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EEIU Ghana REDEF Reports & Letters


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2006 Annual Report (from Chair Denis Aheto)

EEIU-Ghana Chapter (REDEF) Report, 2006

We are happy to be able to provide a brief review on our program of activities this year (2006). Our organization underwent a period of dormancy early in the year to enable our outfit to review its programs and activities more closely. This was primarily due to limited funds to run its outlined programs. Some running projects had to be suspended e.g. the Micro Credit Scheme for Women Mat Weavers at Agbeve in the Volta Region. Other proposed projects e.g. the Wetland Management Project on Mangroves could not take off due to our inability to secure collaborating funding partners.

The review procedure was necessary to enable our outfit to evaluate and to assess the current state of the organization and to guide its way forward into the future. Subsequently, we have agreed to focus on more cost-effective but high output-oriented ecological development programs to provide direct immediate gains for home gardeners and small-scale farmers in rural and urban areas in the long term. We explored the need for recycling nutrients (-urine) as a means to provide cheap and readily available alternative source of inorganic fertilizer to enhance crop productivity.

The first step in this new approach has led to further collaboration with Dr. Joern Germer (University of Hohenheim, Germany) and Mr. Solomon Addai (Valley View University, Ghana). Please see: www.uni-hohenheim.de/respta.

The collaboration among other things has yielded the following:

Some Chapter members have already benefited from a Certificated Ecological Cycles training program organized by experts of the Respta project at the Valley View University in Accra (13-14.11.2006). Among other things, participants gained knowledge about the potential for recycling nutrients from sanitary waste for enhancing crop productivity and general nutrient efficiency - reuse of water and water-saving technologies, and treatment facilities, e.g. biogas plant and on-site field demonstrations.

A pilot small-scale urine (-nutrient) recycling project is being implemented by our Chapter at PEC School1 at Nsawam. As a first step, we intend to explore the potential for recycling urine produced by the students of the school to enhance crop production on its school farm. Secondly, the new collaboration effort enables us to make research findings - and the benefits of the technology - readily available to end-users within our local communities, in the long term.

Denis W. Aheto
Chair, EGR

1 REDEF collaborates closely with the PEC School, a private Preparatory and Junior Secondary School in Ghana. The school has a current student population of ca. 450 (25.11.2006).


Report, 16 February 2005 (Chair Denis W. Aheto)

An EGR Project — COREP (Community Reed Project) — Agbeve, Ghana

A. Reeds: Cultivation and community holdings

Reeds are wild plants that grow mostly in creeks, ponds and marshy riverine/estuarine environments, taking approximately 4-5 months to reach maturity. Not only do they enhance the beauty of sites where they occur but also serve to provide a means of survival for a larger part of the population (particularly women) in many parts of the developing world where they occur. In Agbeve (in the South Tongu district of the Volta Region of Ghana), reeds are widely used for a variety of mats as well as put to other household uses. The holdings are usually of small family lands which have been fragmented over the years, too small to make any economic impact on families.

B. Harvesting and processing

When the reeds are ready for harvesting, the women get into the ponds and creeks with sharp knives to cut them right from the base. The reeds are later dried in the fields for a week or two. The dried reeds are brought home for mat-weaving.

C. Challenges

Since our involvement with the Angornu Craft Women's group (comprising five satellite villages) EEIU-GHANA- REDEF has worked to solve some of the teething problems of the group. We have identified that:

  • Reed farms are family holdings which have been fragmented from generation to generation, to the extent that what finally comes to an individual is a very small farm indeed, too small to improve the family income.
  • Users have no formal methods of cultivation. The reed itself sprouts very quickly soon after harvest and with no care fills the creek or pond again.
  • Craft group members can hardly make enough money to buy twine for weaving.
D. The COREP Project

Rationale

This project is based on the rationale that, within the subsistence context, the welfare of the larger part of the population of Agbeve depend mostly on the women farmers (most of whom are also mat weavers). This largely draws from the fact that the women feed their families (smallest units) with proceeds from the mat industry.*

Objectives and output

  1. With establishment of a Group fund and the introduction of seed fund by EEIU-GHANA-REDEF, the craft group has leased some reed ponds for two or three years.
  2. Individual reed farmers are shown how to expand their farmers and produce quality reeds.
  3. The savings and credit plan introduced a year ago has enabled more members to now access funds, however small. More members have increased their purchasing power and buy more twine to weave more mats for the local market.
  4. The project has presented a number of rolls of twine to the Agbeve group to add to their personal efforts.
E. Outlook

The mat industry has a huge potential for improvement. If we could:

  1. Streamline land ownership rights pertaining to reed areas and go into their large-scale cultivation.
  2. Assist further the local women involved in the venture through improved techniques of cultivation and processing.
The project does not seek to alter or change the traditional and historical method of mat weaving employed by the women in the region. It seeks, however, to help provide a wider outlet for reed production to the over 70% of the women folk who are involved in the mat-weaving industry without having to compromise on the natural resource base of the area.

