WOMEN, LIVELIHOODS AND DIVERSIFICATION IN RURAL NORTHERN GHANA

H. Adam

Abstract


Vulnerability to poverty remains a major challenge among rural households in Northern Ghana.
Households continue to depend largely on agriculture-based livelihoods, which have not resolved the
problem of poverty in the Northern region, particularly for women, who because of their gender have limited
access to farming resources. Diversification debates in the development literature have not sufficiently
unpacked the context and issues for women. This empirical study offers an insight into the more nuanced
gendered and cultural dimensions of diversification which are vital to understand and recognize when
developing non-farm initiatives/support in rural northern Ghana. Data was collected through interviews,
key informant interviews, focus group discussions, and analyzed based on themes and relationships. The
results showed that women have limited access to both decision-making and resource access for their
nonfarm activities. The results further showed that personal attributes of women enhance their decision-
making and resource access. It was noted that vulnerable and poor women in particular, see non-farm
activities as an alternative route to the norm of land access where they have limited access for farming
because of their gender. It is important for rural policy that aims to reduce rural household poverty in
Northern Ghana to consider providing support such as credit, training, and market for the women engaged
in the non-farm farm activities. The non-farm livelihood serves as an opportunity for women to earn
independent income outside traditional farming, where they have limited opportunities.

Keywords: Women, Non-Farm, Livelihood Diversification, Decision-Making, Resource, Access and Poverty


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