Developing a Community-Based Resilience Assessment Model with reference to Northern Ghana
Faced with adversarial climatic and physical conditions and an inept socioeconomic development priorities, Northern Ghana remains one of the regions that are most vulnerable to climate-related shocks and disturbances in semi-arid Africa. Because of the effect of frequent floods, droughts, and bushfires, entire livelihoods in Ghana’s predominantly smallholder agricultural population are under threat. In this paper, we present a model for community-based resilience assessment. This model was developed through an experiment conducted in selected rural communities in the Tolon and Wa West Districts in the Northern and Upper West Regions of Ghana. This experiment underpinned an ongoing five-year collaborative research project, Climate and Ecosystem Change Adaptation and Resilience Research in Semi-Arid Africa: An Integrated Approach (CECAR-Africa), and involved researchers and scientists from institutions in Ghana and Japan. Drawing on the findings from extensive literature review, field surveys, focus group discussions, unstructured interviews with various stakeholders, and participatory observations, we developed a matrix for assessing the different categories of community resilience (ecological, engineering, and socioeconomic). The outcome of this resilience matrix, herein called an “integrated” assessment model, offers a mix of factors that could improve societal reorganization when faced with shocks or disturbances. The integrated model provides a workable assessment criteria and key indicators for community level resilience assessments. This experiment proved valuable and highly effective in selecting case study communities for CECAR-Africa. The next step will involve the testing and development of similar criteria and indicators to measure household level resilience.
Climate and ecosystem change; Ghana; Community resilience; Integrated assessment model; Floods; Droughts