-----

*EEIU-Ghana-REDEF Participatory Research Study, December, 2003


Report, 28 January 2005 (from REDEF Chair Denis W. Aheto and Mombasa Chair Okeyo Benards)

EEIU Ghana REDEF & EEIU Mombasa Meeting

A memorable occasion it was to have Denis Aheto of EEIU Ghana REDEF with us (EEIU Mombasa) from 9-14 December 2004 in Mombasa, Kenya. The visit was preceded by requests made by Okeyo Benards (Chair, EEIU Mombasa) when he presided over the launching of EEIU Ghana REDEF in November 2003, at University of Cape Coast in Ghana. Issues emerged during the Cape Coast discussions and later at Nsawam where several discussions were held with the REDEF staff and the newly recruited members of EEIU Ghana REDEF. Mr. Aheto's visit was aimed at:
  • Strengthening linkages between the two chapters, either in the form of joint projects, exchange of ideas through distribution of posters, brochures or other forms of communication
  • Furthering discussions on the development of joint proposals that could be jointly marketed for funding and execution. Although note was taken of the great geographical distance between the two countries and perhaps the underlying differences that could have been occasioned by the same great divide, it was strongly felt that this was more of an opportunity than a hindrance, since projects need to be tested not only in gradients of time but also of longitudinal space
  • Discussing the proposed 'EEIU Africa Summit', not only for the interests of EEIU but also to bring on board other ideologies of relevance to the continent, the African persons or representatives of the people and to forge a united and yet capable approach to her problems. These kind of forums, though limited in Africa, have become tools of mobilization towards desired goals and sharing of ideas and experiences
  • Contributing ideas that may be useful in strengthening the operations of EEIU as a body, especially building on the African experience (as represented by Kenya from East Africa and Ghana from West Africa). It was felt that this kind of feedback could be necessary for the continued progress of EEIU global body
From the aforementioned it was suggested that the EEIU Ghana REDEF Chapter pay a visit to Kenya to develop impressions, strengthen this link through involvement of EEIU Mombasa Chapter members and consolidate the few steps already in place or which were just beginning to emerge.

During the five day visit, EEIU Ghana REDEF Chair Aheto was introduced to the office operations of the EEIU Mombasa Chapter, visited the field projects, held discussions with the various project clients (mostly the artisanal fisher folk and community members), addressed the EEIU Mombasa Staff and sampled a little of Kenyan hospitality and scenic beauty. It was highly rewarding to see Aheto speak with the community members and EEIU staff and, above all, make suggestions on possible interventions that could be incorporated within the project mandates and goals. His background as a specialist in rural development and experience in working with rural Ghanaian communities were handy in his rapid conceptualization of the problems and understanding of not only the conspicuous hurdles but also on the underlying hiccups that needed attention.


Report, 13 October 2004 (from Chair Denis W. Aheto)

EEIU-GHANA-REDEF (EGR) REPORT

1. INTRODUCTION

Since its November 2003 launching at the Cape Coast University, Ghana, EGR has made a significant leap forward. The Chapter's primary focus was the Densu River, which serves a large populace in the country, spanning two key regions of East and Greater Accra. Of greatest emphasis was the establishment of Eco Clubs in schools. EGR's environmental outreach programmes are being propagated and enhanced through our young, energetic and talented schoolboys and girls. The organization also sought to bring worldwide attention to some of its activities through international publications. In addition, EGR accomplished work on Rural Enterprise Development and funding for its umbrella groups in some target local communities. Meetings were held to discuss the progress of work done and to chart a path forward in the collaborative initiative of the EEIU-Ghana-REDEF Chapter.


Meeting of EGR Chapter Members, Ghana

2. ENVIRONMENTAL OUTREACH PROGRAMMES

2.1. THE DENSU RIVER
The surface water resources of the Densu basin are used for both domestic and municipal water supplies for the populace in both the Eastern and Greater Accra regions. The Densu River serves the water needs of nearby towns in the Eastern region notably Nsawam, Adeiso, Mangoase, Akwadum and Koforidua, among others. Its mean runoff into the Weija Reservoir contributes an important source of water to people within the Accra and Ga districts in the Greater Accra Region. The uses to which it is put may be categorized into three main areas:

  1. Agriculture: The river is used as a source of irrigation in food production (mainly cassava, maize, vegetables and some fruits). Fishing and livestock production (piggery, poultry and the raising of sheeps and goats) are also carried out with the help of the river.
  2. Manufacturing: This includes food processing such as Gari, stone works (quarrying), sand winning, metal works, brewing, wood processing and some pharmaceutical works.
  3. Services: Water supply from the river is a major support for rail and road transport, industry, schools, clinics, health centres and hospitals in the regions.
The environmental problems created by the above activities have led to certain land-use and water-use problems which urgently need to be addressed. In response to the emerging problems, EGR Chapter embarked on the following activities.

2.1.1 Tree planting
At the headworks of the Ghana Water Company, both Chapter and Eco Club members planted Acacia and Mahogany seedlings supplied by the Green Earth Organisation (an NGO), for to a distance close to three km extending along the main Densu River from Adoagyiri to the main Nsawam township. The Eco Clubs, which comprise school children between 12 and 16 years, watered the seedlings on a rotational basis and cleared the bush along the river.

