Volta Delta

Volta Delta Ghana

Volta Delta Ghana

Video footage

Ghana and Volta Delta related articles


News from the DECCMA Volta Delta research and also from ASSAR, another CARIAA project can be found on google+.

Ghanaian DECCMA Stakeholder meet in Accra

On the 20th of October 2016, the DECCMA Ghana Team held a one-day Workshop for National Level Stakeholders at the Kofi Anan ICT Centre in Accra. A total of 52 participants made up of policy makers and technical experts from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) with representation from Parliament and the Attorney General’s Department attended the workshop aimed at validating the Governance Analysis Report of the DECCMA Work Package 6.

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ghanaian stakeholder meet

Prof. Samuel Codjoe

In a clear departure from the usual mode of organising workshops, a skit was performed by actors from the University of Ghana’s School of Performing Arts to introduce participants to the workshop as well as outline the objectives of the DECCMA project. Professor Samuel Codjoe, the DECCMA Ghana PI welcomed participants to the workshop in a brief statement. A brief statement was also delivered by Mrs. Joy Poane, the Monitoring Officer of the Ghana Office of the International Organisation of Migration (IOM).

The increasing vulnerabilities of the deltaic areas was reiterated using the drone footage in combination with a short presentation. Similar to the District level engagement, the participants at the Workshop brainstormed on terminologies related to maladaptation and successful adaptation. Stakeholders at the meeting also evaluated the Barriers to implementation and the Adaptation Pathways for the Delta. The barriers to the implementation of policies as well as the successful adaptation surveys were also administered.

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Sharing Research Experiences: The CARIAA Ghana example

sharing research experiences

Sharing research experiences

Research into Use (RiU) is a key tool in the CARIAA Theory of Change (ToC) for engagements through the project cycle to the dissemination of research products with the objective of influencing changes in development, adaptation policy and practice. The CARIAA Ghana projects; Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) and Deltas, vulnerability, Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation (DECCMA) seized the opportunity presented during the recent Climate Change and Population Conference on Africa (CCPOP Ghana2016) to share their experiences in the use of RiU strategies as part of their research activities.

The annual CCPOP, organized by the Regional Institute of Population Studies (RIPS) of the University of Ghana is a trans-disciplinary conference that brings together scientists from all over the world in a bid to promote lessons on the best scientific practices with potential development impacts on Africa. Inspired by the active orientation of the discourse around climate change and Ghana’s commitment to the iNDCs, this year’s Conference focused on Research-Into-Use (RiU), policy frameworks and intervention projects that have made a difference in climate change mitigation or adaption efforts hence the theme: “Building bridges and Research into-Use”. The conference drew participants from policy, research, national institutions and the academia including student poster presentations.

The moderated RiU panel which run parallel to other sessions was held at the auditorium of the Nogouchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) under the theme RiU in action: Before, During and after the Research and drew over fifty (50) participants from policy, research and the academia including the Vice Chancellor of the Regional Maritime University and a former head of the Department of Marine and Fisheries Sciences of the University of Ghana, Professor E. Nyarko.

The panel shared with the audience how the ASSAR (Lawra and Nandom districts) and the DECCMA (Volta delta) projects are using RiU and other stakeholder engagements process to improve the understanding of vulnerability, wellbeing and adaptation issues in their respective study areas. Through the use of videos and oral interaction, the discussants illustrated how CARIAA approaches its research differently by keeping RiU central to the concept of its TOC. Specifically, the use of participatory tools such as the Vulnerability Risk Assessment (VRA) and the Transformative Scenario Planning (TSP) processes were explained. The use of innovative tools/techniques to communicate vulnerability to impacts was also stressed using the DECCMA drone footage of Fuveme (a flooding coastal community) as an example.

The Oxfam Ghana (Tamale) advocacy Officer and the Deputy Municipal Officer of the Keta Municipality who respectively are from the research areas of ASSAR and DECCMA also shared their views of how to effectively partner with institutions and the local communities to successfully execute projects. The discussions also showed practical examples of appropriate two-way collaboration between vulnerable communities and scientific research teams and, highlighted effective tools for communicating climate change adaptation to local communities.

Generally, the audience were enthused about the innovative attempt and willingness on the side of the CARIAA consortia to share information with other practitioners. The audience also emphasized the need for increased collaboration between the research community and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have presence in the study communities for a more holistic engagement.

