmental sustainability. The outreach revealed that this goal was nearly impossible to achieve unless women are empowered to become active participants rather than passive receivers of national resources.
We established over 1,000 school girls clubs in over 100 Senior High Schools in Northern Ghana focusing on tree planting and livelihood empowerment of young women and girls.
2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
According to the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategies I & II, Ghana Statistical Service 2010 Population and Housing Census, the Upper East Region is the poorest among the 16 regions of Ghana. However, apart from the fact that it is endowed with a lot of potential, it is also well noted for its high calibre of human resource. Agriculture and biodiversity are the greatest potentials in the Region.
3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
The project has been using stakeholder engagement with District Assemblies in formulating bye-laws, community leadership, community watchdogs’ recruitment and empowerment, farmer groups’ training, local drama and social media awareness creation & community mobilization approaches. The project:
1. engages District Assemblies to formulate and enforce bye-laws against bushfires:
2. engages community leadership to deliberate on and agree on strategies to end bushfires;
3. recruits and trains bushfire watchdogs and empowers them on social media prompt reporting;
4. trains farmer groups in the 4 districts mentioned on agroecology;
5. uses local drama and social media to create awareness and mobilise community action against bushfires and tree planting.
4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?
This project blends both new and old cutting edge approaches in a 21st Century manner. Our 2019/2020 research on bushfire specifically proved that a multi-dimensional approach is needed to stop this canker. The research showed that the local government decision making structures called the District Assemblies have the duty to formulate bye-laws and enforce them to stop bushfires. However, most of the Assemblies lack the capacity and resources to carry out these activities. Also, the research showed that though using community watchdogs to prevent bushfires has not been a new issue, it has been abandoned by communities entirely. Further, our research showed that social media has become a powerful tool for awareness creation on bushfire.
5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?
The project currently has collaboration with:
1. The Ghana Voices of Youth Coalition: a youth-led platform for advocacy and action in shaping the development agenda of Ghana.
2. District Assemblies: decentralized arms of government that formulate and enforce bye-laws.
3. Community leaders: local decision makers in the four districts and in the communities where bushfires are eroding the gains of ensuring food security and biodiversity conservation.
4. Farmer groups: farmers who group to cultivate crops and plant trees.
6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?
So far, this project has trained 10 farmer groups on agroecology and tree planting. A total of 1000 trees have been planted. Also, 4 local drama groups have been formed and creating awareness on the effects of bushfire on for security and biodiversity conservation. Four District Assemblies are currently holding bye-laws sessions on bushfire prevention and hope to complete by the end of the first quarter of this year. Social media campaigns have begun and reaching so far to about 5,000 audiences while the four districts now have community watchdogs on bushfire prevention and prompt reporting. Progress will be measured by the number of farmer groups trained on agroecology and tree planting, the existence of bye-laws and enforcement strategies for the four districts, the number of audience reached on social media, prompt reporting of bushfires by community watchdogs and the number of communities and people reached through local community drama. Also, community leaders engaged.
7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?
This project hopes to scale its activities in four districts to 15 districts in the Upper East Region in 5 years’ time. It is envisage that all the districts in the region have bye-laws and enforced, community leaders in the 15 districts have local strategies and enforcing them to prevent bushfires, farmer groups, especially women’s groups throughout the region have training on agroecology and tree planting and are applying the new knowledge gained, community watchdogs exist in all the 15 districts in local communities and reporting bushfire incidences to fire service and the District Assemblies and culprits are brought to book while social media campaigns and local drama are carried in all communities in the 15 districts on bushfires.
8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?
In the long run, this project will achieve food security and conserve biodiversity in the Upper East Region because bushfires that devastate farms will be a thing of the past. Farmers will also now use modern methods of farming such as the use of locally made compost rather than the application of chemicals that deplete the environment. Ghana seeks to earn more foreign exchange through the massive use of the potentials of the four districts to produce rice and vegetables for local consumption and export. Local businesses in the area of cereals and vegetables will thrive as more produce will be harvested for sale in the absence of bushfires and nutritional status of farmers increased.
9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?
This project is financially sustainable because financial resources are only needed at the beginning to fully implement its activities and thereafter the project continues to run from the knowledge farmer groups gain, bye-laws in existence and enforced and social media campaigns and local drama awareness creation continues. The community watchdogs will also continue to operate and report cases.
10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?
This project has two leads: project director and monitoring and evaluation officers who both hold Masters degrees who lead in implementing the project. It has 5 field officers who are in charge of implementing activities at the community level. The field officers all hold Bachelor’s degrees. There are 20 community volunteers who assist to organize activities at the community level. There is a board of 5 members, two are professors in different fields of learning, two hold doctorate degrees.
11. How did you hear about this challenge?