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Using appropriate cattle ranching practices to facilitate peaceful coexistence between nomadic herdsmen and farmers in Osutsuare Community.

Staff, Experience (in training people on peaceful conflict resolutions and coexistence), and managerial resources.

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*Please Upload User Experience Map (as attachment) and any additional insights gathered from Beneficiary Feedback in this field

Why does the target community define this problem as urgent and/or a priority? How is the idea leveraging and empowering community assets to help create an environment for success? (1000 characters)

Both crop farmers (indigenes) and the cattle herdsmen (foreigners), as well as the owners of the cattle, want to co-exist peacefully. They consider the simmering tensions between the herdsmen and the crop farmers as ticking time-bomb which will one day explode beyond imagination. This has seriously affected the economic activities in the community because most people do not want to operate in communities where there is a constant source of conflict. Both groups of farmers keep losing out on the returns of their labour. One of the attempts by the community to resolve the situation is for the chiefs (local authorities) to hold landowners who give their land to the herdsmen for their cattle to graze on responsible if they destroy a crop farm. This idea builds on the efforts that have already been tried. The resolution of the conflict will be done by representatives of the community. The establishment of the market in the community will help improve the economic activities of the land.

How does the idea fit within the larger ecosystem that surrounds it? Urgent needs are usually a symptom of a larger issue that rests within multiple interrelated symptoms - share what you know about the context surrounding the problem you are aiming to solve. (500 characters)

The conflicts usually leave behind damages which are sometimes irreparable. Communities would want to have peace as much as possible. However, a major concern among policy-makers inability to structure society in a manner to contain such conflicts once they occur. There are usually knee-jerk reactions to solving problems which are not sustainable. For example, the operation 'cowleg' which sought to kill any cattle wondering on crop farms led to more confrontations instead.

How does the idea affect or change the fundamental nature of the larger ecosystem that surrounds it (as described above) in a new and/or far-reaching way? (500 characters)

The free range practices by the nomadic herdsmen have impacted negatively on the livelihoods of rural communities and threatened the peace of communities. The idea seeks to shift the free-range practices into a more systematized way of both crop farming and cattle ranching. This will support local government authorities to provide the needed support services required by these farmers.

What will be different within the target community as a result of implementing the idea? What is the scope and scale of that difference? How long will it take to see that difference and how will it be sustained beyond BridgeBuilder support? (500 characters)

The project will ensure a peaceful co-existence facilitated by the community members. The economy of the community will significantly improve affecting livelihoods as a result of the creation of the market where the farmers will have a good return for their crops and cattle. About 300 households will be affected by the project which will take about 2 to 3 years to see a difference. A management committee from the community will be responsible for the sustainability of the project.

How has the idea evolved or responded to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase and any further insights provided if you participated in the Expert Feedback Phase? (1000 characters)

The Beneficiary Feedback Phase reaffirmed the overall idea and provided insightful ideas on how to structure the idea based on the needs of both the crop farmers and the nomadic herdsmen. For example, herdmen iterated that they had meetings with the Ministry of Interior where they suggested the zoning of the land. They believe the zoning of the land will support the development of other needed infrastructure and the provision of relevant support services to help improve on their farming practices. The herdsmen, for example, indicated the growing of hay and the provision of dams. They also indicated that some traders take advantage of the lack of an established market to cheat on the prices. The establishment of a market was not part of the original idea, but as a suggestion, it will facilitate the improvement of the economy in the community thereby facilitating prosperity.

What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years? (You can attach a timeline or GANTT chart in place of a written plan, if desired.) (1000 characters)

The key implementation activities include: Year 1: 1. Stakeholder engagement 2. Reconciliation process 3. Land acquisition and zoning Year 2: 4. Building infrastructure 5. Movement and relocation of farmers and herdsmen 6. The provision of support services Year 3: 7. The establishment of a market for the farmers

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of roles and responsibilities for each entity). (Feel free to share an organizational chart or visual description of your team). (500 characters)

Mr. Emmanuel Edudzie is the Executive Director of YES-Ghana, He will assume overall responsibility for the project. Mr. Eric Saforo and Ms. Obaa Akua Konadu will be responsible for stakeholder engagement and working with the community to establish the reconciliation committee. Mr. Emmanuel Nomafo (Business Development Manager) will be responsible for the implementation of the project activities.

