Friday, February 24, 2012

NGO constructs GH¢11,370 rain harvesting water tank for Gnani community in Yendi

From: Francis Npong, Gnani,
A sod has been cut for the construction of three rain water harvesting tanks for the pupils of Gnani primary and junior high school at a short ceremony held at Gnani in the Yendi Municipality.
The project valued at GH¢ 11, 370 and funded by Eagle Communication Filming Company based in Canada through Christian Children Fund of Canada (CCFC) was part of the efforts to promote children health and education.
The tanks when completed would bring the number of rainwater harvesting tanks constructed by CCFC through partner organisations in the northern region to 107 at the cost of GH¢305, 000 according to the country Director of CCFC, Mrs Sanatu Nantogma.
She said the project is part of the water, health, nutrition, sanitation, sustainable livelihood development and hygiene intervention area under CCFC which aimed at reducing water and sanitation related diseases among school pupils. The organisation is registered in Canada as charity organization, also member of Child Fund Alliance- a child focused alliance of international organisations operating in over 55 countries protecting and promote children development, education and health.
Mrs. Nantogma explained that CCFC addresses the needs of children in economically poor areas and that provision of water to school children would help them stay and learn in the school, promote hygiene and prevent sanitation and water related diseases. She said the project would also discourage absenteeism, child delinquency among other things.
The Vice president of CCFC-Canada, Carol Froom said children are the future world leaders and deserved every encouragement and support they deserve to development as responsible adults and that her outfit would continue to support the needs of children in Ghana and for that matter the whole wide world.
The project which is being implemented by Tuma Kavi Development Association, a community based non-for profit organisation is parts efforts to solve perennial water crisis faced community schools. The project Coordinator of Tuma Kavi, Mr. Jonathan Nasona Zakaria said aside these water tanks CCFC is financing $32,000 3-class room Early Childhood Development Center at Gnani to improve children education in the Yendi Municipality.
The rainwater harvesting tanks which is being constructed by Duraqua Company Ltd (DCL), would contain 30,000 litres which is enough to last for six months dry season period and would serve the pupils and community members from the difficulties they go through before accessing water during dry season.

Ghana gov’t urged to lead role in climate change talks in Africa

From: Francis Npong, Tamale
The stakeholders in development have called on government of Ghana to play an influential role in forging a concerted and strong African voice at the Copenhagen talks and beyond to signal the seriousness of climate change issues to Africa and other vulnerable countries in the world.
According to them, a concerted and strong position by Africa governments in Copenhagen talks would give a good signal of the seriousness of climate change for Africa and developing world that are most likely to bear the brunt of climate change.
In a nine-point communiqué signed by the Director of SEND-Ghana, Mr. Samuel Zan Akologo, Delasie Frank Amable, Care/KASA, Tony Dogbe, Participatory Development Associates, Tzvetelina Arsova, Christian Aid and Bashiru Daballi for chief of Tamale, and issued at the end of a two-day consultative forum on climate change organized by SEND-Ghana held in Tamale, the stakeholders commanded government on her efforts so far undertaken and its willingness to continue to engage civil society in the run-up toCopenhagen climate change talks and it related issues.
They however called on government of Ghana to play an influential role in forging a concerted and strong African voice at the Copenhagen talks to advocate for a comprehensive deal on climate change that recognizes climate as an issue that was central to development, growth and poverty reduction, fair and equitable, recognizes the need to support vulnerable countries to adopt, and enable them to benefit substantially from financial mechanisms in responding to climate change.
They stressed the need for sustained efforts by civil society to partner government with the view to shaping a strong position at the Copenhagen climate change talks. They also encouraged government to build capacity across government institutions and integrate responses to climate change in relation to their development mandates and objectives.
They urged government to empower traditional authorities to play their role of stewardship over natural resources at the local in a responsible and accountable manner. They also urged civil society organizations to commit themselves to participate in the government of Ghana consultative processes in the lead up to the Copenhagen talks and beyond and also continue their own independent engagement on climate change issues through areas like sensitization, tracking government commitments, advocacy and lobbying.
They also called on civil society to enhance their capacity and broadening the consultative processes leading to the Copenhagen talks and beyond at the levels of society and developing a broad constituency and consensus on the causes, impacts and responses to climate change, climate vulnerability and adaptation among other things.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Farmer Group Demands enforcement of Anti-Bushfire Law