2.1.2 Environmental Education
Both EGR and Eco Clubs members organized field trips to various local communities along the Densu River. The purpose of the trips was to help the communities appreciate better the importance of the water body of River Densu and how to take care of it.

Specific activities included:

  • The sweeping and clearing of weeds at the various project sites.
  • Advised herdsmen to desist from allowing their animals to drink from or cross the river.
  • Sensitization of motorists about refraining from washing vehicles at the river banks.
  • Farmers were advised to farm a good distance away from the river. Those using pumping machines must not drop fuel into the river.
  • Fishermen were advised not to use DDT and other harmful chemicals to catch fish from the river.
  • Young people washing and throwing soapy water back into the river were advised to stop such practices. Other practices such as defecation along the riverbanks or in the river were discouraged.
  • Among the issues raised by EGR in discussions with rural folk who drink directly from the river was the boiling or filtering of water before drinking.
2.1.3 Catchment areas and target groups
We concentrated our work on the following areas:
  • Under the main Nsawam bridge, extending to the Al Raji Basic School (Adoagyiri-Zongo)
  • Sakyikrom, where people cross the River Densu to Nsawam, through the railway station
  • Djankrom area, along the railway lines to the Zongo Bank
  • Behind the Shell Filling Station at Adoagyiri
  • The Headworks of Ghana Water Company, where water for the Akuapem South District is purified
Inhabitants of these locations were advised to periodically 'preserve' the water body of River Densu; they must not bathe or dump refuse into the water. Also, they must not collect sand along the water courses. Farming along the riverbanks was discouraged due to associated harmful effects to flora and fauna in the river through use of pesticides and herbicides. People were encouraged not to cut trees that protect the river and water sheds, but rather join EGR members in planting trees along the Densu River.

2.2 ECO CLUBS
Our Eco Clubs undertook the following projects in support of EGR activities and within respective schools as outlined below.

2.2.1 PEC School
PEC Eco Club members planted hedges around their school. They produced seedlings and crotons (variegated plants) for home decorations in commercial quantities. They also planted coconuts and checked erosion in and around the school. The only feeder road to the school was maintained regularly with their support. They also cleared the bush at the headworks of the Ghana Water Company and watered the seedlings earlier planted along the Densu River.

2.2.2 Adoagyiri RC Junior Secondary School
RC Eco Club members planted Acacia trees on their campus and graded the roads that linked their school and Asamankese road.

2.2.3 Adoagyiri Methodist School
Members planted trees and checked erosion on their school compound.

2.2.4 Al Raji School
Club members planted bamboo trees along River Densu from the Nsawam Bridge to a distance of half a kilometer.

2.2.5 Ntoaso School
Club members were concerned mainly about cleaning the environment.

2.2.6 Sakyikrom L A School
Club members planted trees and checked erosion on the school compound.

EGR organizes entertainment activities for its Eco Club members after periods of hard work. This is meant to keep the group 'alive' and to use such activities to attract other students to the group, hence increasing the numerical strength of the group while at the same time sending its messages to the wider audience who come to witness such occasions.


Eco Club in a Drumming and Dancing performance

3. SKILLS DEVELOPMENT FOR ALTERNATIVE LIVELIHOOD PROGRAMME

EGR stepped up its outreach projects and started more groups through which it could reach the vulnerable groups mostly found in the rural communities. In addition to Agbeve (South Tongu District) and Darmang (Akuapem South District) groups, we started three other new groups at Yakoko (Suhum Kraboa Coaltar District), Ankwa Dobro, Adoagyiri/Zongo (Akuapem South District) and Adzake (South Tongu District). Group members acquired new skills to add to their traditional work in the crafts, petty trading and farming. Some of these new skills were in bakery, batik, tie and dye, bead-making, food and vegetable preservation.


EGR staff Mr. Daniel Okyere raising brick from mould

To complement our skill development initiatives and to enhance the smooth take-off of those newly acquired skills, EGR supports some of the groups financially through its microfinance programme. The microfinance project is mainly based on a micro-enterprise savings and credit programme in some of the project areas. It has been our long cherished desire to be able to support a people who have been disadvantaged materially and once started, we have been working to place seed monies (however small those may be) into various accounts belonging to the groups to increase their saving power. Details of the 'Susu' or savings and credit plan are available for the purpose of this report; the following groups have benefited from our small credit programme.

LocationMembershipGranted Number of Credit
Agbeve414
Yakoko258
Adoagyiri/Zongo381
PEC School Community154
Total13118

4. REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH RESEARCH PROGRAMME

The period under review is acclaimed successful with the acceptance of a joint text in the Journal of Health Policy, put forward by the Ghana EGR chair and Dr. Kwame Gbesemete (currently of the Swedish International Development Agency, SIDA, and formerly of the Department of Rural Development Studies, Swedish Agricultural University, in Sweden). The manuscript (forthcoming), is based on 'Rural perspectives in Ghana on the level of condom acceptance in sexual relations, willingness to test oneself for HIV before and in marriage and sources of information on HIV/AIDS'. It also compares policy approaches to combating HIV/AIDS in the communities. Of particular relevance is the comparative analysis of the Ghanaian situation to that of Thailand. The two case studies addressed from the Ghanaian perspective were taken from EGR project areas in Daman and Adoagyiri.