What aspects of the idea would potential BridgeBuilder funds primarily support? (500 characters)

The BridgeBuilder funds will support the reconciliation process, setting up the infrastructure after the zoning of land, movement and relocation of farms and animals, and the establishment of the market.

In preparation for our Expert Feedback Phase: What are three unanswered questions or challenges that you could use support on in your project? These questions will be answered directly by experts matched specifically to your idea and needs.

More ideas on how periphery activities can create employment for more unemployed young people.

Final Updates (*Please do not complete until we reach the Improve Phase*): How has the idea evolved or responded to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase and any further insights provided if you participated in the Expert Feedback Phase? (1000 characters)

The beneficiary feedback on the ideas was invaluable. It gave the project team a better understanding of the issues and their suggestions have helped to strengthen the idea. On prosperity, the herdsmen and the farmers suggested the setting up of a market where both parties can sell their produce and enjoy good returns on their labour. The tensions prevent the establishment of a market. This gives an opportunity for middlemen to buy the produce at cheaper prices. The beneficiaries agreed to a scoping exercise before land could be zoned to find the effective places for pasture and also to test the growing appropriate forage for the cattle. Conflicts between herdsmen and crop farmers is a major concern to government and there are calls for a law and a policy to guide the co-existence. However, there are little or no benchmarks of good practices in the African context to learn from. This project will serve as a source of learning for government to produce policy paper.

During this Improve Phase, please use the space below to add any additional information to your proposal.

Monitoring evaluation and learning: There have been incessant calls for the government to enact laws to govern cattle ranching in the country. However, there are no best practices to benchmark other than some practices outside the context of the Ghanaian situation. Attached to this project will be a strong monitoring, evaluation and learning component which will provide needed learning and evidence for the lawmakers of the land to formulate laws on cattle in the best ways possible. Awareness creation and advocacy: Even though the project will be happening in one of the hotspots of herdsmen and crop farmers. We will engage with the media to create a national dialogue on how crop farmers and herdsmen can co-exist peacefully, engage in environmentally friendly farming practices and find access to the market for their crops and cattle. The national debate will put subtle pressure on the government to adopt lessons from the project and set up similar systems in other hotspots. Avenues for learning and jobs to be created for the youth: The setup of the project will give opportunities for agriculture students to intern either in the crop farms or at the cattle ranch. While learning they will lend helping hands to support the work. Business Advisory Services: The government of Ghana has set up the planting for food and jobs program supporting farmers to increase their yield through good agricultural practices. Young people who are jobless are also encouraged to take part in the program. The safe space facilitated by the project for crop farming will boost the confidence of young people and encourage them to farm in the locality. This also provides opportunities for business advisory service providers to engage with the farmers to access loan facilities to expand their farms and to take advantages of support programs such as FINGAP by ActionAid. The expansion of the farms will mean the hiring of more hands to provide employment for more people. Other entrepreneurial ventures: The establishment of the market will be in two forms. The static market where consumers go to a specific location to buy the produce and a mobile market where goods are brought to the communities and the doorsteps of the consumers. The mobile market will serve as an opportunity for job creation for the youth. Dairy business: the ranch will provide a good place with a good place for a dairy business.

