The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), with support from Mondelēz International, have trained 250 newly elected executives (including 75 women) of the Ayum-Asuokow Community Resource Management Area (CREMA) in the Brong Ahafo Region, to enhance their skills on effective natural resources management.
The new executives are from 36 different communities that constitute the Ayum-Asuokow CREMA, which is being supported under the project entitled "Environmentally Sustainable Production Practices in Cocoa Landscapes (ESP II)".
The capacity development programme, followed recommendations by community resources managers during a recent National Policy Dialogue on how to strengthen CREMAs in Ghana. The 4-days training focused on key topics including community mobilization for effective natural resources management; leadership skills; fund raising; and stakeholder engagement. It aimed to enhance the capacity of the new CREMA executives to be able to function independently and effectively in managing their communities' natural resources. The capacity development programme is expected to equip the CREMAs to continue to carry out their mandate of conserving their community resources after the implementing partners end their projects and exit the communities. This has become necessary as most CREMAs usually become ineffective or collapse after projects implementers leave the communities.
In addition to the capacity development programme, the project implementers also donated a motorbike and office equipment / logistics including a desktop computer, a 3-in-1 printer, and rims of paper to the CREMA. This is to facilitate stakeholder engagement across the 36 communities without relying on external support.
Representing the Paramount Chief of the Mim Traditional Council, Okofrobour Dr. Yaw Agyei II, at the handing over ceremony were two sub-chiefs, Nana Baffour Awua II and Nana Afia Serwaa, who thanked the project implementers for the donation. Similarly, the Chairman of the CREMA Executive Committee, Mr. Daniel Amponsah Gyinayeh, expressed appreciation on behalf of the CREMA. He said:
"we discussed this possibility some time ago, but we didn't expect this to happen so soon. We are grateful to UNDP and Mondelez International Cocoa Life Program for this. We will put it to use as we continue to build a strong community landscape management system to facilitate the sustainable use of our natural resources".
The CREMA concept was adopted by the country as a collaborative and inclusive natural resources governance and management framework. It aims to phase out exclusive conservation practices, to recognize and foster local community participation and responsibility in the conservation of natural resources in Ghana.