section of chiefs at anti-bush fire workshop
Frustrated members of Organic Mango Out-growers Association (OMOA) are agitating for the upright enforcement of anti-bushfire laws in northern region after its members have lost about 3,500 acres of mango plantation valued at 1,560,000Ghana cedis to bushfire.
According to the Coordinator of OMOA, Mr. Isahaku Idrissu, its members were frustrated by the consistent and indiscriminate bush burning that was wrecking havoc to farm plantations increasing poverty levels among them.
The Association was formed by Integrated Tamale Fruit Company (ITFC), a fruit processing and exporting company based in the region after its recruited 1,375 farmers to plant about 130,000 organic mango trees between 2001 and 2002 respectively.
These farmers however lost 3,500 acres of mango plantation approximately about 30,000 trees from 2008 to 2012 to bushfire. This rendered their five years of hard labour in vain increasing poverty level among them. “They are frustrated by the advent effects of bushfire and were ready to volunteer to enforce the bye-law, that’s why we are engaging necessary government agencies such as agric, forestry, EPA, and fire service and district assemblies to reintroduce anti-bushfire bye laws in the region”, the Coordinator told the Enquirer after he had addressed participants during anti-bushfire workshop in Savelugu.
The workshop that brought chiefs and youth leaders from Savelugu/Nanton, Karaga, and Tolon/Kunbumgu districts was parts of efforts to get assemblies to re-introduce anti-bushfire bye laws in the country.
The workshop was also used to educate chiefs on the devastating effects of bushfire, bush management and prevention techniques.
“We are currently out of one district because the one hundred acres of mango plantation there got burnt totally this year”, the coordinator said.
Mr. Iddrissu said that, the association was now approaching chiefs, District Assemblies, EPA and Agric and Forestry departments to enforce anti-bushfire law in the region.
Though, there was anti-bush burning law in the country that prohibits bush burning in northern region it was not being enforced to protect the vegetation as it was intended to.
“We want that law to be enforced now through chiefs who themselves are farmers and victims of the bushfire”, Mr, Iddrissu demanded.
He said that to reintroducing the bye laws by the assemblies would the prevent this unfortunate situation their members go through each year saying the devastating effects of bush buring were too much to cope with.
He hinted that about 450 local rice, maize, soy beans farmers lost their farm produce to bushfire this year alone and that until somebody supported them, their livelihoods would be hard to sustain throughout the year.
The District Chief Executive for Savelugu/Nanton, Alhaji Prince Askia Mohammed in an interview disclosed that the assembly could not enforce anti-bushfire law because of interferences from chiefs, community leaders and even politicians. Pointing out the negative effects of wildfires, he said the assembly was mobilizing food and other relief items for about 450 farmers who lost their farm produces to bushfires this year alone. He said the financial burden on the assembly relating bushfire was too great to bear considering other important pressing needs of the assembly.
He however appealed for collaboration from chiefs, youth leaders and other stakeholders for effective implementation of anti-bushfire laws.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Climate Change Vulnerability Needs Multi-facets Approach

“The green frogs, no, toads that used to hop from one corner of our garden just around our backyard there are no more. There were some wild birds that gave no rest in our rice farms. These rodents we used to see were admirable and beautiful with colourful feathers but they are no more. Where did all these animals go?” This was a recount of events of nature by  a 75 year  old women and a mother of six,  Kwajin Meinbah, based at Tatale in the Zabzuzu/Tatale District of the northern region ofGhana.

She’s no more into farming but now waiting impatiently to join her ancestors she told me with a forced smile that revealed her fallen teeth.   Afarmer? I asked childishly.

