Farm Radio Ghana partners discuss Nature-based Solutions ahead of radio documentary series rollout

Image credit: Chris Edwards

Following roughly six months of interactive radio programming in six regions across Ghana, Farm Radio International’s five-year On-Air for Gender-Inclusive Nature-based Solutions project is entering its second stage.

Now, Farm Radio is working with radio partners to share high-impact radio stories on how communities are working with nature to deal with the consequences of climate change.

During this turning point, the Farm Radio Ghana team met with 35 stakeholders and decision makers to discuss the support rural people need as they navigate the consequences of climate change.

The June 26 event, hosted at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in Accra, was also streamed online for additional project partners.

Farm Radio International is working with radio stations in six countries to create scripts, documentaries and radio programs about local Nature-based Solutions for climate change adaptation. The Accra office established a 15-person national advisory panel to help the project fit the priorities of listeners in Ghana.

Advisory panel member shares vision for Nature-based Solutions

National advisory panel member Ken Kinney presented how nature-based approaches to climate solutions can be most effective.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, “Nature-based Solutions” are efforts to protect or restore natural ecosystems to address environmental, social and economic challenges in a way that ultimately promotes human wellbeing.

National advisory panel member Ken Kinney
Image credit: Chris Edwards

Nature-based Solutions should be community actions to cooperate with nature to solve social and agricultural problems, Ken said. The solutions should be economically viable, evidence-based and promote ecosystem integrity.

For example, people who participate in Green Ghana Day each June by planting trees are engaging in a Nature-based Solution. 

“To successfully apply Nature-based Solutions in Ghana, it is essential to ensure strong policy support, cross-sectoral collaboration, community engagement and capacity building. Also, integrating NbS (Nature-based Solutions) into national policies, land use planning and development plans.” 

Ken also shared some concerns he had heard about scaling up Nature-based Solutions. He said certain standards for community rights and biodiversity could help avoid these potential issues. 

Some organizations, such as the Third World Network, have previously raised concerns that promoting Nature-based Solutions can justify deepening inequalities between countries or falsely suggest that climate change can be mitigated without reducing carbon outputs, said Ken. Meanwhile, the Global Forest Coalition is concerned that Nature-based Solutions can create “hype” for faulty solutions such as monoculture tree plantations. 

According to Ken, people involved in Nature-based Solutions must be aware of safeguards to avoid unintended harms. 

For example, standards for the conservation and creation of forests can be a safeguard from greenwashing. Nature-based Solutions should also safeguard community rights such as free, prior and informed consent, Ken noted. Meanwhile, climate adaptation should take place alongside efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

According to Farm Radio’s 2022 State of Play research, some Nature-based Solutions are less effective when climate change harms regular rainfall patterns or leads to new agricultural diseases. These are concerns that will be carefully considered when Farm Radio International runs radio programs on Nature-based Solutions in the coming years.

Watch our webinar about initial findings from our research about Nature-based Solutions in sub-Saharan Africa and Canada, including our State of Play research.

On Air Dialogues reveal high expectations for support from local, national and global sources

The majority of Farm Radio program listeners in six regions across Ghana expect various leaders, organizations and institutions to step up to help them adapt to climate change.

Country program manager Rosemond Ohene and radio craft officer Issac Mintah shared what listeners had told their local radio stations in response to questions aired during On Air Dialogue episodes.

More than 70 per cent of listeners said they strongly expect private businesses and the government to help them make changes to live with climate change. Listeners did not spare anyone from the expectation of support, including traditional and community leaders, Rosemond noted.

More than three in four listeners (79 per cent) reported their strong expectation that traditional and community leaders will provide support to help them adapt to climate change. Meanwhile, more than three in four listeners (78 per cent) said they expect the same from international non-governmental organizations.

When asked about who initiated a previous community action, a plurality of listeners said a community or traditional leader stepped up first (30 per cent). Others said the government (27 per cent) or international non-governmental organizations (20 per cent) initiated community actions.

Two in three (65 per cent) listeners said the voices of women had been taken into account during a community action in the past.

Participants at Farm Radio Ghana’s June 26 meeting also discussed the remaining gaps between men and women’s interactions with On Air Dialogues. For example, 305 men and only 95 women responded to the On Air Dialogue episode that asked whether the voices and interests of women were considered during a previous community action.

Benjamin Fiafor, Farm Radio International’s senior country representative for Ghana and Nigeria
Image credit: Chris Edwards

Benjamin Fiafor, the senior country representative of Ghana and Nigeria for Farm Radio International, noted that his team prioritizes sharing radio documentaries and programs that promote solutions which include women.

“We are looking at the Nature-based Solutions that contribute to gender equality and respond equitably to the needs, challenges and aspirations of men, women and the youth,” Benjamin said.

Listeners shared their perspectives by contacting their local radio station via a phone number that connects them to Uliza Interactive. Uliza is a Farm Radio platform which can collect short messages and responses to survey questions via a mobile phone at no cost to the caller.

Farm Radio’s partners helped design the On Air Dialogue survey questions during workshops. The results of these surveys help inform the upcoming documentaries, scripts and radio programs.

Key points on how listeners say they are seeing climate change affect their communities

> More than half (56 per cent) of listeners said that changes in the amount of available food had a very big impact on their community.
> Half of listeners said that newly arrived pests, diseases and weeds have a very big impact on their community.
> The majority of listeners (72 per cent) said there are now fewer varieties of animals.
> Three quarters said there are now fewer varieties of plants.

About the project
The On-Air for Gender-Inclusive Nature-based Solutions project is a 5-year project led by Farm Radio International in partnership with the Government of Canada that will use high-impact radio programs to work with local communities in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia to identify, share and support local Nature-based Solutions and amplify those solutions to a network of 3,500 broadcasters across 38 African countries so they can be duplicated across the continent.

About the author
Morgana Adby volunteered as a journalism intern for Farm Radio International in Ghana in summer 2023 for our project about Nature-based Solutions to climate change.

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