5. CONCLUSION AND OUTLOOK

Within the mandates of our institution, we expect to improve on our contacts with regulatory bodies and raise more funds to consolidate our programmes. We hope to improve our mobilization strategies to attract more people into our organization as well as engage more resource people to train groups in quick-yielding ventures to supplement income from traditional occupations and break long seasonal fallow periods as well as improve on saving habits.


EGR staff in a participatory mapping exercise for the Reproductive Health Programme in Daman


Pictures, posted 12 February 2004 (Chair Denis W. Aheto)

EEIU Ghana REDEF Launching, November 2003: Captured Moments

Conference participants

Workshop session with Mr. Abina, Regional Populaton Officer, NPCS, Koforidua, Ghana

Workshop session with Mr. Aheto, Chair, EEIU Ghana REDEF

Workshop session with Mr. Okeyo, Chair, EEIU Kenya/Mombasa

Workshop session with Mr. Zakari, Central Regional Director, EPA, Cape Coast, Ghana

Presentation of certificate to Ms. Ophelia Dapaah, conference participant,
by Mr. Peter Grant, Lecturer, University of Cape Coast


Report, 02 February 2004 (Chair Denis W. Aheto)

REPORT ON THE LAUNCHING OF THE EEIU — GHANA CHAPTER (EEIU-GHANA-REDEF) AT THE SASAKAWA CENTRE, UNIVERSITY OF CAPE COAST, CAPE COAST, GHANA

DATE: Mon. 17th — Wed. 19th November 2003
THEME: Eco-Ethics: Building a New House for Humanity

==============

Introduction
The new Ghana Chapter (EEIU-Ghana-REDEF) was launched during a 3-day 'Environmental Ethics' conference that brought together 20 participants, all EEIU members, drawn from the Eastern and Central regions of Ghana. Also in attendance was Mr. Benards Okeyo, Chair of EEIU-Kenya/Mombasa, Staff of REDEF, representatives of the National Population Council of Ghana (NPC), representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Lecturers, Staff and Students of Cape Coast University.

The purpose of the 3-day conference was to enable participants to:

  • understand the place of 'Eco-Ethics' within the Ghanaian context and to chart a path for our Chapter
  • obtain knowledge needed in Environmental Advocacy & Ethics (role of human population within the environment discourse)
  • attain necessary skills in Environmental Ethics initiatives (fundraising principles etc.)

==============

Welcome Address by EEIU-Ghana-REDEF Chair, Denis W. Aheto

Mr. Chairman, Representatives of the National Population Council of Ghana, Representative of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Staff of REDEF, Chair of the EEIU-Kenya Chapter, members of EEIU-Ghana Chapter and invited guests, I am deeply honoured by your presence today for the launch of our Chapter here in Cape Coast. I am very pleased we have been able to found a local Chapter of the Eco-Ethics International Union here in Ghana.

The Ghana Chapter, which was formed in Germany at the beginning of this year, has been embraced in Ghana by a flourishing membership. I am particularly grateful to Prof. Kinne, President of the EEIU, for his initiative in coming up with the laudable idea of 'eco-ethics', which sets out to provide a global platform for a deeper reassessment of current human-environmental interactions through international networking. To Mary Batson, the international coordinator, under whose able leadership a network of Chapters has grown beyond imaginable dimensions addressing various issues within the environment discourse, but with a common purpose that relates to the challenges we face in the sustenance of our ecosystems as well as our common survival.

We are also grateful to have in our midst the Chair of the Kenya Chapter, Mr. Benards Okeyo, who has traveled all the way from Kenya to be with us today. I would also like at this juncture to acknowledge the important role played by PD Dr. Broder Breckling, Lecturer/ Researcher at the Institute for Environmental Research and Technology (UFT), Universität Bremen, Germany and George Morara, a colleague and friend of the Kenyan Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), Kenya, who have been instrumental in making the Ghana EEIU-REDEF Chapter a reality.

Mr. Chairman, the activities of our Chapter are carried out by the Rural Entrepreneur Development Foundation (REDEF), a non-profit organization headquartered in Nsawam. Our EEIU-Ghana-REDEF collaborative activities cover issues related to reproductive health, skill development, microfinancing and research on related issues. We believe these are central initiatives that can help mitigate poverty and the wanton over-exploitation of our flora and fauna in Ghana.

It is true that environmental degradation has undermined basic environmental services such as water supply, caused declines in health conditions and ecosystem productivity and eventual loss of livelihoods. Long-term considerations such as the sustainability of the natural resource base have become less important.

