Two young girls holding tree saplings and looking at camera
Two young women practicing afforestation hold their seedlings before they plant them. | Photo Credit: Kipo Jima for the USAID Feed the Future Ghana Market Systems and Resilience Activity

Ghana's Youth: A New Generation of Natural Resource Stewards and Climate Activists

By Alaine Johnson, William Anim-Dankwa

In the face of the mounting climate crisis, youth-led action has never been more crucial. Northern Ghana is witnessing a remarkable grassroots movement in which trained youth are taking the lead in raising awareness and driving change within their communities. Supported by agricultural extension agents and the National Youth Authority (NYA), these young advocates conduct step-down training sessions, equipping their peers with the knowledge and tools to combat climate change and its impacts on agriculture.

Youth are trained to conduct the step-down training sessions during the Youth Advocacy on Climate Change and Mitigation (YACCM) master training facilitated by the USAID Feed the Future Ghana Market Systems and Resilience (MSR) Activity.  The objective of this activity is twofold: to address the pressing climate challenges affecting agriculture in northern Ghana and to empower youth with climate advocacy, adaptation, and mitigation strategies.

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Group of youth standing in half circle around a man holding a thick staff above his head
Felix, a climate change champion, leads the community youth during an exercise on afforestation.

Earlier this year, youth in the Upper East and North East Regions of Ghana participated in the YACCM master training to become “Climate Champions.” Through discussions, demonstrations, and hands-on activities, these youth then held training sessions of their own to offer valuable insights into climate change’s impacts on agriculture and potential mitigation strategies to their peers.

The initial training provided me with a deep understanding of climate change, its effects on agriculture, and the importance of sustainable practices. I gained knowledge on various topics, from climate-smart agriculture techniques to advocacy and community engagement strategies.

Joseph Karim, 25-year-old Climate Champion

The impact of this initiative is extensive. To date, 228 youth have participated in the YACCM master training, conducting 80 step-down trainings of their own in 16 districts across northern Ghana to reach 2,833 of their peers. As a result, the participants have identified context-specific climate actions and prioritized sustainable agricultural practices such as afforestation, bushfire prevention, and integrated pest management.

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Group of youth standing and watching a man talk while standing next to a large pile of sticks
Felix Pampunitege shows the youth the effect of tree cutting in the Daffiama Bussie Issa District.

The need to enhance my knowledge and skills in sustainable farming motivated me to attend the step-down training on climate change. As a young lady interested in pursuing farming as a viable business, I observed that understanding and practicing climate-smart actions will have great impact on agriculture and for my future, and the community's well-being.

Awal Wasila, 23-year-old participant in a Climate Champion-led training

Moving forward, the MSR Activity plans to strengthen collaborations with private sector actors, farmer cooperatives, the Department of Agriculture, the NYA, and other partners to support the youth Climate Champions in scaling up their climate efforts to ensure lasting positive impacts on livelihoods and economic empowerment in northern Ghana.

Country
Ghana
Strategic Objective
Adaptation, Integration, Mitigation
Topics
Adaptation, Agriculture, Climate-Resilient Agriculture, Climate Change Integration, Inclusive Development, Food Security, Gender and Social Inclusion, Locally-Led Development, Mitigation, Resilience, Training, Youth
Region
Africa

Alaine Johnson

Alaine Johnson is a Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellow at ACDI/VOCA and FAO World Food Forum (WFF) Youth Representative. She is passionate about agriculture and climate change and has participated in several training programs on climate change.

William Anim-Dankwa

William Anim-Dankwa is a Public Relations/Communications Specialist at ACDI/VOCA in Ghana. He is passionate about building resilience in communities against climate change.

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