A Success Story: Economic Empowerment through VSLA

A Success Story: Economic Empowerment through VSLA

A major objective of establishing a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) is to support local economic development through financial intermediation. VSLA is a group of people who collectively support a structured process for saving money and offering loans at the local level. They provide a simple and accountable system for savings and loans for communities which do not have ready access to formal financial services or underserved by the formal financial institutions such as banks or microfinance companies.

Under the Coastal Sustainable Landscape Project, Hen Mpoano formed over 20 VSLAs within the Ellembelle, Jomorro and Nzema East districts in the Western Region of Ghana, to help diversify livelihood activities of local people who depend mostly on farming and the exploitation of natural resources including mangroves. The VSLAs bring together community members who save for mutually agreeable objectives and take out small loans from those savings to expand their businesses, pay for their children’s school fees and support household activities.

The Koyele VSLA group at Metika in the Jomoro district is one of the VSLA groups formed under the CSLP project in collaboration with U.S. Forest Service. Joseph E. Kwamena a member of the Koyele VSLA group in the Jomoro district, took a loan of 500.00 GH Cedis (US$86) to start a piggery project. He started with two pigs and within a year, he has over 26 pigs and piglets on his farm worth about 1300 GH Cedis (US$224). He is very excited to be part of the VSLA group.

Some of the pigs on Joseph’s farm

Joseph E. Kwamena, the beneficiary, had this to say: “The VSLA has been very beneficial to a lot of us in this village. During the share-out for this cycle, I contributed 765.00 Gh Cedis (US$131) and received 1071.00 (US$185). My plan is to reinvest this money in my piggery business.”

World Day Against Child Labour: End Child Labour Now More Than Ever

World Day Against Child Labour: End Child Labour Now More Than Ever

Globally, there are an estimated 152 million children in child labour, 72 million of which are in hazardous work. These children are now at even greater risk of facing circumstances that are even more difficult and working longer hours.  In Ghana 1.9 million are in child labour, 49000 are in fisheries of which 21000 are in hazardous work.

This year’s World Day Against Child Labour focuses on the impact of crisis on children. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic fallout are having a major impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. In all these, unfortunately, children are the first to suffer. The current crisis can further push millions of vulnerable children into child labour. This makes it even more critical to protect the right of children to life – to quality education, health and love. Children are meant to be children, to learn and not to earn in workplaces.

Today, we join the rest of the world to call on all to end child labour and secure a better future for children. We support the rest of the global community to call for the protection of children. Our SECRIFISE project will continue to work with stakeholders to address this canker and ensure government’s commitment to eradicate the worst form of labour is achieved.

Cape Three Points CREMA Engages in Reforestation Exercise

Cape Three Points CREMA Engages in Reforestation Exercise

The Cape Three Points Forest Reserve (CTPFR) is located in the Ahanta West Municipal of the Western Region.  It is the only coastal forest in Ghana and among the few remaining coastal rainforest reserves in West Africa.  Since 1999 the forest has been recognized as a Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA) and an Important Bird Area (IBA) because of its exceptionally high level of biological diversity.  Floristically, the Cape Three Points forest reserve is the second most diverse reserve in Ghana.

Despite this high biological diversity, the ecological integrity of the reserve, including the forest quality and extent is increasingly threatened by human activities. Farming along the fringes of the forest is reducing the size of the forest buffer. A recent Land use and land cover assessment  of the landscape  indicates that land use conversion from forestry to perennial tree crops is accelerating deforestation and degradation of the peripheral areas of CTPFR resulting in replacement of natural forests by monoculture stands, primarily of rubber and oil palm.

Land Use Land Cover Analysis of Cape Three Points

In an attempt to reverse this trend, Hen Mpoano has raised 5,776 seedlings of native tree species in their nursery in Adalazo, one of the communities fringing the Cape Three Points Forest reserve with funding from Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund through the BirdLife International Regional Implementation Team.The seedlings were mobilized from 2 different sources. With the help of the Community Resource Management Areas (CREMA) members, Hen Mpoano raised a total of 806 seedlings at the nursery. The project also received over 5000 seedlings from a sister NGO- Goshen Global Vision (GGV).

CREMA members have started planting in critical ecological sites which were identified and mapped out through a spatial assessment of existing satellite images and drone images. This reforestation exercise is aimed at restoring the ecological integrity of the Cape Three Points forest landscape by re-establishing the connection which existed between the forest reserve and the adjoining coastal wetlands.