Currently we run a number of modest projects: Our Foundation school at Darmang, in the Eastern region, is one that has become a beacon of hope for many children and has brought relief to many parents. Our microfinancing project in Agbeve in the Volta region has enabled some women involved in the mat-weaving industry to stand on their own feet. Yet others are yet to be started — plans are underway towards the construction of our office complex that will house a mini conference/seminar room, library, and guest rooms among others. Finally, I would like to congratulate the staff of REDEF — Mr. Moses Edison, Mr. Daniel Okyere and Ms. Grace Amponsah, whose untiring efforts have made this launching a reality. Thank you all for coming!

===============

Address by EEIU President, Professor Dr. Otto Kinne (Headquarters, Oldendorf/Luhe, Germany)
Read on his behalf by EEIU-Kenya Chair Mr. Benards Okeyo

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, Colleagues and Friends,

Welcome to the launching of EEIU Ghana Chapter, EEIU Ghana REDEF, in Cape Coast, Ghana! I very much regret that I am unable to attend in person, as does Mary Batson, coordinator of Union affairs. We applaud the activities of the EEIU Ghana REDEF Chapter and are grateful to all those who initiated, planned and organised this important meeting. We are pleased that the Chair of another very active African EEIU Chapter, Okeyo Benards, is present. Both the Kenya/Mombasa Chapter and the Ghana REDEF Chapter have significantly contributed to the worldwide success of our Union. I sincerely thank the Chairs and Members.

EEIU is growing rapidly. It now has 72 Chapters in 66 countries, close to 1,000 Members and 95 Fellows — a remarkable progress story considering the fact that the Union was founded in 1998, i.e. only 5 years ago. And these numbers increase almost daily.

The founding sponsor of EEIU, Inter-Research, offers wide global visibility to all EEIU Components. In October 2003, for example, "Summary.net" recorded 738,999 hits by 83,964 visitors residing in 166 countries.

The Union welcomes local initiatives and local diversity assembling under a global umbrella of unifying overall concepts and theses. Local views can be of great importance for the development of global perspectives. In fact, local uniqueness of history and religion is a treasure: a document of human evolution and the principle basis for appreciating the complexity of human thought and conduct.

EEIU concepts and theses have not only turned out to effectively articulate our new worldwide ethics construct, but they have also been able to attract people with widely diverging histories and ethical as well as religious backgrounds. I consider this a most promising foundation for improving inter-human relationships and for increasing human willingness to accept responsibilities for the rapidly growing severe impacts of Homo sapiens on its fellow creatures and the prerequisites for their well-being and survival. Thus the EEIU has become a center of hope and light in the midst of increasing hopelessness and darkening perspectives for a better world.

EEIU Chapters like those in Ghana and Kenya are growing into powerful instruments assisting in building a new house for humanity!

=================

Speech by Okeyo Benards, M.Sc., Chair EEIU-Kenya Chapter, 18 November 2003

The Chairman, Guests, Government officials, Colleagues and Participants, JAMBO!!

I am very happy to be here in Ghana today, the land of such renowned Africans as Kwame Nkrumah, Kofi Annan and Denis Aheto. Yes! It's an African calling to visit a neighbour before you can pretend to speak his language.

I am delighted that today, the 18th of November 2003, we are officially launching the birth of EEIU-Ghana Chapter. A Chapter that is second in Africa after the Kenyan Chapter. A Chapter that I somewhat inspired its formation. A Chapter whose leadership is in the able hands of my long-time friend Denis Aheto and his beloved colleagues.

I and Denis share a lot in common: our educational backgrounds which trace back to having been students of marine and coastal ecology at Universität Bremen, Germany, our inspiration for a united African approach to ethical exploitation of African resources, our dream of a people who are mindful of their actions to the environment and our actions in mobilizing persons from all walks of life to participate in environmental actions that could assist in restoration of ecological integrity especially in the African continent. Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you in this walk!

In the pursuit of achieving the above goals, we yield to the premise that 'a good idea gives birth to even a better idea' and I want to request you to get involved in the formation of an EEIU-African Summit. This summit is intended to act as a platform to share gains made by various African Chapters, the challenges, and to compare experiences as modified by our highly heterogeneous nationalistic boundaries. As we say in the Masaai language, 'The young man who stood atop the mountain was only able to see until he went over the valley that he was able to talk with neighbours downhill'. We do not only want to 'see' (know) our problems, but we also want to get to discuss them and brainstorm on how to solve them together if that be the way forward. I assure you that in this togetherness, you find a willing partner in the EEIU-Kenya Chapter.

Ladies and Gentlemen: before I come to a close, allow me to express the gratitude of our EEIU-Kenya Chapter to the Ghanaian officials, members and institutions for their help and understanding in the institutionalization of this Chapter and its effort to realize some of their objectives. We hope and request that this help continues as this new Chapter is moulded. I must also mention the support of EEIU head office, especially the help of Prof. Dr. Otto Kinne (EEIU President), the mentor and scholar behind the whole worthy concept, Mary Batson (EEIU Coordinator), who has been very supportive and vital in the incorporation of this Chapter. Also worthy of mention is PD Dr. Broder Breckling of Universität Bremen (a thesis supervisor of Denis and myself), who gave instrumental impetus for the launching of this Chapter here in Cape Coast.