See here for news on the Conference and Photos

Training of Enumerators for Sending Area Survey in the Volta Delta, Ghana

training of enumerators

Training of enumerators

DECCMA Ghana Work Package Three (WP3) has trained 30 Field Enumerators (FEs) and 6 Supervisors for the Sending Area Household Surveys in the Volta Delta. The Sending Area Survey involves some 1500 households in 50 Enumeration Areas (EAs) across 9 Administrative Districts within the Volta Delta stretching from Prampram in the Greater Accra region to Aflao in the Volta region.

The DECCMA project is aimed at analysing the impacts of climate change and other environmental drivers across deltas in Africa and Asia. This Household survey together with other participatory research and economic methods will be used to analyse the processes of migration across the deltas.

The four-day (3-6 May) training held at the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) of the University of Ghana took participants through the survey instruments, the Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) as well as a pilot survey in Oshiyie near Kokrobite in Accra. The training covered specific areas with respect to data collection such as community entry, questionnaire administration, as well as safety on the field. The enumerators were also taken through the various sections of the Household Head and Individual Questionnaires.
Following a thorough discussion of the various sections of the questionnaires in the hard copy format, the FEs formed three groups according to the languages spoken in the study area (Ewe, Ga/Dangbe and Twi). After several bouts of translation exercises and role plays, the Computer Aided Personal Interviewer (CAPI) was introduced and similar role play sessions carried out. At this point, a number of omissions and errors were detected while additional comments and suggestions were made on how to improve the final instrument.

On the final day of training, the FEs together with the trainers visited a fishing community along the coast of Accra and carried out a 4 hour pilot interview with members of the Oshiyie Community following the regular protocols of community entry which included a visit to the Chief of the town.

To ensure that the data collected meet the highest standards for synchronization and comparison with data from other Deltas, a Survey Structure which consists of an apex Survey Headquarters (based at RIPS), Supervisors and finally the Field Enumerators at the base was put in place. The Supervisors are directly in charge of all field operations including daily assignment of surveys to enumerators, community entry, editing, approval, collation and onward transmission of data to the Survey Headquarters who have final authority in accepting or rejecting completed instruments submitted through the Supervisors.

Beyond the three main elements of the structure, there are also a standby Teams of Observers and Monitors who would carry out regular visits to field teams to observe their work, make suggestions to Supervisors as well as the Headquarters on the progress of work among others.

Follow our posts on our Google+ page and also visit our blog for more updates on Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA) Ghana activities.

Drones over the delta: Monitoring coastal protection structures along the shoreline of Ghana’s Volta delta using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Coastal erosion in the Keta district of the Ghana’s Volta delta is causing increasing problems by destroying property and infrastructure and displacing people. With erosion rates of up to 8 metres per year, proactive efforts are required to manage these impacts. Within the Keta Sea Defence Project (KSDP) various erosion control measures have been employed. These include hard engineering, such as groynes and revetments, and soft engineering, such as beach nourishment.

Since its establishment in 2004, there has been no sustainable scheme in place to monitor the effectiveness of the coastal defence structures within the Keta Sea Defence Project.
Traditional methods of monitoring the rate of coastal erosion include Differential Global Positioning Systems (DGPS), aerial photographs and satellite imagery – but these are expensive to buy, require specialist training to use, and can be time consuming. Although some satellite images are freely available, their coarse resolution (30m x 30m) mean that that are unsuitable for monitoring the KSDP.

Kwasi Appeaning Addo and his team in the Department of Marine and Fisheries Sciences at the University of Ghana and the Centre for Tropical Marine Ecology at the University of Bremen, Germany are pioneering a new mechanism to monitor the rate of coastal erosion. Unnamed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or “drones” are relatively inexpensive to buy (less than US$1000) and easy to use (it takes only a day to train research assistants to fly the drone). In addition they allow flexibility in the monitoring process – the researchers determine the flight path and the altitude at which the drones fly, which results in much more relevant and reliable data. Being able to choose the height at which the drones fly means that clouds are not a problem as they can be in both aerial photographs and satellite imagery.

Dr Appeaning Addo and his team have been undertaking bi-monthly repeated surveys were undertaken using a drone known as DJI Phantom Series. They first established ground control points using a high precision differential GPS system in order to effectively guide the drone. The survey produce in high resolution aerial photographs which are then analysed and used to create 3D models of the earth’s surface. The models from each drone monitoring mission are then overlaid with the previous ones. In comparing them, it is possible to identify any changes over time and also the extent of change allows calculation of the rate at which the change was occurring. Since the drones produce photographs, it is possible to use them to investigate of what is causing the changes and whether they are permanent or cyclical, for example. The preliminary results from two months (May and July 2015) of drone-led field surveys showed that there was significant lateral and topographic changes in the beach system.

