GEN GHANA AND DENMARK ASSOCIATION SHOWS EXAMPLE OF MODEL NORTH SOUTH COOPERATION

The Ecovillage Association of Ghana (GEN Ghana) and Denmark (LOES) has established an ideal north south cooperation to build capacity of civil societies and ecovillages in Ghana with support from the Civil Society Fund in Denmark (CISU)

The north south cooperation for ecovillages development in Ghana begun with a partnership grant between Ghana and Denmark to develop ecovillage movements in Ghana. Through this, a member of GEN Ghana, the Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture (KITA) received a partnership grant to build the capacity of GEN Ghana.

GEN Ghana was a loose network of ecovillage members, unable to meet because of wide distances and low commitment of members to travel to a mutual place for discussions, facilitation and cooperation. There was also inadequate knowledge of the ecovillages and ecovillage projects in Ghana, most people and government had not heard about ecovillages and its potential for sustainable development and there was general lack of coordination among members in the ecovillage movement.

Through the project “Building the Network, Spreading Eco-strategies in Ghana”, a mapping of ecovillages was conducted to identify ecovillages and potential ecovillage projects in Ghana, two national ecovillage conferences were organized in October 2015 and March 2016 respectively, an Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) was held between February 15th 2016 and March 15th,  2016 as well as council and committee meetings held to strengthen the cooperation, organisational structure of GEN Ghana, networking among members, capacity building of members and advocacy within government to understand the role of ecovillages in sustainable development.

There has been mentoring and coaching from the Danish Association of Ecovillages for the Ghanaian Association of Ecovillages to strengthen its governance, project management and administrative structures as well as advocacy potential.

This has resulted in a strong ecovillage movement in Ghana moving towards sustainability.

To date GEN Ghana and GEN Denmark has developed a new proposal to CISU that is developing eco-schools in Ghana through a Moringa Organic Farming and Nutrition in 7 schools in 7 regions in Ghana.

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Camilla Englyst -Nielsen, the secretary to the Danish Association of Ecovillages said, developing the capacity of civil society organisations to be able to advocate for the integration of eco-strategies in communities is key to sustainable development. The Danish Association of Ecovillages sees potential in strengthening the capacity of ecovillages in the south to be stronger in advocating for ecovillages for sustainable development at the National and Community levels.

Mr. Lovans Owusu-Takyi, the secretary general of GEN Ghana, expresses profound appreciation to the Danish Ecovillages Association and the Civil Society Fund of Denmark for the unrelenting support in developing ecovillages in Ghana.

The Ghana Ecovillage Network is a network of ecovillages aimed at developing sustainable human settlements by improving the ecological, economic, socio-cultural and spiritual well-being of communities through participatory processes.

GEN GHANA to join the fight against the construction of a 700MW coal plant in Ghana.

The Volta River Authority has announced that Ekumfi Aboano, a fishing community in the Central Region about 85 kilometers from Accra will be the site of Ghana’s first and West Africa’s first coal-fired power plants- a 700 megawatt (MW) coal plant which will later be scaled up to a huge 2,000 megawatt (MW) coal complex. The government has  secured a US $1.5 billion loan from China and a development agreement with Shenzhen Energy, a giant company that’s largely owned by the Chinese Government. If all goes as planned, two coal plants will rise on the Ghanaian Coast in the next 3 years, to be followed by several more.

A giant new port, with a 50,000-tonne berth, will be built to handle all the coal that we’ll have to import from South Africa and Colombia.

Coal is kolo.  It’s dirty, it poisons our children, and it contributes to global climate change more than any other fossil fuel. We have no coal here in Ghana, unlike the abundant gas, sunshine, and wind resources that we are naturally blessed with.  And we as a nation have committed ourselves to a low-carbon development strategy that will preserve our own people from the impacts of climate change and fulfill our obligations to the rest of the world.  Maybe coal power seemed like a good idea in the thick of Dumsor.  But now we can consider our options with a clearer head.  To that end, we should separate the myths from the facts.

Myth #1: Coal power will be cheap and reliable.

Yes, it’s true that coal is cheap on the international market right now – that’s because most other countries are turning away from coal in favor of cleaner energy sources.  But Ghana has no domestic coal.  We’ll have to bring it all in from South Africa and Colombia, which means that when the market price of coal swings up again – and it will – we’ll be dependent on other countries and stuck paying for expensive, dirty, imported fuel.

