The three Northern Regions in Ghana are the poorest regions with high poverty levels and remain dependent on food crop farming which is vulnerable to climate variability. Like many semi-arid zones, the Northern savannah area is characterized by a single rainfall pattern with a long dry period of between eight to seven months and as a result, the people of people experience single rain-fed crop production with effects such as low and poor yield. Due to the climate nature and vegetation the Northern region of Ghana has no alternative means of securing livelihood as infrastructure to support off-season farm activities are underdeveloped and/or non-existent
The cumulative consequence has been less and food insecurity with its attendance effects such as famine and poor nutrition especially for children and the aged. Songtaba with funding support from ECOWAS and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation developed an innovative social safety net project to mitigate against the effect of climate change and as well as provide some social safety protection for very vulnerable individuals and households. A number of social safety instruments are adopted under this initiative. Details of the various interventions and the social safety net instruments are explained below.
PROVIDE CONDITIONAL CASH TRANSFER TO ENHANCE INCOME
As part of the interventions to provide cash relief to selected vulnerable peoples, Songtaba will provide a total of 150 target beneficiaries with conditional cash transfer, starting with 75 persons in the first year of the project. An Amount of twenty-five Dollars (USD25) per month in 12 months will be provided and beneficiaries requested to fulfill the following
- Children of school-going age to be enrolled and remain in school
- Adopt the use of tippy taps (a simple hand washing mechanism) to ensure handwashing after visiting toilets and before eating
- Register (which is free for 60+ years persons in Ghana) and use the National Health Insurance scheme.
In all, a total of 150 vulnerable people will receive USD25 per month for 12 months for the entire life of the project.
SUPPORT IN DEVELOPING IRRIGABLE LAND SPACE FOR OFF-FARM ACTIVITIES THROUGH COMMUNITY INTEREST WORK INSTRUMENT
Songtaba will mobilize a total of 350 abled people from the households and communities to represent the targeted beneficiary of the project and work on rehabilitation (a total of 225) and planting of trees (125) and provided with food via coupon. These food supply will be sent back to the targeted beneficiaries
Songtaba as part of the activities to support off-farm activities will work with the community through community interest work instruments to prepare irrigable lands for off-farm season activities. Subsequent to this Songtaba will support 260 community members with an average of 17 per the 10 communities. These farmers will be informed from the target beneficiaries in instances where such beneficiaries are unable to farm directly. A total of five coupons and five groups with a pump as follows;
·Small pump for a group of 6
· Seedlings (vegetables)
· Extension support via the Department of Agriculture
· Pesticides and fertilizer
SUPPORT HONEY PRODUCTION
A total of 100 beneficiaries will be supported and trained on honey production and sales to diversify their livelihood activities for increased income. Songtaba will advertise for suppliers of beehives and accessories as well as training and select the lowest bidder. Songtaba will orient the communities and provide coupons for the following
- Beehives with bee colonies and full frames per beehive
- Pair of suits and hand gloves
- Pair of wellington boots,
- Hats and smokers
- Solar honey extractors
- Other working tools include cutlasses, knives, touch lights, plastic buckets, and basins