World Ocean Day 2020: Innovation for Sustainable Ocean

World Ocean Day 2020: Innovation for Sustainable Ocean

As the challenges to the ocean continue to grow, so does the need for novel solutions and the people driving them.

To that end, the theme of UN World Oceans Day 2020 is “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean.” Innovation—relating to the introduction of new methods, ideas, or products—is a dynamic term and one that is fundamentally filled with hope. 

The UN World Oceans Day celebration this year will take place as a virtual event produced in partnership with Oceanic Global.

The event will shed light on innovations from around the globe in areas of need that are both promising and proven, ones that instill optimism, and ones that have demonstrated the ability to scale effectively. It will also provide a platform to thought leaders of varied backgrounds, who are paving new paths forward for the health of our ocean and our planet.

The programming of the day and subsequent events taking place throughout World Ocean Week (week of 8 June 2020) will explore innovations across categories including technology, systems infrastructure, resource management, consumer products, finance and scientific exploration — and will outline how these innovations can be applied, their potential impact, and the resources needed to transform them into long-lasting solutions.

This year’s theme is especially relevant in the lead-up to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which will run from 2021 to 2030. The Decade will strengthen international cooperation to develop the scientific research and innovative technologies that can connect ocean science with the needs of society.

Source: https://www.un.org/en/observances/oceans-day

Small-Scale Fishermen and NGOs Call on the President of Ghana to End Saiko Fishing

Small-Scale Fishermen and NGOs Call on the President of Ghana to End Saiko Fishing

Today marks the International Day Against IUU. To mark this day the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen’s Council and eight other NGOs in Ghana have written an open letter to the President, HE  Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to end Saiko.

Saiko is the illegal transhipment of fish between specialized canoes and industrial trawlers. It is a very destructive form of illegal fishing. 90% of the catches in a saiko slab are juveniles and small pelagics. This is brought in by the specialized canoes and sold to the fish processor in coastal communities at a profit. Saiko is a form of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. It contravenes Ghana’s fisheries law. It puts the livelihood of about 2.7 million Ghanaian at the risk of collapse.

“The President, as the Co-chair of the SDG Advocates group, said: “This is a time of great hope for the world. If we work smartly together and stay on course, we can raise millions out of poverty and significantly expand basic social services for many more by the 2030 end date of the SDG’s” the letter stated.

In 2017, Ghana lost an estimated $50 million to saiko operations alone. Putting an end to saiko will support the achievement of SDG 14 (Life below water), alleviate poverty in coastal communities, support food security and provide social justice for the fishers that are being pushed out of fisheries because they cannot compete with the might of the industrial trawlers.

“More than ever, coastal livelihood needs to be safeguarded to ensure that families become less vulnerable to crisis as we have seen in the recent Covid-19 pandemic. We need a strong commitment to end saiko and secure the livelihood of 2.7 million Ghanaians that is being threatened by the practice.” Stated Kofi Agbogah, the Director of Hen Mpoano, in support of the call to end Saiko.

Securing Child Rights in the Fisheries Sector (SECRIFISE)

Securing Child Rights in the Fisheries Sector (SECRIFISE)

This is a three-year project funded by the European Union and implemented by Hen Mpoano, CEWEFIA and Challenging Heights. The overall objective is to secure child rights in the fisheries sector by increasing public support for eliminating child labour and trafficking (CLaT), supporting the enforcement of anti-CLaT legislation and implementing community-based initiatives for integrating CLaT victims in mainstream society.

We aim to accomplish this by:

  • promoting the adoption of positive attitudes and behaviour towards the elimination of CLaT in the fisheries sector 
  • support enforcement of anti-CLaT legislation by strengthening state institutions along the prosecutorial chain as well as institutions in CLaT source communities in the Central region and receiving communities along the Volta lake
  • strengthen the effective and evidenced-based system for rescuing, rehabilitating and monitoring vulnerable children and linking them to state protection services
  • improved business development services for households susceptible to CLaT. 

Over the next three years, Hen Mpoano, CEWEFIA and Challenging Heights will work with five coastal districts (Efutu, Awutu Senya, Gomoa West, Abura Asebu Kwamankese and Komenda Edina Eguafo Abirem) in the central region and six districts (North Dayi, South Dayi, North Tongu, South Tongu, Pru and Keta) along southern Lake Volta. Through these efforts, we hope to protect the future of children by securing their rights to a better life.