Thirty-five (35) forest-fringe community representatives have received legality awareness training in Accra. The 3-days training which was organised by Civic Response in June 2019 aimed at creating awareness among community representatives on the rights and responsibilities of forest stakeholders (including communities) so they can assert their rights.

Most community-fringe community members do not have much knowledge about forest laws for which reason they do not know when their rights are being infringed upon. Furthermore, most forest-fringe community members are unaware of their responsibilities, as well as that of other stakeholders such as the Forestry Commission of Ghana, and timber companies. Civic Response organised this training to address these problems.

The 35 participants who took part in the training were taught about the need for community participation in forest monitoring, logging operations in Ghana (Areas of community interest), securing community interest in SRA processes, compensation for destroyed crops in off-reserve, tree tenure, and climate change (REDD+ Safeguards). The participants who were selected from seven districts (Kade, Akim Oda, Assin Fosu, Goaso, Nkawie, Jasikan and Dormaa) across the Eastern, Volta, Central, and Brong Ahafo regions also developed action plans to guide their activities back in their communities.

At the end of the training, participants expressed satisfaction at the training indicating how it had enlightened them and expressed the desire to re-train their fellow community members in the future.

“Due to this meeting, we have got to know about SRAs. We’re also going to teach others who could not take part in the meeting,” Edmund Appiah, from Amantia in the Akim Oda Forest District said.

“The training has helped us a lot, because through this training we have understood a lot about the SRA. We have also got to know about the benefits that will accrue to us when we protect our forest,” Edmund Appiah from Amantia in the Akim Oda Forest District said.

“If it had not been for this programme, we would not have known about Social Responsibility Agreements,” Appiah Emmanuel from Amakyekrom, Dormaa Forest District explained.

In all, a total of 1,030 forest-fringe representatives have received legality awareness training from Civic Response since 2016.  This year’s training was held under the Embedding community real time monitoring to sustain livelihoods and forests in Central and West Africa project, which is being implemented in Ghana by Civic Response in partnership with Rainforest Foundation UK, and with funding support from DFID UKAid.

By: Jemima Opare-Henaku│Civic Response

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