Photo taken on Dec. 11, 2015 shows the coastal view of the Zhaoshu Island in Sansha City, south China's Hainan Province. (Xinhua/Liu Chan)
Photo taken on Dec. 11, 2015 shows the coastal view of the Zhaoshu Island in Sansha City, south China's Hainan Province. (Xinhua/Liu Chan)

The project aimed at strengthening capacity for low emissions development through improved coastal forest landscape management, biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation measure and environmental governance efforts as well as strengthening community-based natural resource management and livelihood diversification.

The project, which started in October 2013 with funding worth $ 3.3 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is supposed to be implemented within three years.

The beneficiary districts are Shama, Ahanta West, Ellembelle and Jomoro as well as Nzema East Municipality and Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly.

Other interventions include the implementation of agro-forestry and forestry practices, short and medium term livelihood improvement activities such as beekeeping, vegetable production to enhance food security as well as planning of seedlings in cocoa farms to provide shade and improve aeration and prevention of erosion.

Dr Steve Dennison, the Director of CSLP, commended the beneficiary communities for their sincerity and adopting international best practices in climate change mitigation.

He indicated that the project long-term objective is to inculcate behaviour change so that the beneficiaries become champions of climate change mitigation advocates in their communities.

He said the project is educating the beneficiaries on savings, therefore 26 Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) have been established in the beneficiary districts to support themselves.

According to Kwame Appiah Owusu, the Community Benefit Natural Resource Management Specialist at the CSLP, the CSLP team scanned the beneficiary districts to select beneficiaries based on their interest and willingness to adopt the mitigation measures.

He said within the two-and-half years of implementation more than one thousand farmers and fisher folks have benefited.

At Navrongo, a farming community in the Jomoro District, Mr Walter Cudjoe Adzoko, the Odikro of the community, said the VSLA had enabled farmers and traders to secure loans to improve their farming activities, trading and pay their children’s school fees.

Mr Adzoko said the Scheme has a Social Fund that supports members in emergency situations, especially in the event of sickness, deaths and accidents.

At Tweakor Number One, also a farming community in the District, the Chairperson of the VSLA, Mr Joseph Tohoun, noted that the Scheme adopted rules and regulations which guided the beneficiaries in management.

He stated that each member memorised one regulation, which helped in avoiding non-payment of loans.

He said the members of the Scheme meet once a week to discuss issues bothering on their welfare.

Mr Tohoun said an interest of 20 pesewas is earned on GH₵ 2.00 per month, and the monies are kept in a secure metal box with three keys that are kept by three different trustworthy members of the Association.

This helps in preventing fraud and also enhances transparency and accountability.

He said the monies are shared at the end of every year according to the contributions of members.

“In the past, some micro-finance institutions came here and collected our monies and run away with it, but now we are enlightened and managing this scheme by ourselves, which has aided in reducing our financial burden and relieved us from financial difficulties.”

Mr Brian Conklin, the Deputy Director of USAID-Ghana and Economic Growth Office, announced the extension of sponsorship for the CSLP project with $ 4.5 million dollars at Naranjo in Jomoro District.

He said the Agency is delighted by the tremendous and fantastic success of the project, especially by reducing poverty and mitigating climate change.

He said the USAID is committed in supporting the project and in the past decade, there has been reduction of poverty, especially in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions by 16 per cent.

Mr Conklin said the “Feed the Future project” established by the US President Barack Obama had allocated $ 45 million dollars per year, to combat poverty and climate change in the three regions.

However in view of the success story of the CSLP, it decided to extend portion of the fund to the project in the Western Region.

Madam Gladys Atsu, a beneficiary of the CSLP in Navrongo, believes that the issue of climate change is a collective responsibility of the citizens towards addressing the challenges.

“Most of the challenges are due to human activities therefore all of us must come together to reverse the situation.

“We must plant more trees, fish without chemicals, apply organic manure on our farms and adopt best farming practices so that the earth becomes a better and safer play to live.”

The first phase of the three-year project would end on September 31, however, USAID, is extending funding worth $ 4.5 million from the Feed the Future project for the next three years starting from October 1.

Source: GNA/News Ghana

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