As drones provide more reliable data for scientists to analyse, they will be able to have a greater understanding of the nature and rate of coastal erosion in the Volta Delta shoreline. This provides a reference point to assess the effectiveness of the KSDP. It also provides important information for the government of Ghana to ensure that their attempts to address coastal erosion are well targeted and effective.

A Tale of two Cities

2015 saw an acceleration of DECCMA with extensive work on the development of Household Surveys across four study deltas in India, Bangladesh and Ghana, looking at the component role climatic change might play in migration and adaptation. This work has been substantially supported by the outcomes of a sister project to DECCMA in the form of ESPA Deltas. Both of these projects were represented at the AGU December 2015 in San Francisco at a specific session relating to Delta research, called Sustainable Deltas: Multidisciplinary Analyses of Complex Systems II, Global Environmental Change (Primary Convener Irina Overeem CSDMS/INSTAAR on behalf of Belmont Deltas), with cross-referencing between the talks demonstrating a continuity of learning and development. The following were presented:

Hutton C.W., & Nicholls, R.J. & Allan, A. (2015), Migration in Vulnerable Deltas: A Research Strategy. AGU, 2015, San Francisco, 14-18th December

Nicholls, et. al. (Hutton, C.W) (2015). Ecosystem services and livelihoods in deltaic environments (Invited). AGU 2015, San Francisco, 14-18th December

Lazar, A. et. al. (Hutton, C.W) (2015). An integrated framework to assess plausible future livelihood and poverty changes in deltas: an application to coastal Bangladesh. AGU 2015, San Francisco, 14-18th December

Payo Garcia, A. & Hutton, C.W. (2015). Assessing the time scale response of Health, Livelihoods, Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation in Populous Deltas. AAG, Chicago 2015

The presentations within the session were wide ranging and thought provoking with examples of papers and posters from highly developed contexts to regions of the developing world under extraordinary stress from environmental degradation and climatic changes. One common thematic approach that might be drawn from the session was the diversity and complexity of the social interaction across these landscape scale features with competing requirements for industry and food production as well as the socio-economic and cultural needs of the people who occupy the lands including the complex drivers of migration and urbanisation. The meeting was followed by a meal in down town San Francisco where, Profs Overeem and Nicholls lead a discussion on possible collaborative efforts that have continued from this meeting.

Drawing on a specific component of this discussion, namely that of land and water and the relation to food security, The DECCMA project was also presented as a case study at the Land and Water Days, November 2015 in Rome where a conference was jointly convened by FAO, IFAD and WFP as part of efforts aimed at reaching effective and lasting impacts for land and water actions on the ground. The event is presented as an opportunity to review policies, technologies and approaches to secure sustained improvements in support to activities on the ground; and foster exchanges of experience between countries and regions. The University of Southampton presented a detailed study of DECCMA in the “Land and Water assessment for identifying vulnerabilities and sustaining rural livelihoods” session entitled; Deltas, Vulnerability & Climate Change: Migration & Adaptation: Assessing vulnerability of populations to land and water shocks, with elements of the lessons learned in ESPA Deltas as an example of how remote sensing can be used to extract both social and biophysical data of relevance to planning in food security and livelihoods. The talk was well received and as well as ongoing established links with FAO (specifically John Latham NRL) has spawned some discussions and potential collaboration with WFP.

3rd DECCMA Consortium Workshop, Ghana

3rd deccma workshop

Attendees of the workshop

DECCMA PI, Professor Robert Nicholls mentioned “Building the Consortium” as an important part of the functioning of the project and what better way to do it than organising face-to-face meetings for the entire consortium. The entire DECCMA consortium meets every six months, this time being the 3rd Consortium Workshop at Accra, Ghana. The Regional Institute of Population Studies (RIPS) of the University of Ghana (UoG), the lead institution for the DECCMA African team, hosted DECCMA members from Bangladesh, India, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

One might think that research project workshops only entail updating each other on research progress and discussing future research plans. DECCMA not only discussed these but also did much more. The first aim of the workshop was to refresh and reinforce relationships across the wider project, especially in work package teams and build on consortia development. This was achieved when the key members of the Northern team reached the University of Ghana a day ahead of the workshop to get better acquainted with the entire Ghanaian research team. Also, a day was dedicated to facilitate training sessions and discussions with respect to each work package. On 24th July 2015, members huddled around tables deep in discussion or diligently learning from the others during training sessions. This encouraged dialogues within the WPs with respect to delta-specific issues. As a part of the management team, I can proudly say that I attended my WP session outside the meeting venue at the steps in a garden. It was liberating in a way to discuss work yet not feel like doing work! A key outcome from this day was the clarification from each country team on the respective study areas. It was unanimously decided by all WP leads and member leads that administrative units in deltaic areas which are being dissected by the 5 metre contour line in each country shall be wholly considered as being in the DECCMA study area. The day closed with a cocktail dinner accompanied by live African music. The gentle evening breeze, Ghanaian food and the lively beats relaxed us after the long day.

