Fire and Funeral Education in Ghana Boosts FMNR Results

November 2, 2015

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Dozens of people living in the Upper East Region of Ghana have learnt how to tackle bush fires in their communities, and reduce food wastage at funerals, as part of World Vision’s Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) projects in the area.

The FMNR project began in Ghana’s Talensi District in April 2012 and has since attracted more than 7 400 participants. The project’s aims include boosting household food production, and improving and diversifying household incomes.

Farm land across the Talensi District is degraded, soil fertility is poor, and most farmers cannot afford chemical fertiliser. This results in poor harvests each year, resulting in hunger and poverty. FMNR practices are changing this situation, helping to reduce food shortages and improve health outcomes for children and their families.

However, the benefits of FMNR practices cannot be fully realised if bush fires are not prevented and properly controlled. To address this risk, six communities (Baare, Dapoore, Bapelug, Buug, Zubeong and Namolgo) each selected 20 volunteers to be trained in fire prevention and control, for a total of 120 volunteers.

Over seven days, participants were taught fire-fighting techniques, took part in drills and scenarios, and were provided the necessary equipment including boots, cutlasses, shirts and gloves. The training was carried out in partnership with the Ghana National fire Service.

The resulting improvements in fire prevention will ensure that degraded lands can regenerate as quickly as possible, while soils become more fertile and productive, and trees are protected so that they can flourish.

Drama spreads message about funeral food wastage

Community members have also been educated about the importance of reducing food wastage at funeral performances, with the help of a local theatre group. Funeral performances are one of the main causes of food shortage in the district, leaving families in dire need.

Hundreds of people across six communities watched a drama depicting the hardship a family suffered after wasting food during a funeral performance.

As part of efforts to reduce funeral expenditure and improve household food security, a play was staged in six communities, to spread the message about the negative consequences of extravagant spending on funeral activities.

More than 450 people watched the drama, which depicted a family that had suffered hardship after performing a grand father’s funeral. One community member shared his experience of suffering after performing his father’s funeral, and advised community leaders to change their practices so there would be a reduction of hunger and poverty.

The education program was extended via radio discussion with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. During the live program, many listeners phoned in from across the region to contribute to the discussion and commend the program.