One hundred women receive life enhancing skills at New Bakanta

Some 100 women from four catchment communities of the Amanzule Wetlands in the Ellembelle district of Western region have been taken through various livelihood skills to reduce their dependency on the Amanzule Wetlands resources towards its sustainable conservation.

The four areas are Ampain, Azulenloanu, New Bakanta and Old Bakanta.

The beneficiary women, between the ages of 23 and 45 had for a long time trusted their mainstay to cutting of wetlands mangroves for firewood, fish smoking and mongering while, others cut the mangroves serving as a source of breeding grounds and other ecological activities for fishes and migrating birds for other household uses.

The women were trained in alternative livelihoods including soap making, decoration, pastries and beads making.

The self-employable skills training by the Centre for Sustainable Rural Agriculture and Development (CSRAD) was under its project; ‘Greening and Integrating Youth and Women to Strengthen the Conservation of the Amanzule Wetlands for Generati
onal Benefits’ funded by the New England Biolabs Foundation.

Dr. Michael Kermah, the Director for CSRAD and the Project Manager indicated that the Amanzule wetland was a biodiversity hotspot which hosted diversity of wildlife of global conservation importance including some that were classified as critically endangered (e.g. Mecistops cataphractus) by the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.

He said, apart from the livelihoods training, the project had developed animated handbook on wetlands, wise use principles and sustainable conservation approaches for dissemination and education of women while, leaflets with the same content had been printed for further education of school children.

He said in addition, the project was finalising the development of an Amanzule Wetlands Mobile App to serve as Mobile Digital Book with information on the local, national, and global significance, wise use principles, endangered wildlife, and creative conservation approaches.

On his part, the Head of Programmes at CSRAD, M
r. Ebenezer C. Adebah, revealed that an earlier project implemented by CSRAD between 2018 and 2019, which was also funded by the New England Biolabs Foundation with support from the Rufford Foundation, educated school children in the four catchment communities on innovative conservation approaches.

The children then identified critical conservation threats in their respective communities and developed and matched specific conservation approaches to address those threats and exhibited them at a conservation forum.

Mr. Emmanuel Ackon, the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Officer for CSRAD said the current project which began in August 2023 in the area would contribute immensely to strengthening the conservation of the Amanzule wetlands and its associated endangered wildlife or biodiversity and ecosystem benefits.

A grand durbar held to climax the livelihood training programme was attended by diverse stakeholders including, the chief of Bakanta, Nana Ackah Nwozah III, Wildlife Officer from the Ghana Forest
ry Commission in Ellembelle District, Mr. Jaward D. Dramani, the District Director of the Business Advisory Center (BAC), Mr. Edward Arthur, and Mr. Isaac Owusu Manu, Director for Community Development Agency at the Ellembelle District Assembly and other media including West End Radio.

The Chief of Bakanta community was pleased with the training of the women but called for start-up support to help the women to fully function.

The Officer from the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission praised CSRAD and the donor partners for the alternative livelihoods provided for the rural women.

He said to drive ‘the achievement of a sustainably conserved wetlands, women economic empowerment and bridging the social inequality gap between men and women is highly needed as they equitably contribute to sustainable conservation.’

Some of the women expressed unflinching joy for the skills acquired and asked that they were resourced with start-up packages to enable them to start their own businesses soon.

Ms Theresa A
ndoh Ackah, a 23-year single mother who dropped out of dressmaking apprenticeship was happy that the free alternative skills could take her out of her current economic difficulties and reduce her dependency on the wetland for livelihood.

Source: Ghana News Agency