Dr Charity Osei-Amponsah, a Researcher, has stated that understanding social transformation within the context of a changing climate will help local development authorities to build resilience in a better way.
Dr Osei-Amponsah, Project Coordinator for the Resilience Against Climate Change: Social Transformation Research and Policy Advocacy (REACH-STR), highlighted this during a learning event on social transformation for development planners, agriculture and gender desk officers of the Municipal and District Assemblies of the Upper West Region.
She noted that climate change efforts had in the past focused on only the technical aspect to the neglect of the social transformation aspect, which often affected the successful implementation of the technical interventions.
Social transformation means persistent structural changes in the economic and social relations that surround individuals-It could be evident in the extent of migration, gender-youth dynamics and the overall resilience of the communities.
Dr Osei-Amponsah noted that from the literature reviewed, they had come to understand that the Upper West Region was the most vulnerable in climate change and also how various scholars had defined and applied social transformation in development planning to achieve results.
She explained that the learning event was therefore to share with participants what they found during the research on social transformation by way of science and also to find out from them what it meant to them locally.
They also wanted to know from them how they could integrate the scholarly perspectives and participant’s own understanding in order to come up with climate smart development planning interventions.
“If we understand what people do, then we will be able to have a more integrated approach towards addressing the issue of climate change and help people build their resilience level,” REACH-STR Project Coordinator said.
Dr Francis Jarawura, University for Development Studies (UDS)-REACH Project, noted that climate change was an existential threat, which came to compound the already existing stressors in the savannah area.
He noted that over the last 50 years they had seen at least one degree increase in temperature in the area, which called for urgent attention to climate change by making sure local farmers adapted and built resilience to climate change to enhance livelihoods.
This, he said, called for the need to mainstream the National Climate Adaptation Policy at the local level, adding that to do that there was the need to build capacities of local development authorities to have skills that would help them develop effective plans that would be intergenerational in nature and transcend gender limitations.
It was based on this that he deemed the learning event as an avenue to share knowledge and experiences and to better collaborate towards effective planning for climate smart activities.
Mr Bilattey Bimi, Development Planning Officer, Wa East District, lauded the learning event and said it had exposed them to the science aspect of social transformation, which according to him was equally important for climate-smart development planning.
He said this understanding would afford them the opportunity to blend science with their own local experiences during planning to help build the community’s resilience against climate change.
REACH is one of three projects under the European Union Agriculture Programme, ‘Productive investment for agriculture in the savannah ecological zone of Ghana’.
It comprises three components of which Social Transformation, Research and Policy Advocacy formed the third component.