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The University of Southampton
Public Policy|Southampton

Facilitating engagement with Ghanaian policymakers to increase impact of Southampton-led research on climate change and health in Ghana


Climate change will exacerbate existing inequalities, with greatest impact seen in the rural populations across Ghana. Ghana is unlikely to meet international targets such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and so must consider approaches that appropriately integrate new knowledge within health systems to support development. This initiative specifically relates to SDG3.d to strengthen the capacity of particularly developing countries to manage public health risks. Additionally, SDG13 addresses the need to take urgent action on climate change and its impact, with 13.2 aiming to integrate measures into national policies. This emphasizes the relevance of this project. Finally, SDG1.5 is to build the resilience of those in vulnerable situations to climate-related events and their impacts.

In 2017, Ghana’s SDG index value ranking for this target was 61.0 ( Whilst this is an improvement on recent decades, this index score ranks lower than Nigeria (85) or South Africa (74), indicating that improvements can – and must – be made. We can contribute to development by better understanding the perceptions of those most at risk. With Dr Michael Head, Dr Ken Brackstone and other UoS colleagues, we have a study taking place in Ghana in early 2023 on knowledge, attitudes and practice in rural communities around climate change and health. There is little delivery of ‘intelligence’ from rural communities to inform real-time decision-making. The pilot study will assess population knowledge, attitudes and practices in relation to climate change. Low-cost participatory studies are of particular interest to policy stakeholders in lower-income settings, and particularly in rural ‘Last Mile’ populations. From a UN definition, the Last Mile refers to groups who are “not only the poorest of the poor, but also the people that are under-served and excluded, where development needs are greatest, and where resources are most scarce”.

Within the research, we will also explore individuals’ perceptions of the impact of climate change on food and nutrition security. This reflects my interests and curriculum within the MSc in Public Health and Nutrition course that I am currently undertaking, and will be the area that I focus on for my dissertation. This fund would allow me to channel my findings for my research project into activities that can be of interest to Ghanaian and international policymakers. The ‘New Things’ project would enable me to learn more about how research findings are translated into policy briefs, and talk to those in policy-making in Ghana that can use the results in strategy planning.

This proposal fits within the “internationalisation” pillar of the university strategy (, specifically supporting Objectives 4 (“to influence policy makers”) and 5 (“to build high-value global partnerships”). It also fits within PPS’ vision to provide evidence to inform policy to address major societal challenges, by giving overseas policymakers an efficient link with research conducted at Southampton (


To disseminate our findings about climate change, health, and nutrition to policymakers in Ghana.


• To understand the knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) of rural communities in Ghana surrounding sustainable health development amid climate change with regards to food security.
• To present these findings in policy-friendly formats (e.g. policy briefs)
• To expand our network of colleagues in Ghana who are involved in opinion-forming and policy-making who have a vested interest in the findings of this research.
• To expand also our international policy network, for example in London or at the UN agencies in Geneva
• To develop resources including an internal report on the findings, a policy brief, and an up-to-date database of relevant Ghanian policymakers that will be available to PPS and other UoS researchers.

Potential Impact

This project contains the potential to support evidence-informed policymaking around protecting the most vulnerable populations from the effects of climate change on their health, including food security and nutrition policies. By bringing the findings to a wide range of stakeholders through this New Things Fund, the surveys and focus groups will provide an enhanced voice to Last Mile communities that are underserved and requires the most development. This ambition is in line with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN’s ‘Voices of the Hungry’ initiative, which was developed to monitor the adequacy of people’s access to food to inform policy. This will illustrate new ways forward to sustain knowledge flow between rural communities and policymakers.
The project will also have a positive impact on CIRU’s and the University of Southampton’s global reputation, as we make an effort to help rural communities work towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Individually, it will have a huge impact on my professional development. Through guidance and mentorship, I will be able to extend my knowledge, build policy and research networks in Ghana, and evolve my dissertation into real-time, effective research that can be usefully disseminated.

Specific Outputs

• Numerous meetings with high-level national and international policy stakeholders in Ghana.
• A database of global health and climate change policy contacts highlighting specific groups and individuals, to allow for rapid dissemination and use of research findings at the appropriate time. This will be shared within UoS for other researchers’ use.
• Internal report for UoS colleagues about climate change and health policy networks in Ghana.
• A professionally produced policy brief summarizing the relevant research findings. This will form a basis for those conversations with stakeholders even beyond the timeframe of this proposal.
• New policy connections for myself as an early-career researcher. This will support my career development via both research and those formed during my travels.

Role of Partner Organisations

PACKS Africa are overseen by Executive Director, Kirchuffs Atengble, who also holds a Visiting Academic position with UoS. He will lead on in-country networking and scoping of appropriate policy stakeholders, with whom we can engage and discuss our research and their priority areas.
UDS are the Ghanaian lead institution for the ongoing climate change and health study and are performing the data collecting within the communities. UDS academic lead is Dr Victor Mogre. They are based in the city of Tamale, close to the study site of Mion municipality.
Songtaba are an NGO based in Tamale. They specialize in addressing inequalities within rural communities, particular inequities around gender, and bringing findings from their research and advocacy to the attention of the wider policy community. Here, they will support us with advising on how best to integrate thinking around gender inequality into our research results and discussions with policymakers. They will also help disseminate study findings and network with potential new research and implementation collaborators.

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG2 - Zero Hunger;SDG3 - Good Health and Well-Being;SDG10 - Reduced Inequalities ;SDG11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities;SDG13 - Climate Action.

Project Members

Project Lead: Jessica Boxall

Michael Head

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