This reports highlights the findings from a research project conducted by the University of Development Studies, Ghana, in response to the ‘Preparedness and Resilience Research’ small grants program (Phase I) implemented by Response 2 Resilience Institute and the Global Disaster Preparedness Center.
The movement of nomadic herdsmen from the Sahel into forest areas is a natural response to the dwindling forest cover of the Sahelian ecological belt of Africa. The herdsmen encroach on farmlands, cut trees to feed their flocks, and deplete limited water resources. The resulting environmental degradation often pitches them against host communities, with occasional outbreaks of violent conflicts. This study assessed community perceptions about the activities of nomadic herdsmen and climate variability in order to find pathways to reduce vulnerability, improve adaptive capacity, and promote mutual cohabitation among nomads and indigenes. Respondents were randomly sampled from three communities (Wiesi, Fumbisi, and Kanjarga) in Builsa South District. Ten key informants and participants in five focus groups confirmed that communities in the district know about climate change and its effects on livelihoods and that the activities of nomadic herdsmen worsen the effects of climate variability. They also adversely affect farmers’ livelihoods, especially those of women who depend on shea butter processing. While host communities want to expel the nomadic herdsmen, proper management can benefit both them and the nomads.