Effective management of natural resources can be achieved when communities obtain significant economic benefits from managing their natural resources. The Community Resource Management Area (CREMA) initiative in Ghana provides a practical opportunity for local communities to economically benefit from managing their resources sustainably. The Additional Livelihood Support Scheme of the Enhancing Natural Forests and Agro-forest Landscapes (ENFAL) Project holds a major potential for local communities to receive economic support for their engagement in the CREMA initiative.
Also, achieving a successful implementation of the additional livelihood scheme requires the active involvement of the CREMA communities in the development of the scheme. Failure to seek the concerns and interests of the potential beneficiaries can lead to limited success for the livelihood scheme. Hence, a two-day consultative meeting was held with the leadership of all eight Community Resource Management Committees (CRMCs) of the Juaboso District CREMA to obtain information on which livelihood venture(s) the constituent communities are interested in.
Prior to the workshop the CREMA leadership met with their respective communities to seek inputs on which livelihood venture will be suitable for them.
This report therefore, provides details on the two-day consultative workshop that took place at Juaboso in November, 2018.
To identify the most preferred additional livelihood options for the Juaboso District CREMA.
The two-day consultative workshop took place in Juaboso on 14th and 15th November, 2018 in the Juaboso General Hospital Conference Room. There was a change in venue for the workshop since the Church of Pentecost needed their auditorium for an emergency meeting. The workshop was attended by 86 participants (62 males and 24 females) from the eight CRMCs as well as a Chief and Queen Mother from Juaboso (Annex A). The workshop was facilitated by Sampson Mensah of the Rural Support Network with support from Abigail Frimpong and Henrietta Asiedu of Conservation Alliance.
The workshop began with an opening prayer by Mr. Thomas Nkuah from JAH CRMC. There was also the introduction of participants as well as facilitators of the workshop. Henrietta Asiedu of Conservation Alliance shared the purpose of the workshop which was the seek information on the preferred additional livelihoods of the Juaboso District CREMA. The workshop was also to obtain information of previous and existing additional livelihoods in the CREMA. The essence of this was to derive key lessons for the success or otherwise of the previous interventions so as to better the chances of the planed livelihood scheme to be successful.
The CRMC members were tasked to meet with the respective communities to discuss their preferred livelihood options and present the agreed livelihoods at the workshop. All eight CRMCs reported that they had held the community meetings with Chiefs and members of their constituent communities thus the responses recorded in this report are the agreed suggestions of the entire Juaboso District CREMA. The list of communities engaged by the CRMCs is provided in Annex B for more information.
The participants were asked about previous and existing additional livelihoods in the CREMA and they reported on three main interventions. The first was an European Union funded project which promoted bee keeping in communities within the Yobourpri CRMC (Antobia, Kutosaa, Amadukrom, Nyamebekyere and other neighbouring communities). According to the participants from that area, the intervention was saddled with challenges hence, it was not very successful. There was a weak management structure for the intervention and also, beneficiaries were not committed to the objectives of the program. Again, there was weak monitoring by the project and thus beneficiaries were not motivated to work as expected.
There was however, the example on livelihood interventions in the area of beekeeping and grass cutter rearing by Rainforest Alliance and soap making by World Vision respectively which participants reported as successful. The interventions of the two organisations benefitted from clear directives on what is required of beneficiaries as well we periodic monitoring by the project implementers. The grass cutter rearing intervention by Rainforest Alliance is however, reported to be having some challenges of dishonesty from some beneficiaries who are selling out their grass cutters before their maturity as agreed on. The beneficiaries were expected to allow their grass cutters grow to maturity and give out an agreed number to other persons to also rear however, this schedule is not working.
The participants were of the view that when interventions are given to individuals with monitoring duties from the group, it works well. However, when groups of persons are given items for instance bee boxes to manage with communal labour, there is little commitment since no one gets to own the direct responsibility of managing the items and this has great tendency for failure.
The participants also shared that during the time of the year between the main cocoa season and the light crop season, some farmers engage in maize, plantain, cassava, rice and vegetable farming however, the greater majority engage in virtually no economic activity. Those that engage in food crop farming do it on a subsistence scale and it is only to support house hold food needs. This brings about a hike in financial hardships which causes most community members to engage in illegal resource use like illegal mining, and draining of water bodies for fishing. Hence, when the project supports the provision of additional livelihoods most of these illegalities may go down and as expected. The additional livelihood intervention will further motivate the CREMA communities to adhere to the provisions of the CREMA constitution and significantly contribute to the realisation of the objectives of the CREMA initiative in the area.
