The Coalition for Development of Northern Ghana, (NORTHCODE-Ghana) has organized an annual general meeting (AGM) for stakeholders of the Jelinkon CREMA in the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba District of the Savannah Region.
The AGM was organized on Wednesday 28th December, 2022 within the framework of the Noe funded ECONOBIO 2 Program on “Development of Green Value Chains for the Benefit of Local Populations Living on the Outskirts of Biodiversity – rich Areas with the support of the private sector and civil Society”.
The meeting afforded NORTHCODE, partner Communities as well as other key stakeholders such as the Mole National Park and the District Assembly to take stock of the achievements of the project and the way forward for the coming years.
The Technical Lead for the project, Mr. Dokurugu Andrew Yahaya said the purpose of the annual general meeting is to demonstrate accountability by giving a detailed report to stakeholders on the activities and achievements of the Community Resource Management Areas (CREMA).
He also used the forum to explain the role and functions of the CREMA and solicit increased engagement and cooperation of all stakeholders to enable them take stock of the performance of the CREMA so far and chart the way forward.
The members of the CREMA who also constitute the beneficiaries of the ECONOBIO 2 Project consist of a cluster of 10 communities in the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba District of the Savannah Region of Ghana.
They include: Soma, Jang, Jelinkon, Kodanyina 1, Kodanyina 2, Yamoiyiri, Baheliyiri, Muiyiri, Yoliyiri and Wekura CREMA.
Mr. Dokurugu said the goal of the project was to contribute to the development of sustainable economic sectors based on non-timber forest products in and around the protected areas, while improve upon biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources by communities.
To this end, he noted some key achievements of the project notably: the formation of community beekeeper groups with a membership of over 220 community men and women that have receive training in modern beekeeping as well as equipment for product and processing Supported by a well-equipped and community managed honey processing centre in Jelinkon, the farmers produced and sold-out honey earning a gross amount of GHS13,000 in 2022.
A one-acre plot of land has also been secured and equipped with a mechanized bore-hole at Yoliyiri from which a group of women are carrying out dry season gardening to provide fresh vegetables for their households and also earn some income from the sale of any surplus although conservation activities are key to this project.
Mr. Dokurugu noted that there were challenges in the implementation processes which included the delay in setting up of the local leadership structures of the CREMA management as well as some delays in completing a management plan which undermined community ownership and direction of local activities and therefore called for more support and collaboration between communities, Mole National Park and donors to enable them see improvement after the election of the CREMA Executive Council (CEC).
He urged the beneficiaries to increased their own financial and material investment into the project especially in beekeeping in order to scale up the benefits. He emphasized the need for communities to share to enable accurate reporting and accountability.
The Assistant Park Manager of the Mole National Park, Mr. Bona Kyiire thanked NORTHCODE-Ghana for the initiative saying that, the vision and mission of the forestry commission is to leave future generations and their communities with richer, better, more valuable forest and wildlife endowments than inherited and sustainably develop and manage Ghana’s forest and wildlife resources.
He underscored the immeasurable benefit that the Noe funded ECONOBIO 2 Project brought to the Jelinkon area adding that it has help the community members in protecting the forest reserve which has contributed a lot to the development of the communities and the Park at large.
Mr. Bona outlined the impact of CREMAs in Park, indicating that, CREMA is not mainly about law enforcement but it empowers people to protect their resources. He emphasized that CREMA is not about the expansion of Protected Areas but rather to Protect Areas and to get people working together for the benefit all in the improvement of their livelihoods and income.
At the community level impact, Mr. Bona said “The CREMA is about opportunity and freedom to choose, it is about giving the farmer an opportunity to incorporate natural resource management into the livelihood strategy, it is about developing a framework in which development and conservation projects can happen together”.
A significant element of the AGM was the nominations and election members to reconstitute the CREMA Executive Council (CEC).
New representatives were nominated by each community from their Community Resource Management Committees (CRMCs) who had been elected earlier. This resulted in seventeen (17) representatives with the Chief of Jelinkon as the Honorary Patron, A Chairman, Secretary and Organizer were elected from Jelinkon while the Vice-Chairmanship, Assistant Secretary and Assistant Organizers were elected from the satellite communities making a 19 member CEC with MNP providing one representative to serve as technical advisor to the CEC.
COALITION FOR DEVELOPMENT OF NORTHERN GHANA (NORTHCODE-GHANA) is a Ghanaian non-governmental organization to facilitate improved environment, lives and livelihoods for the vulnerable, disadvantage and excluded in Northern Ghana.
NORTHCODE – Ghana places special focus on working alongside poor women, children and local communities and if equipped with the proper resources, they will have the power to help large society to escape poverty and disease.
The extremely vulnerable with least economic and social opportunities are at the heart of NORTHCODE- Ghana’s community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of disease, promote gender equity, increase access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation, promote biodiversity Conservation and livelihoods reinforcement, Agric and food security, expand economic opportunities and protect natural resources.
Source: Padfm.com.gh/ Edwin Gogu/0555588660