Myth #2: Coal power can be clean.

No matter what technology is used, coal-fired power plants always release toxic pollution – mercury that gets into our fish and poisons unborn children, nitrous oxide that causes childhood asthma, and sulfur dioxide that lowers agricultural yields, to name just a few.  But the Ghana coal deal is particularly bad because Shenzhen Energy is planning to use antiquated, inefficient technology from the 1960s – technology so old the Chinese don’t even use it anymore.
Myth #3: Coal power will bring jobs.

Local leaders have said the plants will bring jobs and development to Ekumfi Aboano.  But who’s to say that Shenzhen Energy will hire locals to build or operate the plant?  How many times do we have to watch as foreign companies bring their own workers and fail to transfer any skills to our youths?  Plus, they fail to mention that the local fisheries will likely be devastated, undoubtedly destroying more jobs than will be created.

So, what’s the solution?

Fortunately, Ghana doesn’t have to depend on dirty, destructive, imported coal to solve its energy problems.  Part of the solution is already underway: we’ve got two major natural gas fields that will come online in the next few years, and the real path to the future can be found in the renewable energy resources that bless our country.  Instead of taking on over a billion dollars of debt to China and becoming energy reliant on South Africa, let’s install solar in every home and village and maximize our resources by fixing our aging grid to make it more efficient.

The rest of the world has already discovered that coal is kolo and is working to get over its coal addiction.  Let’s learn that lesson before we get addicted, and say NO to coal.

NEXTGEN – YOUTH ASSOCIATION OF THE ECOVILLAGE MOVEMENT ELECTS EXECUTIVES TO GEN COUNCIL

As part of efforts to promote youth participation in ecovillage development and decision making, the youth constituency of the Global Ecovillage Network Ghana, GEN Ghana elected two representatives in a democratic way to represent at the National Council of the Ecovillage Network.

Constant Akwensi Selase from Food Sovereignty Ghana and Lembadega Linda of the Ghana Permaculture Institute (GPI) were elected through democratic means during the 2nd GEN Ghana Ecovillage Conference to be part of the highest decision making body of the Ecovillage Network in Ghana.

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Constant has been a strong advocate for sustainability, food sovereighnty and innovative approaches for youth empowerment. He has the zeal to mobilize youth efforts towards eco-citizenship and to encourage youth to take action in enhancing the development of their communities.

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Linda have a lively spirit and a commitment towards the empowerment of young women for into organic farming and alternative livelihoods. Linda is leading the Ghana Permaculture Institute’s African Women Empowerment Program to mobilize communities in the northern region towards improving their livelihoods and thier environment through organic farming and permaculture.

They come with a lot of youthful wisdom to the council to ensure that the youth are well represented and supported in their quest for eco-citizenship.

GEN GHANA PRODUCES SOFA CHAIR FROM USED PLASTIC BOTTLES

As part of practical training during the GEN Ghana Ecovillage Design Education Course held at KITA, participants led by Dormenyo Galley of Action Accra trained participants of the EDE in the design and fabrication of a plastic chair made from  used voltic bottles.

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Plastic bottles have become a nuisance in our country Ghana due to the indiscriminate disposal of waste without recycling. The challenge of waste disposal and its impact in our country causing floods, mosquito breeding leading to health hazards and silting of our rivers and water bodies called for urgent and innovative ways of using used plastic bottles to fabricate  differnt kinds of innovative and useful products for our society including sofar chair, hanging gardens and irrigation systems.

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A member of GEN Ghana with the skill and expertise provided training for the other members of GEN Ghana.

GEN Ghana hopes to scale this up by producing chairs from used plastic bottles to be able to serve our communities, schools and sitting areas to enhance healthy livestyles in our societies.

Through the EDE, GEN Ghana called on government to expedite action to ensure effective waste recycling policies that will benefit our societies and enhance sustainable development in Ghana.

 

HON. SAMIA NKRUMAH BECOMES ECOVILLAGE AMBASSADOR IN GHANA

 

Honourable Samia Nkrumah the daughter of the First President of Ghana was adjudged the first ambassador of the Ecovillage Movement in Ghana to advocate for the ecovillages as models for sustainable development.