The workshop officially kicked off on the 25th of July with Professor Samuel Codjoe, the DECCMA Ghana Lead, welcoming everyone to Accra and the University of Ghana. Prof Robert Nicholls then took everyone on a journey of the inception of DECCMA, right from its proposal drafting workshop in September 2013, through the kick-off workshop at Dhaka in June 2014, to the last workshop held in India in January 2015. He welcomed any new member attending the consortium workshop for the first time and asked the country leads to do the same from their respective country teams. He reintroduced DECCMA, its objectives, work package structure, aims and timeline to everyone and reminded us that we are 32% through! The reminder of the timeline helped everyone to reflect on the status of work being done. The goals and timetable of this workshop were reiterated. This was followed by formal presentations on the delta boundaries of the Bangladesh Delta, Indian Bengal Delta, Mahanadi Delta and the Volta Delta. The day then continued with presentations on the research progress of each work package (WP) where the WP leads either introduced the overall WP activities or summarised the discussions. The country teams presented on their WP progress and it was a good chance to learn about the commonalities and differences across the deltas. While governance and policies of each country are unique, the effect of climate change was common for all. Although the physical stressors varied from one delta to the other, the effects on the people were comparable. Analysing secondary data and literature reviews showed migration from the hotspot areas of these deltas and the observed adaptation options were also learnt. But stakeholder interactions, focus group discussions gave first-hand accounts of such results. These can be fully validated and more information can be garnered once the DECCMA team ventures out to conduct the household surveys. An effective dialogue between the WPs was initiated to facilitate incorporation of questions from each WP into the household survey questionnaire and also to enhance the integrated modelling framework which relies on inputs from all the other WPs. The day closed with the monthly closed meeting of the DECCMA Management Committee. This was followed by a sumptuous dinner at a local restaurant which also had a live band. It was the perfect setting for everyone to unwind after the day, and work took a backseat for most of us!

Workshops like these enhance working relationships and offer chances for better communication. The added advantage of hosting a workshop at a study area is that the wider project team gains a first-hand exposure to a new study site and on the 26th of July, the DECCMA team went for a field visit to the Volta delta. It was an enriching experience and good to see the Keta Sea Defense Project that is active in the region. As a student of humanities, African Literature had introduced me to the horrors of slave trade which was once dominant in the continent and the visit to Fort Prinzenstein etched it loud and clear in my psyche, the gruesome and inhuman past. The heart-wrenching echoes off the walls were louder than the sounds of the Atlantic Ocean. With lots of activities for us in the field visit, I did not get much time to ponder over this gloom. The team was taken to a farm where wind energy and biomass energy were effectively used and we got a chance to walk through pigsty, maize and shallot fields. The afternoon sun could have got the better of us had it not been for the refreshing tender-coconut water which was kindly served to us at the farm. Ghanaian hospitality at its best!

On the 27th of July, stakeholders from the Volta delta were present at the workshop. It was a nice gesture to begin the day with a prayer followed by an introduction to the CARIAA programme by Michele Leone and an introduction to DECCMA by Prof Robert Nicholls. The documentaries on each delta were shown, which was promptly followed by the climate change skit. It was a delight to watch such a serious issue being enacted in such a simple manner, which was easily relatable by any person, irrespective of their nationality. This was followed by presentations on related projects in each delta and this session also gave enough opportunity for discussion and learning. The next session had a reminder of the key project documents that every DECCMA member should be familiar with. The Research into Use and Theory of Change presentations made the country teams more eloquent with the way DECCMA envisages using RiU to better effect research. It was communicated that an effective RiU strategy should be developed based on the audience as different groups have different needs and engagement efforts should be made accordingly. The next slot dealt with adaptation and personally speaking I benefitted a lot from the interactive session based on identifying which activity would be adaptation, development, mitigation, coping or maladaptation. It made all of us think, debate and learn. This was followed by a discussion on the gender-sensitive approach in DECCMA and the team was reminded once again of the importance of including gender right from the beginning of the project.

The last day of the workshop had discussion on formulation of the expert advisory groups in each country and the future plans with respect to each WP. The research plans, publication plans and upcoming training workshops were all discussed and shared among the members. The workshop closed with a vote of thanks to the Ghanaian team for their hospitality and all the members for attending the workshop and making it a success.

