Some communities in the Lawra Municipality and Nandom District of the Upper West Region have received support to develop community disaster management plans to mitigate the impact of disasters.
This was necessary because the communities have in the past suffered from the impact of disasters such as floods, drought, bush burning, pest infestation, road accidents and conflicts among others due to ignorance on disaster risk preparedness.
These community disaster management plans were developed with the collaborative efforts of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD).
Speaking during a validation workshop in Lawra, Mr Daniel Banuoku, a Deputy Director in charge of CIKOD North, noted that the initiative was part of their effort as an organisation to build sustainable systems before exiting.
He said in the last six years, there had been enormous investment in the two beneficiary districts particularly focusing on the growing crisis of environmental degradation and the implications on vulnerable groups and communities.
“We have been working to develop mechanisms and systems using agricultural mechanism as an approach to reverse environmental degradation, soil fertility and the incidence of hunger and malnutrition among these communities”, he said.
Mr Banuoku noted that working with over 5,000 farmers in both Lawra and Nandom through the Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) and the water and soil management technology approaches to reverse degraded landscapes for the past six years, they have achieved very significant impact in terms of change.
He added that in order not to compromise the successes chalked, there was the need to build systems that would make the communities resilient so that in case of unpredicted disasters, the communities would still be able to stand on their feet.
The Deputy Director of CIKOD North indicated that disaster planning was not common among communities in Ghana, noting that what they had done had conscientised the communities to start thinking about the unforeseen things and take actions to prevent them from occurring.
Mr Dramani File, Upper West Regional Operations Officer for NADMO, pointed out that disaster management was more effective if planned together with the communities.
He said NADMO due to lack of resources, had a problem with planning District specific disaster management plans, adding that for CIKOD to take it to community-specific, was worth commendable.
Mr File said the participation of communities in the preparation of the plans would encourage them to see disaster management as a duty.
As such, they would, therefore, carry out disaster risk reduction campaigns such as embarking on clean up exercises, refusal to build or farm on waterways and elimination of unauthorised speed rams to prevent accidents among others contained in the plans.
He said the community disaster plans would feed into the Municipal and District Assemblies disaster management plans during the development of their Medium Term Development Plans (MTDPs).
Naa Baanye Felix Yiriyelle III, the Chief of Kalsagri said he was happy that the plans were developed out of the communities own understanding of their disaster risk situations.
He added that with the right support and monitoring mechanisms in place, activities contained in the plans would be followed religiously by the communities in order to make disasters a thing of the past.