Dynamics of Drought-Related Migration Among Five Villages in the Savannah of Ghana
For many households in rural sub-Saharan Africa, drought is an important environmental shock because it undermines livelihoods and wellbeing. There is a growing concern that droughts in the context of a changing climate could magnify migration out of rural areas. Using an exploratory mixed method approach, this paper explores the relationship between drought and migration in five villages in the northern savannah of Ghana. The results suggest that drought-related migration in the savannah is much about rural to rural migration as it is about rural to urban migration. This observation contrasts with the concentration of the literature on the possibilities and outcomes of climate-induced rural to urban migration. The study further highlights the mediating role of a range of idiosyncratic factors in the migration responses to drought. A multivariate analysis showed that selected individual, household, and village variables explain about 21.5% of drought-related migration. The qualitative results revealed additional mediating factors notably; individual aspirations the effect of pull factors and networks. Thus, drought-related migration is not always about vulnerability and responses as commonly viewed but intricately intertwined with the socio-economic and political dynamics of people. The multiplicity of factors and the complexity of their interaction clearly show the need to shift away from simplistic and deterministic notions of the climate-migration nexus.