The workshop was successful not only in terms of what was formally presented and discussed during the sessions but also when the members were scheduling catch-ups with one another during the tea-breaks and meals. The interactions were effective amidst the picturesque campus of the University of Ghana with its bountiful dose of greens and birds. I look forward to returning to Ghana but right now I am looking forward to meeting the DECCMA team at Southampton in January 2016!

Keta – Point of no return

Coast in the Volta delta

Coast in the Volta delta

On 26 July 2015, the DECCMA team visited the district of Keta on the coast of Ghana as part of a field program. The first stop was Fort Prinzenstein on the Gulf of Guinea. Fort Prinzenstein is one of several ‘point of no return’ locations for the slaves who were transported across the Atlantic. It is hard to fathom the thought of those unfortunate souls who were looking at the far away ocean while passing through this ‘point of no return’.

Whilst inside the fort, it was difficult to hear the heart wrenching story of enslavement and the debasement of humanity during the time of slave trading. Fort Prinzenstein has stood for hundreds of years as a reminder of our inhumanity.

Now, half of the fort is gone to the raging sea which is trying to engulf the fort as if to erase our shameful past. In front of half of the fort, a line of sea defence has been erected to protect Keta from further erosion. I could not help but ponder to myself whether, we as mankind, have reached another kind of ‘point of no return’ and this time another human folly – climate change.

The defence is impressive and appears to be impregnable. It took 15 million cubic meters of sand and one million tonnes of granite to build this steely defence. Coming from Bangladesh, I could not help but gaze at this impressive defence with envy, but will it hold against the rising sea? Will it prove to be a successful adaptation to climate change or turn out to be a maladaptation in the end?

Such ‘hold the shoreline’ defences are now necessary given the current threats, but how have we reached this stage? A major cause of increasing sea erosion is the loss of sediment nourishment due to the Akosombo Dam on the Volta River. Research by our Ghana colleagues shows that this sea defence is causing down drift erosion, transferring the risk downstream. The defence is itself at risk due to bottom scouring. Our Indian colleagues informed us that in their part of the Mahanadi delta in Odisha, sand dunes are being looked at more favourably as a better natural defence than hard structures.

For a developing country like Bangladesh, we know how difficult it is to maintain such structures. The construction and maintenance of the sea defence are of much better quality, indicating a better governance system in place in Ghana than in our delta. What makes it tick in Ghana? Can we translate these to our part of the delta where we have to frequently engage armed forces to ensure quality and time of construction?

During the next 4 to 5 years we will have more opportunities to evaluate this impressive defence as an adaptation measure. We intend to learn from it and transfer the learning to our delta. We hope that it will stand its guard. Till then – looking at you Keta!

by Rezaur Rahman, DECCMA Bangladesh

Projecting fish production under climate change: A comparative analysis across three vulnerable deltas

projecting fish production

Work flow between Step 1 (data collection and comparative analysis) and Step 2 (modelling).

Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) will be conducting a comparative analysis on the importance of fisheries for food security in the three deltas/regions: Volta (Ghana), Mahanadi (India) and Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (Bangladesh) and how climate change could potentially influence marine ecosystems productivity. Deltas communities are strongly dependent on coastal fisheries including shallow wetlands and other semi-enclosed bodies of water. In these three countries fishery is a very important sector and contributes between 4-5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Despite its importance for the local economy there are marked differences amongst countries, for example, the average per capita consumption (per year) of fish products varies with Ghana consuming the highest amount (25kg) followed by Bangladesh (14kg) and India (8.2kg). Delta communities are ranked amongst the poorest in the world and as a consequence potential impacts of global and regional climate change on the marine ecosystem productivity could have dramatic impacts on their economy and food security.

For the DECCMA project data will be collected from available database and literature to give information about fisheries (e.g. commercial species, time series data of catches, fishing and natural mortality, division between subsistence, artisanal and commercial fisheries) and socio-economic structure (e.g. number of fishermen, type of vessels, incomes/trades, consumption, livelihoods) in Ghana, Bangladesh and India. This part of the work will be conducted in liaison with local partners who will supply PML with local data whenever possible. This information will be summarised for the project report(s) and in published paper(s). The data collected and the information gained from the comparative analysis will support ecosystem modelling also carried out by PML. A model of water circulation and energy transfer (Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory Coastal Ocean Modelling System – POLCOMS) will be coupled with a model of the low trophic levels (the European Regional Seas Ecosystem Model – ERSEM) and fisheries models (size-spectrum and species based). The output from this framework will be fish production potential under climate change scenarios across the three delta/regions. Finally these results will inform other work packages in the DECCMA project (migration, integration, economics and adaptation).