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Traditional and Local Knowledge Practices for Disaster Risk Reduction in Northern Ghana

In order to deal with recurrent disasters, like floods and droughts, coupled with the limited adaptive capacity in the semiarid regions of Northern Ghana, local communities have no choice but to apply traditional and local knowledge practices. This study seeks to identify such practices employed in selected rural communities in Northern Ghana and to investigate their effectiveness. Data were collected through key informant interviews, household questionnaire surveys, focus group discussions, and participant observations. The findings indicated that although diverse practices were applied to predict and manage local disaster events, skepticism prevailed among locals toward these practices regarding their effectiveness. Due to the lack of science-based tools and systems for disaster prediction and management, local communities continually depended on these knowledge systems and practices. Integrating local and traditional disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts into modern scientific knowledge should be encouraged in order to reduce the vulnerability of local communities to disasters with thorough effectiveness evaluation protocols.

Published 2019-01-15