“Oh, boys of these days, look, I never allowed my husbands, to beat me in farming, the secret was that I used to supply some of my husbands, seeds of maize and rice because I was an aggressive woman farmer who wanted to portray that the difference between women and men is very thin. I supplied paper, okra, groundnuts and garden eggs freely to my fellow women. While I was still active, I never bought or begged for these ingredients until I left farming”, she said.

Swinging her right hand back and forth, Madam Meinbah who spoke passionately about farming and hardworking never failed to hit at me “you, modern children, you think farming is a bad thing it is because you are all lazy, and your cures will be poverty, hunger and starvation”.

She never stepped in a classroom before and therefore did not have formal education but that does not mean she could not reason. She said in 70s, when “fertimiza”, (chemical fertilizer) was introduced some farmers including herself spoke against the use of that white man thing. “Well, some accepted and used it and the very first time, they got bumper harvest and became vulnerable to the “fertimiza” afterwards and that caused serious loses, the beginning of their food insecurity”.

She explained that when farmers began using chemical fertilizers, they noticed some changes, strange things, the green frogs, earth worms, and wild birds were reducing in population but they claimed it was a sign of the anger of the Gods. “Each day people picked and threw or buried about three frogs in their farms and it became topical issues for discussion. This happened when “fertimiza” became popular among farmers”, she recounted.

Madam Meinbah narrated that in 1986, rains failed the farmers seriously and that brought famine to the country the following year (1987). And this was the year Ghana witnessed serious food crisis, untold hardship, and economic breakdown.

“Some of us (women farmers) could not cope after the crisis and have to abandon farming as a career to assist our husbands to feed the household. This brought our farming career to a halt” she lamented.

Her testimony depict the impact of climate change on vulnerable people particularly women and children. Madam Kwajin is part of the vulnerable and disadvantaged persons in society who are hard hit by the impacts of climate change.

At that year it was not only food supply that was affected, water supply was hard hit, there was also health crisis, and mass exodus of the youth from Ghana across the boarders particularly to Nigeria, minimal conflicts emerged over resources among the people in some part of the country. Rare Signs of climate change began in Ghana and parts of Sahara Africa region in 1986 but as it were the governments at the time never planned to putclimate resilience policies and programme to support the people to cope with the impact.

After this drought, Ghana had not been able to catch up with food security. Food had always been in short supply afterwards, the never ending water crisis also popped out and women and children continue to walk for kilometers to access drinking water for household chores, no alternative energy policies had been effectively implemented to stop the indiscriminate felling of trees, and youth migration from rural communities to urban centers in search for non existing jobs has become a usual phenomenon.

This is because agricultural lands no long support lucrative or profitable farming, the rainfall patterns had changed (now few rain drops), unpredictable weather patterns, flooding and unbearable heat continue to be recorded, and poverty, hunger, starvation and deprivation had gone pass their peak.

The country, according to the Ghana Wild Life department had also lost significant number of wild animal species, such as green frogs or toads, earth worms and other soil manipulating living organisms because of ever increasing temperatures and flooding.

Now the government had realized the need for green economy as she struggles to cope with the unemployment and development, hence the development of climate change policy framework.

Like Madam Meinbah who couldn’t tell the whereabouts of all these beautiful birds, butterflies, worms and green frogs that beautify the environment at her youthful days, so is my question, who caused climate change?

So tackling climate change would not only need cash but governmental and individual actions, support and willingness, and result oriented adaptation and mitigation measures to reduce the impact of climate change on people’s livelihoods.

It is against this background that Care International’s Climate Change Adaptation and Learning Programme (ALP) which seeks to increase the capacities of vulnerable communities and households to adapt to the effects of climate change using what they called community based adaptation approach is laudable.

The community based adaptation hinged on four key elements; promoting climate resilient livelihoods strategies, building capacities of local NGOs and local public institutions, disaster risk reduction strategies and addressing the underlying causes of vulnerability through social mobilization for empowerment and advocacy to influence policies implementations.