I wish the launching, in its entirety, fruitful hours of success in its objectives. Thank you! Ahsante sana!

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Keynote address by Special Guest of Honour, Mr. Paul Djan, Regional Director, National Population Council Secretariat (NPCS), Cape Coast, Central Region

Mr. Chairman, the importance of this workshop on 'Environmental Ethics' cannot be overemphasized. For this reason, I am happy to be associated with this organization. Every Ghanaian would wish to have an environment that is not over-exploited. But how do we achieve this? This calls for a great deal of environmental responsibilities on our part (ethics).

Sand winning, illegal mining activities, improper disposal of waste, uncontrolled bush burning, deforestation, and pollution leading to eventual loss of lagoons and beaches with the consequent loss of their productive value as sanctuaries for wildlife, birds and spawning places of fish are all examples of environmental problems we face in Ghana today.

Addressing Ghana's environmental priorities therefore requires a concerted approach on many fronts. It is linked with broader developmental concerns such as poverty and diseases including HIV/AIDS among others. Interventions are required from a multi-sectoral perspective, including international, national, and regional as well as local levels. It is in this regard that we have the responsibility as a people in working hand in hand to solve the myriad environmental problems confronting today's humanity.

Mr. Chairman, Ghana is party to a number of international conventions which deal with the environment. Nonetheless, I concede that there is still a lot that we as a people need to do in this area — we need to step up our public education efforts on issues pertaining to environmental ethics.

We need to reject any acts of environmental degradation, enact and enforce existing laws that are effective enough in deterring people from trampling on our well-cherished environment. We need to overcome certain cultural, traditional and societal barriers that hinder efforts to live in harmony with nature.

There is also the need for constant and systematic advocacy and lobbying at the community, national and international levels, if we are to make meaningful headway in this direction. I therefore call for a strong and close collaboration between government and non-governmental organizations such as the Eco-Ethics International Union, yet to be launched today. We want to be able to harness all our human resources for our national development. In this light, our media also have a crucial role to play in this direction, and in conscientising people on how we can help live in harmony with our environment.

Mr. Chairman, it is with the above issues in mind that I consider a workshop such as this, which seeks to impact knowledge and information, and particularly on 'environmental ethics', a very opportune one indeed. It is my hope that the 3-day workshop will not only educate the participants but will also impart the necessary skills and knowledge needed for your work. Thank you.

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Other Remarks

"When I was asked to chair this ceremony, I quickly glanced at the address of the organization. I was impressed to note that the organization is located at Adoagyiri, Nsawam, and very close to the rural folks for that matter. I say this because location is very important when it comes to issues such as your organization seeks to address i.e. balancing individual interests and that of our natural heritage, which is our environment for that matter. To this end, I see your organization as a credible organization."

Chairman for the Occasion, Mr. Kofi Manu
Lecturer, Department of Agricultural Extension, School of Agricultural Economics, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana

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"Despite the various interventions — policies, research and mechanisms in place, adequate care has not been taken to safeguard our resources. There is the need to reverse the trend through effective coordination and networking with organizations such as yours. It is for this reason my organization is prepared to collaborate with you."

Mr. Francis Mbawini Zakari, Central Regional Director
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Cape Coast, Ghana

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"I feel honoured and privileged to be with you this morning. The relationship between 'population' and the 'physical environment' has been recognized from time immemorial. However, the desire to survive puts undue strain on resources that eventually lead to outright destruction and disruption of the ecosystems. It is for this reason that organizations such as the EEIU are needed to promote high-level advocacy for environmentally friendly policies, which will help preserve our rich natural resources for the future use of our children's children."

Mr. Kofi Abinah, Regional Population Officer
National Population Council Secretariat (NPCS), Koforidua, Ghana

===============

In conclusion, the following constitute key points of the various workshop sessions based on deliberations among participants, resource persons and invited guests:

  • The need to overcome certain cultural, traditional and societal barriers that hinder efforts to live in harmony with nature. To this end, we need to step up our public education efforts on issues pertaining to environmental ethics
  • Enhancing constant and systematic advocacy and lobbying at the community, national and international levels, if we are to make meaningful headway at preventing environmental degradation
  • The need for a strong and close collaboration between government, other NGOs and Eco-Ethics International Union-Ghana
  • Our media also have a crucial role to play in conscientising people on how we can help live in harmony with our environment
  • A concerted approach on many fronts must be used to address Ghana's environmental priorities as it is linked with broader developmental concerns such as poverty, and diseases including HIV/AIDS among others
===============

Resource persons

  1. Mr. Benards Okeyo, EEIU-Kenya Chair, Mombasa, Kenya
  2. Mr. J. O. Aheto, Board Chairman, REDEF, Nsawam, Ghana
  3. Mr. Kofi Manu, Lecturer, Department of Agricultural Extension, School of Agricultural Economics, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana
  4. Mr. Kofi Abinah, Regional Population Officer, National Population Council Secretariat (NPCS), Koforidua, Ghana
  5. Mr. Francis Mbawini Zakari, Central Regional Director, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Cape Coast, Ghana
  6. Mr. Paul Djan, Regional Population Officer, National Population Council Secretariat (NPCS), Cape Coast, Ghana