Note that you may also edit any of your previous answers within the proposal. Here is a great place to note any big final changes or iterations you have made to your proposal below:

The major change we made to the idea is the place of implementation. In Ghana, there are various hotspots where the conflicts between the nomadic herdsmen and the crop farmers occur. These include Asutsuare in the Eastern Region of Ghana and Agogo in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. Farmers and herdsmen in these two communities are regularly in the news for their conflicts. Based on recent government intervention in Agogo, the project team felt it will be more appropriate to focus on Asutsuare than in Agogo. During the beneficiary feedback stage, the people in Asutsuare were consulted. Apart from the change in location, we have added a monitoring, evaluation and learning component to provide evidence for policy direction by the government of Ghana.

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

We want to facilitate a lasting peaceful coexistence between nomadic herdsmen and farmers, and to establish an environmentally friendly practice of cattle rearing in communities affected by conflicts between herdsmen and farmers especially Asutsuare, a town in the Eastern Region of Ghana. These conflicts have been rampant due to the destruction of farms caused by cattle during grazing. First of all, we will facilitate a dialogue on reconciliation between the affected parties. We will set up a reconciliation committee to heal the wounds of the past and prevent further conflict between the concerned parties. In each camp, we will select representatives from the leaders, men, women, the youth and children to train as peace ambassadors. The ambassadors will work within their spheres of influence to nib simmering conflict situations in the bud. Since about 60% of the livestock herded by the herdsmen belong to some of the locals in the community we will work with all the stakeholders to suggest a communal way of appropriately rearing the livestock and managed as a co-operative. We will work with the local authorities to acquire and designate a piece of land in the community that is conducive to the ranching and does not affect the farms. Everyone who has a herd will be required to register with the ranch and have access to fodder and water. The co-operative will appoint managers from the different camps to manage the ranch. Through the cooperative will work to find the appropriate market for their produce. We will establish a cross beneficial system where produce/leftovers from either the farm or the ranch will benefit each other. Institutionalization of the activities of the herdsmen will create an opportunity to practice acceptable grazing or cattle-rearing practices that are friendly to the environment. There will be an opportunity for more job creation for the unemployed in the community. Farmers will have their peace to continue with their farming practices.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

- The primary beneficiaries will be the crop-farmers and the nomadic herdsmen in the Asutsuare community. Safety of the crops from attack by the livestock and reduction of tension between the farmers and the nomadic herdsmen. The herdsmen will also benefit from reduced stigmatization and improved safety of their livestock. - The nomadic herdsmen will have designated and fenced area where they are assured of fodder and water for their livestock. They will also receive services from Agriculture extension officers. - Peace will prevail in the community where these two factions will coexist. There will be no need for the youth to be involved in conflicts - The good agricultural practices will support the sustainability of our environment, and improved crop yield for the people who live in peace.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Nomadic herdsmen are usually stereotyped and seen as ‘foreigners’. Even though they are usually hired by some members of the community to herd their livestock, they are not widely accepted as part of the community creating tension and conflict. These factors coupled with the search for fodder and water for their livestock make the herdsmen community very a mobile population. There are very few projects and interventions targeting nomadic herdsmen due to their mobile nature. Our idea seeks to set up structures that will support their acceptance in the communities they find themselves. We seek to resolve the factors that necessitate their mobility which include searching for fodder and water in other places when the existing land their livestock graze on is depleted.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

The Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES-Ghana) is an ECOSOC-accredited Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which is at the forefront of youth development policy, practice and research in Ghana.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Our experience has shown that whenever there is a conflict, the youth get enlisted in the conflict to fight. Those who are worse affected are women and children. As a youth organization, we are passionate about promoting peace and ensuring prosperity for young people.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

The nomadic herdsmen practise free-range cattle rearing. Due to limited grassland for the cattle, they are usually compelled to herd their cattle into farms to graze and destroy the crops. The grazing in the farms by the cattle affects crop yield, causes food insecurity for the farmers and reduction in expected income. It also takes a while to return a land into its vegetative state when the herdsmen vacate a place. This practice has created a conflict between the herdsmen and the farmers in the communities where the cattle have grazed on farms. The herdsmen use firearms to resist attempts to drive them out from the communities where they operate, resulting in bloody clashes. The government of Ghana established ‘Operation Cow Leg’ (a joint military and police) taskforce to flush-out over 45,000 cattle from the Agogo Township. The operation resulted in the death of taskforce members, cattle and some of the herdsmen.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

