Induced Resettlement and Livelihoods of Communities: A Case Study of the Bui Dam Jama Resettlement Community, Ghana

Abdul-Rahim Abdulai, Lois Araba Fynn
International Journal of Community Development and Management Studies  •  Volume 2  •  2018  •  pp. 145-158
Study aimed to examine the impacts of the Bui-Dam Hydroelectric Power (BHP) project resettlement on communities’ livelihoods. The purpose was to understand how the resettlement affected livelihood assets, activities, and capabilities of communities and households.
Induced displacements and livelihoods of households and communities have received enormous scholarly attention in many academic disciplines. In this paper, we add to the contributions in this issue area, employing a case study, to examine the livelihood effects to communities involved in the Phase A of the Bui Resettlement Program in Jama, Ghana.
In-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and observations were used to closely understand, from the perspective of stakeholders, including affected households, community leaders, and resettlement authorities, the impact of the project on livelihood capabilities, assets and activities.
Contribution The study has shown that resettlement presents communities with both challenges and opportunities. This conclusion is important in planning future projects, because, it will allow practitioners to carefully plan with both dimensions at sight.
The study revealed that livelihood assets, including agricultural lands and fishing lake, were affected. However, farmlands were replaced while the lake remained accessible to households, posing little change in general livelihood activities. The quality and adequacy of the new resources were however in question, and some households were forced to change activities. Capabilities of resettled people were not affected; however, some were rendered useless in the new location while social ties and sense of belongingness were negatively affected.
Recommendations for Practitioners
Considering the findings of this research, for future induced resettlement, we recommend that proactive measure be taken to understand the potential impacts of projects to be incorporated into planning. In addition, livelihood supports should be planned on long-term basis, to ensure that all potential impacts are predetermined. Broadly, context-specific safeguard policies should be pursued at the local level.
Recommendation for Researchers
It is important to consider both the positive and negative impacts of induced resettlement to provide a holistic picture of how it affects households and communities. Researchers studying resettlement must therefore expand their scope of consideration to inform holistic policy actions.
Impact on Society
The study provides findings that can enhance the sustainability of community livelihoods in the face of infrastructural development activities in pursuit of economic growth.
Future Research
From the research perspective, future studies could well focus on understanding both dimensions of the impacts of various projects. Such an approach will provide valuable inputs to development planners and practitioners on how to effectively optimize project outcomes. The findings will also serve as a benchmark for people studying the same project long after all the phases are completed.
Resettlement, Dams, Community Livelihoods, Ghana
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