Our tree planting and litter cleanup projects in impoverished regions of Africa (Greater Accra Region of Ghana) were made possible through a cooperative partnership with the Gbawe Youth Club. Other recent projects were completed in Cameroon, Senegal, and Morocco.
The co-leader of this project was: Philip Kyei Appiah.
Background (Paraphrased from content provided by Philip Kyei Appiah):
The Gbawe Youth Club is registered with the National Youth Council of Ghana as a community-based youth organization and is committed to grassroots participatory projects that address environmental and human development issues. The Gbawe Youth Club and the Nicodemus Wilderness Project have formed a collaborative partnership with the goal of improving the environmental conditions in impoverished regions of West Africa. Project objectives include conducting environmental cleanup projects and promoting environmental conservation throughout the area. Projects are planned throughout the year to conduct litter cleanup campaigns in poor villages and hold conferences/rallies that educate citizens about the importance of environmental conservation. The collaborative partnership between the Gbawe Youth Club and the Nicodemus Wilderness Project has resulted in the accomplishment of numerous program objectives, including education of youth about conservation issues, removal of litter from villages and surrounding natural areas, and involvement of local citizens in cleanup campaigns.
Results of the Apprentice Ecologist™ Tree Planting Project (Paraphrased from content provided by Philip Kyei Appiah):
Making a difference requires hard work and commitment; we can make a difference if we don't give up opportunities. While sustainable development depends on how we manage our towns and cities, through determination and hard work, you will make a difference.
The trend of the economy with its hardship, unsustainable land and poor community management, and climate changes are turning our communities and drylands into deserts which in turn is leading our people and community to poverty. As citizens of our mother land we can not sit aloof and allow this growing trend and non-management of our natural resources to continue. GYC has realized that we can make difference, if we show care and concern over these resources, and never give up opportunities.
Individuals have an important role to play to make the world a better place for all living things by looking after our own small part of the planet. Gbawe Youth Club with its care and concern organized a tree planting event at Gbawe-Merchandise Estate, on Saturday, 26th August, 2006 to care, protect, to create awareness and beautify the Gbawe Community in Ghana so as to change the life style of our people and to educate our children to become active agents for sustainable development in the coming decades.
2. TREE PLANTING EVENT
A research team and project planning committee of Gbawe Youth Club held a research and planning session two months prior to the tree planting project to be carried out in the community as part of our programmes and events for 2006. Research by the team revealed that, there is a forest in the Gbawe Community which had been reserved by the traditional chief of Gbawe in quest for beautifying the community and also to serve as a tourist centre for the community.
As the research revealed, this forest had been left unprotected and thus degraded. It is now turning to desert. Gbawe Youth Club approached the chief with a mission to protect and restore the degrading area of the forest so that the quest for conserving the forest can be achieved. Protecting and restoring this forest will not only relieve the community and the forest from the growing degradation and desertification, but it can contribute to a more peaceful and secure community and world; all living things could be existing in peace. It can also help to preserve the history of the area and help to reduce aggravated health problems from wind-blown dust, including eye infections, respiratory illnesses, allergies, and mental stress.
According to the history from our fathers and grandparents, this forest we wanted to protect was beautiful with many animals, including monkeys, when they were young. However, things have changed due to bad management and community disturbances. Many of the animals have escaped, leaving vultures and some other animals to make this forest their home. Many accounts give great credence to their statements and stories.
For the tree planting event we had 71 volunteers on Saturday, 26th August, 2006 at Gbawe-Merchandise Estate. A total of 200 mahogany seedlings were bought instead of the 1,000 seedlings budgeted. The height and diameter of the trees were: height 1 ½ and distance 10ft. We arranged for vehicles to convey the volunteers to the project site and after the project we had small refreshments.
After the completion of the tree planting project, which was held at Gbawe-Merchandise Estate, there was uncommon unity, care, and concern among the youth and children in our community; they expressed great zeal and interest for involvement in future activities. Awareness has been created we hope will continue for our next events. Volunteers and people in Gbawe community had now realized that making a difference requires hard work and commitment and that we can make a difference if we don't give up opportunities. Also, each individual has a role to play in a community to make the world a better place for all living things.
Results of the Apprentice Ecologist™ Litter Cleanup (Paraphrased from content provided by Philip Kyei Appiah):
The first jointly sponsored Gbawe Youth Club - Nicodemus Wilderness Project cleanup campaigns were held on the 17th and 24th September 2005. We held the cleanup projects in Gbawe Town and Mallam with the project theme: Help to Clean Up the World to Avoid Malaria Infections. Educational pamphlets were provided and explained to citizens to increase their understanding of the harm that litter causes to the environment, wildlife, and humans. A total of 107 youth participated in these cleanup campaigns, which resulted in the removal of hundreds of bags of litter. A large proportion of the collected litter was comprised of plastic (polyethylene) bags and discarded papers. Volunteers explained the nature of this project to citizens to help educate them on the importance of maintaining a litter-free environment. Efforts were also made to clear litter and sediment out of clogged water drains that provide breeding habitat for malaria-bearing mosquitoes. Future plans for this region include holding a conference on environmental issues, providing garbage cans in the community at strategic public locations, and planting trees in deforested areas surrounding the villages.
As part of the Apprentice Ecologist Initiative™ in Ghana, the Nicodemus Wilderness Project sent hundreds of leather work gloves, dust masks, brochures, and flyers to help facilitate these efforts and also to educate people about their underlying causes. Our large-scale projects that have already enlisted hundreds of volunteers in sub-Saharan Africa were made possible by providing these much needed supplies, support, and educational materials for litter cleanup efforts. Generous support for future cleanup campaigns and educational efforts will be necessary to ensure our future success. We count on your help!