We will work with a number of institutions to support the project idea. 1. We will work with the local government authorities and the Ministry of Interior in the process of reconciliation and grant indemnity and residential status for the nomadic herdsmen. 2. We will work with local authorities (chiefs and community leaders) to identify designated land for the ranch and recruit members of the reconciliation committee. 3. We will work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Agric Extension Officers to facilitate good husbandry. 4. We will work with the Ghana Cattle Farmers Association to find a market for the livestock. Our Experience: YES-Ghana was part of a project that sought to train 23,700 youth to take advantage of the booming construction sector. YES-Ghana was responsible for the mobilization of all the participants. To effectively mobilise the youth, we worked alongside local authorities and other partners. This made our efforts very successful.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

70% of the economic output of Agogo is farming. It has vast acres of arable land and pasture. This will make it easy to find land for the ranching when we negotiate with the communities. Agogo also has a vast majority of young people who can be employed on the ranch and in the farms.

Geographic Focus

Agogo, a community in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

36 months

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Christina Schwanke

YES - GHANA null I enjoyed reading through your proposal. It is interesting because cattle grazing is a source of conflict in the US as well. I have lived in a few different states and it looks different. For instance in North Dakota they have free range territories and set up cattle guards in the roads entering these territories. It becomes conflict because they have a massive amount of heavy truck traffic due to the oil and the cows get hit and killed. The territories determine who pays for the damage but there is often disagreement. In Nevada we have state owned land that the BLM gives out permits to graze but there has been a disagreement between the government and ranchers that has led to armed standoffs. You can look up the Bundy Ranch for more info. I honestly don't know enough about the conflict to speak to right or wrong but I can say it has been dramatic and heartbreaking for everyone on both sides. All that to be said I can see how important it is to resolve this issue. I wish you a ton of luck in this endeavor!


Photo of YES - GHANA null

Hi Christina,

Thanks for your well wishes.
I believe every location has it's peculiar challenges. The first community where we wanted to implement this idea is Agogo in the Ashanti Region in Ghana. The ministry of interior and the local government authorities implemented an operation cow leg to drive out all the herdsmen with their cattle out of the community. That exercise was call operation cow leg where police and military officers shoot and kill cattle who are found wandering. According to the news, they have so far driven out over 20,000 cattle with their herdsmen from the land. We believe that the successful implementation of the project will help us to learn and provide some information to the government of Ghana on how they can ensure a peaceful co-existence of both the crop farmers and the herdsmen.

Photo of Christina Schwanke

YES - GHANA null 

Thank you for sharing the additional information. My first reaction was "whoa, the herdsman must be doing something very wrong if the government is shooting and killing the cattle." I realize this might not be the case. I read your response to Ashley Tillman below and it sounds like there is a lot of confusion about who owns land and who is entitled to use it? Is this correct? I have to admit I would be very angry if I farmed land and someone allowed their cattle to graze and ruin all of my hard work. It sounds like theft? Then again if I am not entitled to farm the land it's a risk I would have to accept? I apologize for all the questions. It is extremely interesting how different parts of the world work and how we can collaborate to help.

My last thought on the problem is your thoughts on zoning. I have some but limited experience with farming and ranching so please disregard if it does not fit in (and if you have time please deepen my understanding of regional differences.) In my community they farm and raise cattle. Instead of zoning the land for one use of the other they rotate the use season to season to better the land and feed the cows. In the summer growing season cows are placed in land that is unsuitable for farming but yields enough food for the cows to enjoy 4-6 months out of the year. In October the cows come home to the farm land and eat the leftovers and are supplemented with hay. I have been told the cows grazing the land helps to fertilize it and their presence helps clean up and mix leftover agri-waste. Perhaps this is not regionally applicable or maybe this kind of collaboration requires more peace than allowed now? I would love to know.

