Dressed in a green “batakari” (long attire) with a red hat, Adama Musah joined chiefs, farmers, women leaders, and assembly members at a local high-level meeting organized by World Vision Ghana.
He represents the Fulani tribe in that area. The only time Amadu met with chiefs and farmers was when a complaint against a herder was laid before the traditional authorities. In most cases, these meetings are about complaints about missing cows, cattle destruction of food crops, bush burning, or accusations of rape. This required his intervention as chief of the Fulani community.
But today, he is here for a different reason: to learn more about World Vision’s Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) principles, understand herders’ roles in regreening and restoration of degraded landscapes and their sustainability, learn about collective action, mediation, and conflict resolution, and also to contribute the perspective of herders to land and forest resource restoration.
The training meeting, dubbed “Conflict Resolution, Transformation, and Mediation in the Management of FMNR Sites in West Gonja and Kassena Nankana West Districts,” brought together chiefs, women leaders, assembly members, and farmers to discuss conflict resolution over land and forest resource utilization in West Gonja and Kassena Nankana Districts.
The objectives were to build their capacity to collaborate and support efforts to transform degraded landscapes. Additionally, they were trained on FMNR and the impacts of their activities on forests and land.
Musah believes that land and forest restoration are critical to the life and livelihood of the Fulani community. “This intervention is in our interest because our entire life depends on the forest.” “I am happy that the Fulani community is recognized as a major stakeholder in land and forest restoration,” he said.
Most landscape restoration interventions ignore the Fulani community. This leaves them out of national efforts to regenerate vegetation and restore biodiversity.
“Endowed vegetation will improve grazing land and our livelihood, which is why we are interested,” Musah said.
World Vision’s implemented Landscapes and Environment Agility across the Nation (LEAN) project, funded by the European Union, is facilitating the establishment of about 42 FMNR sites in the West Gonja and Kassena Nankana Districts to catalyze national efforts to conserve the environment, improve biodiversity, increase food security, and build farmers’ resilience against climate change.
“Their management requires farmers’, herders’, chiefs’, women’s, and local government officials’ support and collaboration,” said Joseph Edwin Yelkabong, LEAN project manager at World Vision.
FMNR sites are community-managed forests and woodlots. “Managing conflicts arising from forest and land resource utilization requires balancing the interests of land and forest users.
“Conflict resolution mechanisms are central to this and to the management and protection of the environment,” said the lead facilitator, Fr. Lazarus Nyereh.
Adama Musah was excited that World Vision Ghana was facilitating a dialogue between Fulani herders, farmers, and chiefs about land and forest restoration.
He thanked the EU and World Vision Ghana for focusing on forest regeneration while also fostering peaceful coexistence between herders and farmers.
Annually, West Gonja and Kassena Nankana West Districts lose about 1.4 hectares of forest to indiscriminate tree felling, charcoal production, bush fires, unsustainable farming, and grazing practices.
The LEAN Project addressed this through the establishment of FMNR sites, tree planting, and capacity building of farmers, communities, and herdsmen in land and forest management.
This was to reduce climate change’s impacts on lives and livelihoods.
To sustain LEAN’s gains, World Vision Ghana built rapport between farmers, herders, chiefs, and district assemblies to ensure collaboration, support, and conflict resolution.
In addition, it enforced by-laws on forest and land resource exploitation.