Title: Self-mobilization for wildfire prevention in the Goziri community, Upper West Region, Ghana

Author(s): Emmanuel Lignule
Final project
Year of publication:
Supervisors: Brita Berglund
wildfire management, community engagement, leadership


Fire is commonly used for agricultural purposes, but in areas with a high amount of dry grass, uncontrolled handling of fire often causes wildfires, which can have many negative effects. Using a qualitative approach, this study explores how the Goziri community in the Upper West Region of Ghana developed their own approach to managing wildfires. The study found that wildfire management in the community began as a local initiative to address the seasonal shortage of grass for livestock grazing, due to wildfires. The whole community was actively engaged in creating and enforcing rules for wildfire management, consisting of fire prevention practices such as careful handling of fire and minimal agricultural burning, as well as enforcement measures. The approach to fire management was community based, and transformational leadership was an essential driver. Other drivers were community engagement, clear purpose and expectations from fire management, fulfilled expectations, use of inexpensive everyday equipment for firefighting and adapting fire management to the local context. It is argued that the fire management approach used in Goziri could be applied in other communities in the Upper West Region of Ghana and elsewhere in order to make wildfire management more effective and thus enhancing the agricultural yield and livelihoods of local farmers. Some recommendations built on this study are leadership training for community leaders, ensuring a clear purpose with wildfire management, and that community expectations are met. Also, it is essential to ensure community engagement with wildfire management and to adapt wildfire management to local contexts, including the use of simple equipment for firefighting. Moreover, research is needed on the effects of wildfire prevention on soil fertility.

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