We’re going nuts in Ghana!

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Every day we read a new headline about the ‘climate crisis’. But did you know climate change is also bad for peace?

That’s because climate change puts greater pressure on the resources we all need to sustain life such as food and water. In doing so, it increases poverty, damages social cohesion, and creates more refugees by displacing people from their homes and communities. Sadly, it’s the poorest who are most affected.

Climate and conflict

Of the 20 countries ranked the most vulnerable and least ready to adapt to climate change, 12 are in conflict. And in Ghana, our team believes that a changing climate is one of the key causes of increasingly unreliable and unpredictable rainfall, leading to crop failure and increasing tension over land.

“Climate change has brought serious drought which badly affects the crops of our self-help groups” says Desmond, our Ghana Team Leader “On the other hand, it has led to more wind and storms which can easily rip the roofs off homes and cause destruction for communities already struggling in hardship”.

Going nuts for peace!

Now, we are seeking to launch a new practical peacemaking project which will support smallholder farmers to plant cashew trees. More than 60% of Africa’s population live in rural areas with agriculture as their main livelihood, and smallholders are particularly vulnerable to the changing climate. But while maize, yam, groundnut and vegetable crops are most at risk from the changing climate, cashews are much more resistant.

By farming cashews, we believe Ghana smallholders can diversify their income and reduce the effects of failed crops. As it helps to alleviate financial shocks and poverty, we hope it will also reduce the tensions around land ownership that we regularly see playing out across local communities. Crucially, and in line with our other projects, it will also enable us to bring together people from all sides of the tribal and clan divides to learn and work together in peace.

Next steps

Desmond senses that local people are keen to get involved in the project, because they can see that climate change is no longer a theory but a reality. “They are increasingly concerned by the ever-changing weather, the growing heat, the sporadic rainfall and the impact this has on their livelihood and their families,” he says.

With enthusiasm building, the next step for our team is to progress discussions with local chiefs and elders to win their support and secure land. With many different stakeholders and perspectives, this is a complex process. “We would appreciate your prayers as we commit this project into the hands of God, asking for positivity and unity as we discuss with local authorities!” Desmond asks.