The participants were grouped into the eight CRMCs and tasked to list the various livelihood ventures as agreed in their community meetings which took place before the workshop. Presentations were made by each CRMC after the group work. Several livelihood options including bee keeping, grass cutter rearing, mushroom farming, soap making, tree nurseries, rabbit rearing were listed. Table 1.0 provides the list of the suggested livelihoods.
preferred livelihoods of the Juaboso District CREMA
In a plenary discussion the participants were engaged to rank the first five preferred livelihoods and the list included;
- Bee keeping
- Tree nurseries
- Soap making
- Grass cutter rearing
- Snail rearing
The reasons for selecting each of the five livelihood options was obtained and that included;
Bee keeping according to the participants, require little capital and labour. Again, the honey, wax and its other products are high value products with a matching high local and external demand. Also, the bees will serve as pollinators for their farm and that can help increase their farm productivity and increase their income. The honey is both food and has medicinal uses thus it is well sought after. Finally, when more people engage in bee keeping, the indiscriminate use of agro-chemicals will be checked since they are well aware that the agro-chemicals could leave residues in the honey and make it unwholesome. This will be a major way of encouraging good agricultural practices which is one of the activities of the CREMA in the area.
Tree nurseries were named the second preferred livelihood venture since a major objective of the CREMA is to promote the replanting of degraded areas thus when they engage in raising tree nurseries they will be supporting the objective of the CREMA. There is also ready market for the tree seedlings in the area through the GFIP as well as other climate change projects which buys tree seedlings from the communities.
Soap making was named the third preferred livelihood option. The participants were of the view that soap is a household commodity which is used on daily basis hence, when they are equipped to produce soaps locally they will have a ready market. Again, most of the raw material for making soaps can be found locally and they will be able to continue production even beyond the project support.
Grass cutter rearing was listed as the fourth livelihood option for the CREMA. This was for reasons that, grass cutters are a local delicacy and thus, has a huge local market. Also, the feeding materials and other items they will need for the venture is available locally hence, will be easy to manage although it is a labour intensive activity. The likely economic returns from the sale of the grass cutters will compensate for the time and efforts required.
Snail rearing was named the fifth preferred livelihood option. This was because the participants believed snail hunting is a major cause of unauthorised entry into protected forest areas which further leads to illegal hunting of wild animals. Hence, when farmers are able to rear snail in their homes and on their farms there could be a significant reduction in illegal hunting in the CREMA.
The participants finally suggested some key selection criteria for consideration which includes;
- Committed CREMA core members with good standing ie. registered, paid dues attends to meetings and other activities of the CREMA.
- Committed persons with enough time to manage a given livelihood venture.
- Persons with integrity who have been honest in similar ventures.
- Non drunkards.
- Harding working persons.
- Persons who are able to keep records even if they have no formal education.
The workshop came to a close after the fruitful deliberations.
Through the discussions the following lessons were learnt;
- There is better management of any livelihood venture when given out to individuals than groups. This is due to the high level of ownership ascribed to the livelihood activity by individuals. When a group is made responsible for a venture there is negligence in most cases and this brings some failure.
- Intensive monitoring is required to ensure that beneficiaries stay committed to the objective of the intervention.
- Women may be much better managers of the livelihood ventures than the men.
The CREMA leadership are enthusiastic about the potential of the additional livelihood support scheme to improve income levels of beneficiary communities during the lean cocoa season and also reduce unsustainable use of natural resources. There will be continual engagement with the CREMA communities to sensitize them on the need to treat the livelihood scheme with all seriousness and ensure it is successful.
- It is recommended that institutions that work on the Additional Livelihood Support Scheme develop and implement strategies to manage the huge community expectations that comes with such interventions.
- Roll out the livelihood support scheme in the shortest possible time, to maintain the interest of the CREMA communities for success.
- Extend the engagement of Rural Support Network to support the sensitization of communities on their role in the success of the livelihood scheme as well as the provision of monitoring and technical support to beneficiaries.
- Facilitate the implementation of the Additional Livelihood Support Scheme in the Juaboso District CREMA.
- Undertake periodic monitoring of activities of beneficiaries of the scheme.