The Volta River Project and Tongu Ewe migrant communities along the Volta Lake: A case of development\'s unintended consequences?

  • Dzodzi Tsikata Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, Legon


This article which is based on research into the livelihoods of Tongu fishermen and their families along the Volta Lake argues that as a result of the unprecedented ecological changes in the Lower Volta in the aftermath of the Akosombo Dam, there was wholesale out-migration of Tongu fishermen and their families from the Lower Volta to the Volta Lake. The new livelihoods fashioned by men and women around the Volta Lake had some important similarities with pre-dam livelihoods, but differed in highly significant ways. Migration meant that access to land and the Volta Lake had to be continuously negotiated with host communities and the Volta River Authority (VRA). While fishing and farming continued to be the main livelihood activities, clam picking and creek fishing were no longer possible activities for Tongu women and men respectively. Even more importantly, there was a transformation of livelihood activities from being organised around the seasonal flooding of the Volta River to being organised around lakeside fishing, a male dominated activity. This had implications for the autonomy of women\'s livelihood activities and created tensions in gender relations. As well, the organisation of livelihood activities around the Volta Lake has resulted in labour relations and practices between kin and non-kin which have flourished outside the purview of labour legislation in Ghana.

Institute of African Studies: Research Review Vol. 20(2) 2004: 33-51

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eISSN: 0855-4412
print ISSN: 0855-4412