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Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 375-398; doi:10.3390/su6010375
Article

Migration, Social Demands and Environmental Change amongst the Frafra of Northern Ghana and the Biali in Northern Benin

1,* , 1,†
 and 2,†
1 Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Walter-Flex-Street 3, Bonn D-53113, Germany 2 Institute of Geography, Klima Campus, University of Hamburg, Grindelberg 7, Hamburg D-20144, Germany These authors contributed equally to this work.
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 October 2013 / Revised: 11 December 2013 / Accepted: 12 December 2013 / Published: 14 January 2014
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Abstract

The impacts of environmental change and degradation on human populations, including the possibility of sharp increases in the number of people considered “environmental migrants” have gained considerable attention. Migrating communities may try to distribute their members along particular lines of kinship, gender, marriage and/or services linked to land exploitation and agriculture. This paper explores archives and narratives of African migrants in northwestern Benin and northeastern Ghana. These regions have been marked by severe ecological change and resource deterioration over the years, as well as changes in marital patterns, family relations and customary practices. In the case of Benin, the paper looks at different ethnic groups that migrated from neighboring countries to the study region. It then focuses on the Biali, who undertake marriage journeys after practicing rituals, which are often related to agricultural activities. The Frafra (Ghana), who, in their bid to out-migrate as a livelihood/coping strategy in the advent of environmental deterioration and rainfall variability, are confronted with high bride prices, changing family relations and customary practices. The paper concludes by highlighting socio-cultural changes that ensue in the face of outmigration among different ethnic groups, especially the Biali and Frafra, and the relationship between non-environmental and environmental factors, and mobility strategies.
Keywords: migration; environment; marriage; Biali; Frafra; northern Ghana; northern Benin migration; environment; marriage; Biali; Frafra; northern Ghana; northern Benin
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Sow, P.; Adaawen, S.A.; Scheffran, J. Migration, Social Demands and Environmental Change amongst the Frafra of Northern Ghana and the Biali in Northern Benin. Sustainability 2014, 6, 375-398.

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