Garden chairlady Laiza Mweembe

Image: Emelia Debrah can now afford to feed her family with their favourite food.

In focus: Climate-smart farming in Ghana's Cocoa Fields

Emelia Debrah is a mother, a grandmother, a cocoa farmer and a businesswoman in rural Ghana. Her family is the centre of her life – she wants to give her children and grandchildren the best possible start. She works tirelessly in the fields, but seeing that the weather was changing and that deforestation was impacting her cocoa crops, Emelia Debrah decided to learn climate-smart farming. Now, she can afford her children's school fees, buy them clothes and make sure they have enough to eat.

"I cook maize to make food to sell in the market, I make a lot of money from this. With cassava we eat it and sell the rest," Emelia Debrah says. Seeing her family hungry was almost unbearable and she goes on to explain: “Now we have plenty of food and I can even afford to buy special breakfast food for my children. The whole family is happy."

With the support of the Sankofa project, small-holder farmers like Emelia Debrah in Asunafo, Ghana are planting trees and a variety of crops to improve soil quality, increase yields, and find new sources of income. She has peace of mind that her family will always be looked after: "I am very happy that the project has registered the trees in my name, so that even if I do not benefit from the timber for example, my children and grandchildren will benefit."

Deforestation and the climate emergency are threatening the lives of women and children across the world. Climate-smart agriculture and cooperatives empower women and give them the tools to prepare for the future. At the same time, these farming techniques increase the amount of carbon captured and stored in the soil and vegetation on each farm.

Ghana | Fast Facts
29.6 million population
25% live on less than US $3.10 per day
69% of land is used for agriculture
21.7% is covered by forest

8% is primary forest

Jane Kataike with her son

Image: Jane Kataike with her son who is much healthier from drinking clean safe water

In focus: Clean water for Uganda

Over half the population in Uganda lack access to safe water. Many people must purify their water by boiling it on inefficient wood fuelled cookstoves, which is a significant driver of deforestation in the region. Nevertheless, each year, around 20,000 Ugandans, mostly children, die from preventable illnesses directly attributable to poor water and sanitation such as diarrhoea and dysentery.

Jane Kataike from Luwanga village was like any mother, constantly worrying about her children's health: ongoing health problems caused by unsafe drinking water left them weak, dehydrated, unable to go to school and malnourished.

That was until a chlorine filter was installed in the village to provide easily accessible clean water. 'The chlorine dispenser has helped us so much, most of our children who used to suffer from diarrhoea all the time, but now they are fine' says Jane.

Thanks to this simple solution the community in Luwanga no longer needs to boil their water to make it safe to drink, avoiding greenhouse gas emissions, easing pressure on surrounding forests and saving them time and money!

Uganda | Fast Facts
43 million population
73% live on less than US $3.10 per day
51% lack access to clean water
26% is covered by forest

7% is primary forest

Garden chairlady Laiza Mweembe

Image: Garden chairlady Laiza Mweembe stands proudly in front of her flourishing garden

In focus: Community resilience at Zimbabwe's Lake Kariba

Zimbabwe has long been exposed to the harsh effects of climate change. The landscape comes alive in the rainy season, but with the dry season stretching longer and longer, keeping water sources full and crops alive becomes more challenging every year. Given that most farmers grow produce mainly for their families, access to water for irrigation is a matter of survival.

Close to Lake Kariba, the members of the Simandeende community garden were struggling to dig into the hard, sun-scorched soil, let alone keep crops alive. Faced with this dilemma, they devised a plan – and with some helpful materials from the Kariba project, built an irrigation system with pipes and water tanks connected to the nearby well. And the results speak for themselves....

Currently we are growing maize in the garden but we have already started preparing the land for vegetables. Now we are selling okra and pumpkin" says Laiza Mweembe, the garden chairlady.

Listening to the needs of farmers like Chairlady Laiza Mweembe, the Kariba project has built new boreholes, bought materials for irrigation systems and supplied drought-resistant seedling to help communities diversify their sources of income and increase food secruity.

Zimbabwe | Fast Facts
14 million population
47% live on less than US $3.20 per day
40% is covered by forest

6% is primary forest

What is a primary forest?

Primary, old-growth, virgin forests are those that have reached a great age without significant ecological or human disturbance.


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