When RAINS in 2013 decided to roll out “Climate Change Adaptation in Northern Ghana Enhanced (CHANGE)” project in the Savelugu-Nanton Municipality, there was very little hope for beneficiary communities that they would succeed or make any substantial gains.
However, two years after its implementation, the Regional Advisory Information and Network Systems (RAINS) and the people of Yilikpani, Zoosali, Kpachelo, Tindang and Langa communities in the Savelugu-Nanton Municipality, have all counted and continued to count many gains made by the project even as it entered its third year 2015.
Some of the most outstanding gains cited by RAINS included low incidences of bush burning as well as high crop yields for farmers in all five beneficiary communities. Overall, about 450 people have benefited so far from the CHANGE project.
In view of this, Mohammed Kamel Damma, CHANGE Project Officer at RAINS, told Savannahnews, that the Municipal Assembly had seen the viability of the project and decided to integrate it into its Medium-Term Development Plan (MTDP).
Speaking at a community engagement meeting at Savelugu, Mr. Damma encouraged other communities in the municipality to desist from practices that increase climate change vulnerability effects, and do well to counter prevailing situations with some of the lessons that were taught in the CHANGE project communities over the past two years.
Alhaji Inusah Abukari, Planning Officer, Savelugu-Nanton Municipal Assembly, confirmed the enormous benefits CHANGE had brought to the people. In order to ensure its sustainability, he said the Assembly had decided to integrate CHANGE into its MTDP.
He explained that the CHANGE project objectives fitted perfectly into the objectives of Resilience in Northern Ghana (RING), a project similar to CHANGE and being implemented by the Assembly with funding support from USAID.
A five-year project which started in 2013, RING is intended to improve the livelihoods and nutritional status of the poorest households, with emphasis on pregnant and lactating mothers as well as children under five years of age in 16 other districts in the Northern Region.
Alhaji Abukari further noted that, through RING, the aforementioned communities would benefit from a village savings and loans scheme, distribution of small ruminants, linking of sheanuts farmers and processors to lucrative markets as well as skills training in livelihood improvement programmes.
While expressing satisfaction with the commitment being made by the Assembly towards ensuring the sustainability of the project, Mr. Damma also encouraged beneficiary communities to support the former to succeed since the outcome of the project would enhance their life aspirations positively.
Mohammed, a resident of one of the beneficiary communities also lauded the Assembly for seeing the need to integrate the CHANGE project into its MTDP and urged officials of the Assembly not to be discriminatory during implementation.
Like many of his fellow beneficiaries, he also commended RAINS for their support in recent times in the areas of food security initiatives and improvement in education delivery that had affected the lives of communities positively.
CHANGE is being funded by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) and the Canadian Feed The Children (CFTC). Apart from the Savelugu-Nanton Municipality where it was implemented by RAINS, CHANGE also benefited thousands of people in the Upper East and Upper West Regions through the support of Trade Aid Integrated and Tumu Deanery Rural Integrated Development Programme.
About 84,000 women and men smallholder farmers in 17 communities in the district and municipalities of Savelugu-Nanton, Sissala East in the Upper West and Bolgatanga in the Upper East Regions were targeted to improve adaptive capacity and resilience to improve the impacts of climate change on agriculture, food security and livelihoods.
Meanwhile, RAINS is a non-governmental organisation set up by a group of social development activists in Northern Ghana in 1993. Since its foundation, RAINS has focused on improving the quality of life particularly for children, women, girls and the disabled in the Northern Region.