Other Dignitaries in Attendance

  1. Mr. Peter Grant, Lecturer, Department of Classics, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast
  2. Mr. Peter Nana Ako, Assistant Project Officer, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Cape Coast
  3. Mr. Harrison Golo, Senior Research Assistant, Department of Religious Studies, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast
  4. Mr. Peter Amedjake, Physics Department, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast
  5. Mr. Adjei Beifi, Assistant Population Officer, National Population Council Secretariat (NPCS), Koforidua

Funding
Financial support for the conference was provided by REDEF. We are grateful to Mr. Benards Okeyo, Chair of the EEIU Kenyan Chapter, for funding the full cost of his trip to Ghana.

Special Acknowledgement
Our utmost appreciation goes to the management of the Sasakawa Centre, University of Cape Coast, for providing our team and invited guests with a serene environment — accommodation and conference facilities that enhanced smooth deliberations. We are particularly grateful to the catering staff for their excellent services during our time at the guest house.


Letter, 27 September 2003

From: Denis W. Aheto, Chair, EEIU Ghana REDEF, Ghana
To: Mary Batson, EEIU Coordinator, Headquarters, Germany

Dear Mary,

We received with joy the EEIU flag. It's really beautiful and we'll be erecting it very soon. Meanwhile, preparations for our launching are on with lots of excitement all around us. Plans for putting up permanent offices for REDEF, from where we'll carry out our EEIU-Ghana activities are underway. The plan, which includes offices, library & a conference/seminar room that can accommodate 50 people, is being worked on at the moment. We'll keep you updated.

Hi Marianne, good work done. We appreciate your efforts at making us receive the elegant EEIU flag. Thanks once again.

Best wishes,

Denis

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Response, 30 September 2003

Hello Denis,

Glad to hear that the flag arrived safe and sound, and that you're so pleased with it — I thought it was rather attractive myself, but then, I'm a little biased! :D You've got such exciting plans, with the launching and offices — amazing! Great that you'll be able to start off with these resources, it is a blessing that unfortunately not many of our Chapters are in possession of — but working towards. Very exciting!! It is always helpful and encouraging to have a central location from which to officially labor.

Well, Denis, keep me posted. Kirsten is working on your brochure as one of her top priorities, so hopefully we'll have something ready to go online in the next couple of weeks.

All the best, Denis, and a very nice afternoon,

Mary


Report, 9 July 2003

EEIU Ghana Chair visits Headquarters

On June 5th EEIU Headquarters was honoured by a visit from EEIU Ghana REDEF (EGR) Chair Denis W. Aheto. The agenda included the November launching of the EGR Chapter and details of the venue, participants, and workshops scheduled during the conference, the Chapter's future development plans, and the production of an EGR brochure. Denis also brought the welcome news that one of REDEF's ventures had recently located a new funding source.

A petition was also tabled for a computer for the new Chapter. Although the EEIU was unable to fulfil the request, Prof. Otto Kinne, EEIU President and Director of the Inter-Research Science Center (IR), agreed to this donation to the Chapter from IR. The computer, a Sony laptop, was ordered and just arrived this week. Chair Denis Aheto is sure that this assistance will greatly assist the efforts of the new Chapter!

Many thanks to Prof. Kinne and Inter-Research for the generous donation, and congratulations EEIU-Ghana-REDEF — you are on your way!


Coordinator Mary Batson, EEIU Ghana REDEF Chair Denis Aheto, EEIU President Prof. Dr. Otto Kinne


Discussing Chair Aheto's plans for the official launching of EEIU Ghana REDEF


Letter, 5 July 2003

From: Denis W. Aheto, Chair, EEIU Ghana, Bremen, Germany
To: Prof. Otto Kinne, EEIU President, Headquarters, Germany

Dear Sir,

I write to acknowledge receipt of a new SONY notebook computer ordered by Inter-Research for my chapter (EEIU-Ghana-REDEF). On my own behalf and on behalf of the membership of my chapter, I wish to thank you and Inter-Research for funding the full cost of the computer, to what we believe will go a long way to enhancing our EEIU-Ghana activities both in Ghana and abroad.

Thank you once again.

Yours truly,

D. W. Aheto


Report, 4 March 2003

EEIU Ghana Chair visits Headquarters

On March 3, 2003, I had the honour of visiting EEIU Headquarters (HQ) at the invitation of Prof. Otto Kinne, EEIU President, and Mary Batson, EEIU Coordinator. My time at HQ was significant in many ways. First, it gave me the opportunity to meet most of the Inter-Research (IR) staff and enabled me to familiarise myself with the other activities of IR and its globally affiliated institutions other than EEIU. A two-hour lunch meeting followed at a nearby restaurant. The agenda: "Discussion of Activities for the EEIU Ghana Chapter through the new EEIU-Ghana-REDEF collaboration for the period 2003".