Until we are able to take the needed actions, developed the needed development plans, and generated legal frame works to support the implementation of climate change resilience plan actions, we will continue to witness, mass extinction of animal species, wild plants, water crisis, youth migration, conflicts, disasters and food crisis. That is why the fight against climate change, or tackling climate change needs multi-facets approach.  If we cannot bring the green toads back to Madam Meinbah’s backyard, we can prevent the crawling lizard from vanishing into thin air through climate resilience policies and programmes.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Brawl brews over Sheini Hills Iron Ore Mines

A long legal battle is looming over who has the right to mine iron ore in the Sheini Hills at Zabzugu-Tatale in the Northern region of Ghana.
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources a few weeks back granted prospectinglicenseto Emma Land and Cardero Resources Group of Companies to mine iron in the area after large deposits of the metal was discovered.However, another mining company, Inland Mining Ghana Limited has filed an application at an Accra high court praying the court to investigate how Emma Land acquired the license to operate and who has the right to mine in the area.
According to the lawyer for Inland Mining Ghana Limited, John Ndebugri, Emma Land submitted a pirated copy of his client’s report on the prospects of the area to the Minerals Commission and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources which got them to win the contract.
“Cardero did not do any work there, what they did was to pirate the report of Inland Mining ltd. in order to be given the license and we have the evidence to that effect. We are not going to let this matter rest,” Ndebugri declared.
Ndebugri told Citi Business News that Inland Mining Ghana will hit the courts to revoke the license of Emma Land and Cardero Resources Group of Companies.
The application is expected to be heard on December 20.
Soruce: Citifmonline. com

Friday, December 23, 2011

Technology for Food for Life: Bush Fire, A Stakeholder to Climate Change- EPA

Technology for Food for Life: Bush Fire, A Stakeholder to Climate Change- EPA: Bushfire is one of the major contributors of climate change, loss of biodiversity, land degradation, and affect precipitation, the Norther...

Bush Fire, A Stakeholder to Climate Change- EPA

Bushfire is one of the major contributors of climate change, loss of biodiversity, land degradation, and affect precipitation, the Northern Regional Director of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr. Iddrisu Abu has said.
Aside it adverse effect on weather, bushfire is also responsible for high poverty among local farmers and would take a national plan to deal with the menace, he added. He said that about 150 hectares of rice farm had been completely bent last week alone leaving thousands of local farmers mostly persistence highly devastated.
The EPA Boss was speaking to this reporter after a workshop on bush fire organised by the Environmental Protection Agency and Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology and sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The workshop which was aimed to help reverse desertification and drought in northern Ghana brought chiefs and community members from various part of the region together to discuss the menace.
The workshop was exclusively organised for local chiefs community leaders  and  to sensitize them on the need to desist from bush burning. It was under the theme: "integration of indigenous knowledge into bushfire management practices in northern ghana, the central role of tradtional authorities and their communities".
Mr. Abu said that apart from destroying soil structures and texture which leads to soil infertility, erosion and land degradation, wild fire also destroy large quantities of foodstuffs, lives and dwellings places of people and animals.
He said that indiscriminate bush burning invariably affect rainfall pattern, food production and have contribted to the drying up of water bodies forcing people particularly women and children to trek long distances in serach for water.
 A communiqué signed by the chiefs who attended the workshop also identified bushfire as the “brain behind” high poverty level among farmers and called for national action to deal with bush burning. The workshop which was organized by the Environmental protection Agency (EPA) and Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST) and sponsored by the Canadian international Development Agency (CIDA) was part of efforts to reverse looming desertification and drought in northern Ghana.
The workshop organized under the auspices of Ghana environmental Management Programme (GEMP), a 5-year environmental management plan being finance by CIDA and Ghana Government target the reduction of bushfire, indiscriminate tree felling. The programme rather support forestation, protection of woodlands, and enforcement of anti-bushfire law.
The communiqué indicated that 40 per cent of farm produce is lost through bushfire which often are set by rat hunters, cattle herdsmen and children. The communiqué however called for appropriate laws on bushfire to help curb the menace.
The chiefs also urged the government to empower chiefs, form fire volunteers in various communities to deal with wild fire.