Think Creative Spring 2022

Left : The Littorals Regional Initiative in Ghana mapped relationships between herders and settled farmers. This helped lead to ethnic Fulbe people being invited to participate in community decision-making.

Bridging community gaps Researchers found that ethnic Fulbe who are typically herders made significant economic and social contributions to society, though they regularly faced outright discrimination from residents and authorities. The findings were shared with local assemblies, immigration officials, traditional leaders and key community influencers. Alburi-Hammah explained that since the findings were made public, there have been sig nificant improvements in relations among the Fulbe, local authorities and other ethnic groups. “Previously, the Fulbe were not invited to par ticipate in community meetings,” the chief re called. “And, when we would voluntarily attend, we were mocked and not allowed to speak.” Since the release of the research, the environment has improved. “For the first time, I received an invitation to an assembly meeting, where I advocated for reducing cattle rate taxes for the Fulbe,” the chief said. The local assembly granted his request by reducing the $3.24 tax per head of cattle by 50 percent. Reacting to the assembly’s decision, Alhaji Saadu, a Fulbe leader and cattle herder in Tumu, was overjoyed. “You have no idea how excited I am!” he said. “For once, something has been done in our favor. We thank the assembly for listening to our concerns and reducing the rates!” The assembly also benefits from the reduced cattle rates because more herders now pay

their taxes on time, the Tumu municipal devel opment planning officer acknowledged. “Reduction in the cattle rate has resulted in an increase in the revenue collected,” he said. “The Fulbe now feel part of the community and are more willing to pay taxes. There is also no need to involve the security service to force them to pay.” Through the research, he added, the assembly now has a better idea of the Fulbe population’s size and is putting in measures to provide life-sustaining services—such as potable drinking water—that are lacking in many Fulbe communities. At the community level, relationships have equally improved. “In many communities, women are no longer denied the opportunities to access the grinding mill, and hospital staff treat us on a first-come, first-served basis and not last because we are Fulbe,” the chief explained. While some communities have yet to embrace the new status quo entirely, Alburi-Hammah remains optimistic that it is only a matter of time. “I am happy I granted the interview to the data collectors who came to my house. It has benefitted my people, and we are committed to working with authorities to ensure we live together in peace.” By mapping these relationships, OTI will be able to prioritize and to design relevant inter ventions to address grievances that leave Fulbe communities vulnerable to extremist influence and recruitment. n

terviewwould escalate or deescalate the conflict.” Ghana’s Upper West Region is home to a large mix of Fulbe populations—long-term settlers and pastoralist populations who historically move their livestock from neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali during the dry season. Longstanding prejudice, exclusion and competition for land between Fulbe herders and settled farmers cause increasing conflict and destabilizing dynamics. “The main source of conflict is crop destruction and the unfair treatment we receive from authorities and other ethnic groups,” Alburi Hammah noted. Supported by USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives Littorals Regional Initiative, which is implemented by Creative, the project used qualitative research to map relationships between Fulbe herders and settled farmers in six districts.

I am happy I granted the interview to the data collectors who came to my house. It has benefitted my people, and we are committed to working with authorities to ensure we live together in peace.” - Chief Mahamudu Alburi-Hammah, Fulbe leader “ | 21

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