It was agreed that during 2003 our focus will be on environmental ethics in the inland and coastal regions, with emphasis placed on publicity, advocacy on Eco-Ethics principles and a membership drive in four of the ten Regions of Ghana (Eastern, Volta, Central and Greater Accra). A number of strategies were identified for publicity and advocacy, including meetings and workshops with experts from universities, other environmental institutions and NGOs, decision-makers, civil society, and media and the development of an EEIU Ghana Eco-Ethics hand-out/leaflet. In addition, the main highlight of the year will be the launching of the EEIU Ghana Chapter.

Key activities were outlined for the weeklong launching: an opening ceremony and capacity-building workshops for volunteers on environmental ethics, among others. I used the opportunity to invite Prof. Kinne and Mary to Ghana for the opening ceremony due to take place in November 2003. Other options were explored for the possibility for Bernard Okeyo, EEIU Kenya Chair, to attend the opening ceremony in the event that Prof. Kinne or Mary cannot participate. It was concluded that activities for the year shall form a basis for identification and location of a proposed EEIU Ghana project, to be initiated in Ghana in early 2004. A number of possibilities were discussed for the coasts of Ghana.

At the close we were convinced that the meeting was tremendously successful, as a good working relationship had been established. On behalf of Prof. Kinne, Mary reiterated the EEIU's support for the EEIU Ghana Chapter through the EEIU-Ghana-REDEF collaboration.

D. W. Aheto


Letter, 1 February 2003

From: Prof. Otto Kinne, EEIU President, Headquarters, Germany
To: Denis W. Aheto, Chair, EEIU Ghana, Ghana

Dear Denis,

It is a pleasure for me to read your letter and to know of your noble involvements. Welcome to the Union and best wishes for realising your plans! Mary Batson and I look forward to cooperating with you. Wherever possible we are prepared to assist in your endeavors.

Warm regards and best wishes,

Otto Kinne


Letter, 28 January 2003

From: Denis W. Aheto, Chair, EEIU Ghana, Ghana
To: Prof. Otto Kinne, EEIU President, Headquarters, Germany

Subject: EEIU Ghana Chapter

Dear Prof. Kinne,

I wish to use this opportunity to thank you for the opportunity granted me to chair the Ghana Chapter of EEIU. I accept this honour with all humility, and also with a hope of a long-lasting relationship that will see our common goals come true in Ghana and perhaps the rest of the world.

The tenets of EEIU will be carried out in Ghana in collaboration with the Rural Entrepreneur Development Foundation (REDEF), a non-profit development organisation working in Ghana. REDEF aims to reduce poverty, disease and ignorance, espeically among women in rural areas through its Skill Development, Micro-financing, Family Planning and Reproductive Health programmes.

As the new Chair of the EEIU Ghana Chapter and founding member of REDEF, I wish to briefly outline how the objectives of EEIU will be implemented and accomplished through REDEF Ghana. We in REDEF heartily welcome this idea, as we see the theses of eco-ethics central — or perhaps the most important — to our course in REDEF. This is due to the following three reasons:

  • Firstly, eco-ethics is a good interdisciplinary approach to understanding the matrix of relations between our societies and the environment. It makes us aware of social and cultural meanings attached to our ecosystems, as well as other important conceptualisations that destabilise the balance between 'nature' and 'nurture'.
  • Secondly, 'environmental crisis' emerges against a background of vulnerability, threat and risk of species, including our own, Homo sapiens. Environmental problems are global in scope, though not necessarily global in origin, and therefore the idea of global environmental consciousness makes sense. For us in developing countries this is a great concern.
  • In the light of this, 'global environment' should be discussed alongside 'global economy'. Just as global economy creates a global network of socio-economic relations between distant places and people through globalisation, likewise the global environment expresses another aspect of interdependence of distant people and places (Barry 1999).

It is on the basis of these issues among others that we feel compelled to add an additional component based on eco-ethics theses, through which our environment and humanity can be preserved. Thank you once again for the opportunity granted us in this noble cause.

Denis Worlanyo Aheto
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Reference: Barry J (1999) Environment and social theory. Routledge introductions to environment series. Routledge, London


Letter, 28 January 2003

From: Denis W. Aheto, Chair, EEIU Ghana, Ghana
To: Mary Batson, EEIU Coordinator, Headquarters, Germany

Subject: Welcome to the EEIU

Dear Ms. Batson,

Thanks for the appointment as the Chair of the Ghana Chapter. I'm pleased to accept this. I also look forward to a rewarding experience with you and the EEIU.

Accordingly, I'm in the process of developing a brief statement of issues to be looked at in Ghana for the webpage. I'd appreciate if you send a copy of all your publications to my address here in Germany -in English- for further study.

Later, we can proceed to send some more to REDEF and my colleagues in Ghana for study. I'd also outline some plans for the Ghana Chapter for this year, for your information in my next mail. Your input will be very much appreciated. Expect this tomorrow. Have a nice day!

D. W. Aheto

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