Hon Nkrumah visited the Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture, KITA on March 15th to inspire participants undergoing the first Ecovillage Design Education course.

During this meeting Hon Samia experienced at first hand how the ecovillage models are being used to enhance community building skills among youth and community leaders in order to bring change and transformation in their communities.

She said this is the kind of training needed to ensure that our youth becomes leaders that can transform societies and bring development.

Honourable Samia Nkrumah also met with the Executive Director of the Global Ecovillages Network International Kosha Anja Joubert and the Coordinator of the Danish Association of Ecovillages Camilla Englyst Nielsen to share thoughts on how to promote the ecovillage models within government.

Hon. Samia Nkrumah planted a tree to signify her commitment to sustainability and climate change mitigation and called on youth to take environmental sustainability seriously to reverse the adverse effects of climate change.

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She said the integrated model of the ecovillage concept provides  a wholistic approach to sustainable development and called on District assemblies and the Ministry of Local Government to adopt the concept of ecovillages to enhance Ghana’s quest for sustainable development and green economy.

GEN GHANA TO PROMOTE ECO-STRATEGIES FOR COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY

GEN Ghana works to promote sustainable development in communities by transitioning traditional communities into ecovillages.

To promote ecovillage concept in communities, we introduce our eco-strategies or interventions gradually to show examples of sustainability and to be able to transform communities and societies into ecovillages or sustainable communities.

During the Ecovillage Design Education Course held at the Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture, between February 15th to March 15th 2016, participants developed eco-strategies and how they can be implemented into our communities to enhance sustainability.

Some of these eco-strategies are

  1. Waste management – waste separation and recycling
  2. Tree planting and afforestation

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  1. Renewable Energy  – Solar lighting and Clean Cookstoves

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  1. Organic Farming, Permaculture, Food Gardens and Food Sovereignty
  2. Beekeeping and biodiversity conservation
  3. Herbal and Alternative Medicine
  4. Green Building and Eco-houses
  5. Mushroom Production, and Alternative income generation initiatives (soap and creams from Moringa, hybiscus drink (sobolo), honey processing, bead making, bamboo processing among others.

KOSHA JOUBERT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF GEN VISITS GHANA

Kosha Joubert, Execuive Director of the Global Ecovillages Network International visited Ghana to facilitate the first ecovillage design education and GEN Ghana conference.

Kosha admonished the members and council of GEN Ghana to promote ecovillage strategies and showcase them as examples for sustainable development.

Kosha also met with Honorable Samia Nkrumah who was made ambassador for the ecovillages movement.

Kosha called on the government of Ghana to adopt ecovillages as a model for sustainable development.

In line with the Sustainable Development Goal 11 promoting sustainable cities, Kosha admonished that the ideals of the ecovillage movement enhances food security, peace building, poverty alleviation, good health, climate change mitigation and improved livelihoods.

GOVERNMENT URGED TO ADOPT ECOVILLAGES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

DSC00515Kumasi, Nov. 12, GNA   – Mr Lovans Owusu-Takyi, the Secretary to the Executive Board of the Ghana Ecovillage Network (GEN), a non-profit making association has called on the government and the people to adopt ecovillage principles to ensure sustainable development.

He said the principles of ecovillage are an integral part for the care of the earth, the people and the building capacity for a sustainable future.

Mr Owusu-Takyi made the call at the launch of a two-day conference to promote the concept of ecovillages as models for climate change adaptation and sustainable development held at the premises of the Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture (KITA) at Domeabea.

The conference was under the auspices of the Danish Civil Society Network in partnership with the Danish Association of Ecovillages.

Mr Owusu-Takyi, who is also the Programmes Coordinator at KITA, said the world is saddled with global challenges which are affecting the lives of the people including Ghana.

He mentioned the challenges such as climate change, food insecurity, energy insecurity, pollution of water bodies, improper waste management and disposal, deforestation and loss of biodiversity, increased poverty, inequality and conflicts.

He said ecovillages provide sustainable solutions to these challenges to enhance sustainable lifestyles in communities.

