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Audience Location

In the Village of Gburma /Tamale Ghana

Date and Time

June 20, 2015 at 11 am GMT tentatively

Tamale GWD 2015

Water Locale



The community members of Gburma will be performing the dance.

History of Site and Related Water Issues

Gburma village is located 13 km northeast of Tamale. This community is proactively embracing the ideals of conservation as a nascent initiative to promote holistic socio development and sustain its natural resources.
According to the UN, South America and Africa lose forests at a rate faster than anywhere else on the globe.The Savannah woodlands in the region -where this community is located- continue to be degraded.
Trees – including Shea trees – continue to be chopped down and used for fuel by local community members. Such practices are unsustainable. They do not only threaten people’s livelihoods but also have major climate change implications.
Shea trees are particularly important to the local economy of northern Ghana as they yield nuts that are crushed into a creamy yellow butter widely used in food, cosmetics and soaps. Climate change threatens to destabilize this traditional business; which is a source of income for the local women.
On the 20th of June, the local dam site will be a joyous hive of activity as the community members gather to perform their historic local dance – called Bamaya- as part of the Global Water Dances performances.
The dance will culminate some crop and tree planting activities to break ground on a 10 acre agro forestry resource center which is being initiated within the community.

enthusiastic bucket brigade of local children are helping distribute the blue buckets to every household in Gburma Village.
Water Issues
Almost all homes in this community depend on the natural environment for income and for cooking for their families. Furthermore, the region’s small scale farmers rely on 6 months of rainfall, between May and October, to cultivate food crops.
For decades, the community has been using agricultural practices which are not always sustainable.
This has arguably resulted in a change in regional climate conditions over the last few decades. As a result, rainfall has declined and become even more erratic.
The flowering seasons of the Shea and other trees have been impacted thus continuing to harm yields. Particularly for the Gburma community, its closest water reservoir/dam relied on now dries up months before the next rainy season.
The dam site location has been chosen primarily to highlight some of the impacts of climate change – including water, food and fuel security challenges- and to express a community’s willingness to be active participants in reversing the impacts of climate change while improving its socio economic status.


Local music with drumming and flute playing.

The Performance

Tamale’s Global Water Dances performance was successful in highlighting water scarcity challenges in the participating communities. We were honored to have on board members of the Ghana team which worked diligently to eradicate Guinea worm ( a waterborne disease) from Ghana in collaboration with the Carter Center  i.e. founded by former president of the US Jimmy Carter.

The performance drew influences from historic natural events – particularly a drought from some centuries back- and how the rural communities resiliently overcame it using their natural cultural ingenuity.

It sought to portray indigenous consciousness of climate change impacts on water resources and innovative ways to reverse the trend while creating jobs and employment.

 This culturally enriching performance, highlighted the knowledge base of the informal sector, particularly in rural areas, and how they can contribute in this global fight to combat water scarcity and climate change impacts.

Coordinator and choreography concept developer: Emmanuel Brace – An engineering graduate from the University of Kentucky with masters in the natural sciences from the Johns Hopkins University. He collaborates with rural communities to explore ways to harmonize their methods of resource management and industrial processes with modern global sustainability policies and procedures. Currently, he consults in the international developmental sector.

Directions to the Site of Performance

The dam is located in the Gburma Community in the Northern Region of Ghana.

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