Mitigating the impacts of floods using adaptive and resilient coping strategies: The role of the emergency Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty program (LEAP) in Ghana

J Environ Manage. 2020 Sep 15:270:110809. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.110809. Epub 2020 Jul 8.


Understanding how households make use of adaptive and resilient coping strategies are steps in the right direction of dealing with disaster risks and extreme weather and climate events. In the recent past, safety nets programs have been quickly scaled up to respond to some of these climate-related and other types of shocks in a bid to improve resilience and restore the productive capacity of households. In Ghana for instance, there has been the flagship Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) program from which stemmed an ad-hoc cash grant program, Emergency LEAP which is rolled out to victims of natural disasters like floods, storms, and droughts. Based on the above, this paper analyzes the role of the Emergency LEAP in building the adaptive and resilient nature of households against floods. With insights from an extended version of the Protection Motivation Theory (PMT), the paper hypothesizes that relief assistance has a negative impact on the adoption of risk mitigation measures against floods. The study employs both binary and count data models like the Probit, the Poisson, and the Negative Binomial models respectively to establish the impact of such relief assistance on the adaptive behavior of households.The findings reject the null hypothesis; thus, strengthening the argument that relief assistance has a negative influence on the use of resilient coping strategies. Furthermore, the study establishes that experience in floods increases the resilient nature of households. The study concludes that social safety net programs like the emergency LEAP could perform better if given a renewed focus that transcends beyond just cash benefit to including much better long-term interventions like the integration of community-driven development (CDD) programs as well as inducing behavioral change through information access and education.

Keywords: Binary and count models; Flood resilience; Floods; LEAP; Protection motivation theory.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Empowerment
  • Floods*
  • Ghana
  • Poverty*