Mr Owusu-Takyi indicated that ecovillages are human scale settlements consciously developed through local participatory processes to secure long term sustainability encompassing four dimensional concepts such as economic, socio-cultural, ecological and spiritual development of local communities working towards self-reliance.

Mr Paul Yeboah, the Vice President of the GEN and the Director of Ghana Permaculture Institute based in Techiman in the Brong- Ahafo Region said ecovillage movements have come to stay and called on all Ghanaians to make the initiative sustainable.

Nana Opoku Agyemang, the Gyaasehene of Domeabra in the Ejisu-Juaben District in the Ashanti Region, expressed gratitude to the leadership of KITA for bringing the ecovillage concept in the community.

He said he and his chieftaincy would work together to support in the transitioning of the Domeabra community into an ecovillage and urged the GEN to make the dream become a reality.

The GEN has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and a partner to the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.

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KUMASI METROPOLITAN ASSEMBLY CONSULTS GEN GHANA FOR ITS TREE PLANTING EXERCISE

The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly has invited the Ghana Ecovillage Network to be part of its planning team in the implementation of a greening Kumasi Initiative to plant 1 million trees in the Kumasi Vicinity.

GEN Ghana was represented by Lovans Owusu-Takyi , the Secretary to GEN Ghana and Kwame Ansah Baffour the GEN Ghana coordinator.

The invitation was in recognition of the potential of GEN Ghana to contribute its members, ideas and support towards the achievement of the Tree planting exercises going on in the Kumasi Vicinity to improve the environment in Kumasi

Urban tree planting is key in reducing emissions and creating a healthy environment in the metropolis. Tree species such as Miletia spps, Cassia Semea etc are earmarked to be planted in the metropolis to green the metropolis.

GEN Ghana is to support with its ideas to enhance effectiveness of achieving the successes of the project.

The Mayor of Kumasi, Hon. Kojo Bonsu, on Wednesday 21st May, 2014 , officially launched the Kumasi Urban Forestry Project at the forecourt of the Asokwa Police Station in Kumasi.

The tree planting exercise, dubbed, “Me And My Tree”, with the slogan, “Let’s Green Kumasi” aimed at engaging school children and households to plant over one million trees along drive ways, ceremonial routes and open spaces in the metropolis by the year 2017.

Performing the Launching Ceremony, Mayor Bonsu said the project launch marked the beginning of what he termed as green revolution to green Kumasi and restore it to its past glory as the Garden City of West Africa.

He said school children who performed well in the tree planting exercise under a competition for schools in the metropolis would be rewarded with educational materials and computers.

He said the planting exercise had taken off along the Asokwa Interchange, Anloga Junction and 171 trees had already been planted.

Mayor Bonsu expressed the gratitude of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) to the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the German International Technical Co-operation (GIZ) for their support to the project.

He used the occasion to appeal to corporate bodies as part of their social responsibility to come to the aid of the Assembly in its quest to green Kumasi.

The Ashanti regional Minister, Hon. Samuel Sarpong, in an address read on his behalf commended the KMA for the project describing the exercise as laudable and worthy of emulation by all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in the Region.

He said government attached great importance to the country’s forest cover hence the protection of national parks and ecosystem in Ghana.

The Regional Minister said Ghana’s food security was linked to the country’s flora and existing forest lands and therefore emphasised the need for environmental sustainability which he said was in tune with MDG 7 on environment.

The Metro Co-ordinating Director, Mr. Solomon Asiedu, in his welcome address lamented the loss of Kumasi’s beautiful flowers and trees due to degradation of the environment.

He said the tree planting exercise was the immediate solution to the degradation to restore Kumasi to its Garden City status.

The launching ceremony which was attended by students from some junior high schools and senior high schools in the metropolis was graced by the Amakomhene, Nana Adu Mensah Asare, who chaired the ceremony, the Asokwahene, Nana Febaannoah II, some Zongo Chiefs and Hon. Assembly Members in the metropolis.

The Bank of Africa donated 100 seedling sheds while Melcom Ghana Limited also donated 100 seedling cages and a cash of GH ¢2,000.00 towards the planting exercise.

The Mayor of Kumasi together with the Asokwahene and representatives of the Regional Minister and the Regional Director of Education as well as Master Michael Twumasi, a JSS student did ceremonial planting to officially signify the commencement of the project.