On a side note. One of my mentors in life was an 84 year old land developer. When he started developing housing in his early career he bought an overgrown piece of property for $10,000. He didn't have the capital necessary to clear the lot so he purchased some starving cattle from a neighbor for $10,000 and placed them on the overgrown property. For several months the cows ate and ate until the lot was clear and they were fat. He was able to sell the cows for $20,000 and utilize that money to build much needed housing for our community. (This housing he went on to rent our for less than market value to make sure the most vulnerable in our community always had a decent place to live, which is another story for another time.) This is always a reminder to me that there is always a creative way to get the job done....and sometimes cows are the answer.


Photo of YES - GHANA null

Hi Christina ,
Thanks for your feedback and your questions. We have learnt so much from the development of this idea, how much the issue is not just a regional issue but a global one. All the questions are legit and they call for good strategies to solve the problems. Let me attempt to respond to all your questions.

1. The land tenure system in Ghana is wrought a lot of confusion, therefore people are careful when dealing with land issues. Usually, it is families that own the land so they hold the title deeds to the property. The family is most of the time an extended family with different people having different vested interest. A person who owns a land has to register it at the lands commission. A process that has its fair of challenges and bureaucracies. The confusion usually sets in when a family is divided on who should keep the title deed of the land. Different members from the same family can sell the same plot of land to different people causing even more confusion. The chiefs who have custodians of the land also have what we call stool lands which they give out for development work in the communities. There are crop farmers who own the land on which they farm and there are others who hire the land for farming. The herdsmen also hire the land for the rearing of their cattle. Almost 100% of the herdsmen are strangers to the land. Some of them are from the Fulani tribe and are not even Ghanaians. So, sometimes there is a language barrier.

2. On the issue of cattle wrecking farms, we have heard different stories from both the nomadic herdsmen and the farmers. However, a thorough introspection points to the fact that, since the allocation of the land for crop-farming and cattle grazing are not regulated, cattle are either grazing close to the crop farms or the crop farms comes between the cattle and the dams from which the cattle drink and find refreshment. Sometimes, some crop farmers farm close to the dams for easy access to water for irrigation and that causes problems for the herdsmen. So, we see that if there is deliberate zoning of land with the right amenities, then we can avoid the confusion and conflict. When we met with both the community development members, the farmers and the , they all acknowledge the problem and they believed that the zoning of the land can solve it.

3. When we spoke to an agronomist from the University for Development Studies in Northern Region of Ghana which is noted for cattle rearing. He advised of a rotation system where after a couple of farming season (a year or two), the crop farmers will farm on the ranch and the herd will move to the crop farm. He showed documentation on where this has worked on a smaller scale where the crop farmers experienced a higher yield. When that is done, there will be less reliance on artificial fertilisers saving cash and the environment.

Photo of Christina Schwanke

YES - GHANA null 

Thank you for your detailed answers. I had a few thoughts in regards to your answers. Take them with a grain of salt as I am not the one immersed in your issues but they might be of help.

1. You might look into the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the United States on practical ways to organize the system. Reservations face similar issues with land ownership and the BIA in my limited experience has great systems in place to make sure their is very little confusion on land use. I don't have a contact off hand but if you are interested I would be happy to reach out and find a good person for advise. (My former coworker worked very closely with the BIA in land rights just like this.)

2. I am so glad that there is optimism on both sides.

3. I really love the idea of natural fertilizers! I am glad you guys are on this track!

Good Luck!

Christina Schwanke

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Thank you for the feedback. It is very useful.
I checked the BIA website and I like the Branch of Agriculture and Rangeland Development's oversight and technical assistance on eight thematic areas. We will definitely learn from that in the implementation of our ideas. We will be grateful for the contact at BIA to learn more from them.

Photo of Christina Schwanke

YES - GHANA null I've got a name for you but I am working on the best contact info. Message me on Linkedin and I will send it over later this week!


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