Information Ecologies in Rural Ghana

In the next few posts, I would like to present some findings on the information ecology of rural Ghana, from fieldwork I conducted back in June- September 2010 as IFPRI research fellow. A total of 7 focus group discussions were carried out, following participatory rural communication appraisal methods (Mefalopulos, P., & Kamlongera, C. 2004). The focus groups lasted approximately 2 hours and were typically held in community locations such as churches, schools or other central areas. The table below describes the sampled (anonymous) sites in terms of complementary infrastructure such as motorable roads and electricity; as well as, the number of male and female participants in each group.

Community Region District centre Surfaced road Electricity
Men Women Total
Adwoa Ashanti 45km No No 12 6 18
Kwadwo Ashanti 16km Yes Yes 12 1 13
Abenaa Eastern 51.3km Yes Yes 7 7 14
Kwabena Northern 22km Yes No 25 0 25
Akua Northern 30km No Yes 10 1 11
Kwaku Northern 38km No No 10 6 16
Yaa Northern 30.3 km No No 10 12 22

The field trip was carried out by myself, my research assistant Marian Asamoa and our driver Alfred. We conducted semi-structured discussions of information channels and farming practices, which allowed us to document an ecology of agricultural information channels. The exercises completed by tge groups involved the ‘human web’ (a method emphasizing relationships within the group and interdependencies within the community), participatory mapping of information resources, and ‘problem tree’ discussion of productivity gaps (a method for revealing perceived problems). The next few posts will include material from those discussions.

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