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The implementation of the Sustainable Land and Water Management Project (SLWMP) in the three northern regions is making a significant impact on the lives of many residents, particularly women.

The implementation of the project has led to an increase in the processing and production of shea and honey through bee keeping, growing of economic trees such as mangoes, cashew and mahogany among others to enable the women earn income.

The project, which also ensures that communities adopt best agricultural practices, has contributed tremendously to an increase in crop yields and provided employment for members of the beneficiary communities, especially after the rainy season.

These were revealed to Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) when he paid a working visit to beneficiary communities in the Builsa South, Bawku West and Talensi Districts in the Upper East Region; as well as the Mamprugu-Moaduri District in the Northern Region.

The visits, also undertaken with partners of the effort, were part of a weeklong monitoring and evaluation of the impact of the project on the people, ascertain the challenges confronting its successful implementation and how it could be scaled up to benefit more communities.

The project, which is being funded by the World Bank through the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Grant of U$29.67 million, is being implemented by MESTI and facilitated by agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ministry by Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and the Forestry Commission among others.

The ten- year project, which begun in 2011, aims at supporting Sustainable Development Initiative for the northern savanna zone, including the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions to realize the vision of a diversified and resilient economic zone with significant regional environmental benefits.

The project is currently being implemented in 211 communities in 12 districts across the three regions.

The project would further enable beneficiary communities to reclaim degraded lands through sustainable management, using the SLWMP practices, controlling of soil erosion and protection of river banks through the cultivation of bamboo plantation, protection of the riparian vegetation of rivers as well as improve the vegetation cover to provide ecological services.

During separate visits to the districts, the members of the communities, especially the women, expressed gratitude to government and the project implementers saying the project has empowered them economically.

Madam Mariama Mumuni, a beneficiary of the project in the Mamprugu Moaduri District, who is into shea nuts processing and honey production, said unlike before, when she used to go through difficulties to earn a living, the project has provided alternative sources of livelihood to her and her colleagues.

She said the project has come to substitute the dry season idleness they used to experience, adding that she could now provide for her wards and support her family.

Professor Frimpong-Boateng expressed joy that the project was making positive strides in the lives of the beneficiaries, especially the women, adding that government is working to ensure that the project is sustained even after its lifespan in 2020.

The Minister said government is committed to scale up the project to provide sustainable livelihoods to more communities in the other regions to address environmental challenges, climate change issues and contribute towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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