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EU-LEAN project achieves significant milestones in environmental restoration and Livelihood Empowerment

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Joseph Edwin Yelkabong, the LEAN Project Manager with World Vision Ghana, has highlighted the organization’s efforts and achievements in implementing the LEAN project across various landscapes in Ghana.

The Landscapes and Environmental Agility Across the Nation (LEAN) project is funded by the European Union and implemented by World Vision Ghana in the Savannah landscape, EcoCare Ghana and Tropenbos Ghana in the Transition, and Rainforest Alliance in the High Forest Zone.

The project is a four-year initiative aimed at biodiversity conservation, improving livelihoods, and reducing emissions from land use across three key landscapes in Ghana: the high forest, transition, and savannah landscapes.

Mr. Yelkabong detailed the various initiatives under the LEAN project, implemented in the Savanna landscape under World Vision Ghana, which include the establishment of nurseries producing seedlings, Service for Transformation (S4T) groups, and the distribution of logistics to support these groups.

“We have established eight nurseries that are producing seedlings of different species for community members to plant. We have also set up 60 S4T groups equipped with necessary logistics to pool their capital and borrow from there to improve their lot,” Yelkabong stated.

He spoke to the media during a verification visit to the project areas in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region by stakeholders and partners involved in the project. The purpose of the visit was to ensure that the reported achievements are genuine and to gather feedback for future improvements.

He touched on the broader goals of World Vision Ghana, emphasizing that the project’s ultimate aim is to ensure children experience life in all its fullness. “By supporting vulnerable families and enhancing their livelihoods, we expect to indirectly benefit the children in these communities. Our mission is to support families so that children can grow up in a better environment.”

The LEAN Project Manager with WVG expressed his satisfaction that “the stakeholders are resonating with what has been communicated in our reports.” Abena Dufie Woode, the Consortium Lead and Senior Project Manager at Rainforest Alliance, has praised the project’s progress and impact over the past four years.

Speaking during a site visit, Madam Abena highlighted the numerous accomplishments funded by the European Union, including environmental restoration and livelihood diversification initiatives.

“The LEAN project has done exceptionally well since it started. With EU funds, we have set up two landscape management projects and seven boats in the savannah landscape, along with eight tree seedling nurseries, each with a minimum capacity of 10,000 trees,” Dufie explained.

She said the project has raised and distributed over 700,000 seedlings of both native and exotic species. According to her, these seedlings have been allocated for restoration purposes to shareholders, stakeholders, the Forest Services Division, and the Forestry Commission, contributing significantly to the Government of Ghana’s Green Ghana Day initiative.

For livelihood improvement, Madam Dufie stated that the project has trained over 500 beneficiaries and provided set-up kits to over two-thirds of them in areas such as beekeeping, aquaculture (raising catfish and tilapia), vegetable farming, pig farming, and small ruminant keeping. “These initiatives were tailored based on needs assessment studies conducted within the communities,” she asserted.

The LEAN project has the Farmer Managed Natural Resources (FMNR) concept implemented in communities such as Navio-Samwo and Banyonu, where community members are trained to protect the environment by pruning unwanted shrubs of already existing trees to restore the fast-depleting forest without necessarily planting new trees.

“Before the concept of this initiative, we had a bare land, and the place would have been burnt instead of the green environment. We recorded one rain, but you can see that the environment looks green,” Frederick Wugaa Awovire, a beneficiary, testified.

Another beneficiary, Vivian Adawuna with the Village Savings and Loans company, said, “My colleague and I have been living happily with our husbands since the introduction of the initiative because some of us have helped in paying our children’s school fees and can now contribute to the family upkeep.”

The EU-LEAN project, a $5 million initiative, which was expected to kick start in November 2020, officially started in May 2021 and is expected to end in October 2024. Despite losing six months due to COVID-19, the team remains optimistic about achieving their targets.

Source: A1Radioonline.com|101.1Mhz|Joshua Asaah|Ghana

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