Fifty (50) community representatives have been trained to undertake community level forest monitoring. The 3-days training which was organised by Civic Response in June 2019 in Accra aimed at building the capacity of representatives to use a mobile application (Collectaur) to collect data on forest infringements.

Civil Society in Ghana believes that a well-organised and structured CSIFM can improve transparency in the short term while contributing to the development of a sound legislative and regulatory framework for responsible forest management. The challenge had been how to operationalize this system without alienating communities who are the main intermediaries between what happens on the field and national level Civil Society actors who want to co-ordinate these processes.

Civic Response through extensive consultation identified a system being pioneered by The Rainforest Foundation  UK called Real Time Monitoring (RTM) as a viable community-level inclusiveness monitoring medium that will address that challenge. As a result, Civic Response in partnership with RFUK, developed an SMS mobile application platform (Forestlink) for this purpose.

The training was organised to outdoor the platform to selected community-level monitors from forest fringe communities from 12 districts across the Ashanti, Eastern, Central, Western, Brong Ahafo, and Volta regions. It was also organised to build their capacity on how to use the platform to identify and transmit forest infringements to a central database.

Representatives, who were given android phones for the data gathering exercise expressed enthusiasm and indicated that the device would enhance their monitoring work.

The 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 with funding from DFID UKAid. The ForestLink system has been developed by the Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) and deployed by Civic Response in Ghana, with financial support from the UK government (DFID).

Jemima Opare-Henaku│Civic Response

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