Land owning families from eight communities in the Lawra and Nandom Districts of the Upper West Region have held discussions on how to release land for a dry season gardening project being implemented in their various communities.

The dry season gardening is a component of a project dubbed “Strengthening Resilience through Improving Access to Water in the Regions of Eastern Burkina Faso and Northern Ghana”.

The project, which was developed by HELVETAS Swiss Inter cooperation (HIS) is being implemented by the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD) across 45 villages in eight communities in the two districts with partnership from Groundswell International (GSI).

Speaking during a one-day engagement with land owning families from the eight communities, Mr Daniel Banuoku, Deputy Director in charge of CIKOD North said the discussions were necessary to whip up community members’ understanding of the project concept to ensure smooth implementation and sustainability.

He explained to the people that any parcel of land released for the project would still belong to their owners and that CIKOD would only support vulnerable women to invest in it to make it productive for purposes of the gardening all-year-round.

Mr Banuoku said women would lead the dry season gardening process while the men supported them to ensure its success, adding that only local vegetables familiar with the people would be grown in the gardens to ensure high patronage by community members.
This he said would contribute to reducing the incidence of stunting and malnutrition in the District at the rate of 25 per cent in 2003.

Naa Christopher Tang, Reagent of Gbengbee said the benefits of the project to families and communities were enormous, hence their willingness to release land for its implementation.
He said if women were empowered, the benefit would be to the men, saying they would not only cater for their families but there would also be peace.

Madam Martha Asaa, a Teacher at the Eremon D/A Primary School and a participant lauded the project and said it would help reduce the long distances women usually walk in search of water for domestic purposes.

She said the dry season gardening would help women who hitherto were not engaged in any income generation activity to also take advantage to do something.
Madam Lydia Sangbong, also a Teacher at Naburnye D/A Primary School and a participant said the project would help the women to gain some knowledge in gardening which they could use to help themselves even when the project comes to an end.

She noted that through the project, women income levels would be increased which would positively affect their family’s nutritional status.
Mr Mathias Jatoe, Agro-Ecology/Ecological Water and Sanitation Hygiene (EcoWASH) Manager for CIKOD North appealed to the people to own the project and see it as one that had come to help improve their economic situation.

He mentioned that other components of the project would include; supporting community-led sanitation, school gardening to boost the school feeding programme in participating communities and capacity building for organic food production.
GNA