Ghana is one of the world’s top 10 gold producers and first in Africa. As such, the mining industry is one of the major driving force in terms of government revenues and a leading source of export earnings. It also offer employment opportunity for people, both direct and indirect.
Unfortunately, it is also considered to be the major contributor of human rights violation, widespread of pollution of communities’ water sources, deprivation of communities, loss of livelihoods and major promoter of environmental injustices in Ghana (CHRAJ Report, 2008).
Some scenes from the awareness creation
As a result, Environmental Youth Ambassadors (EYA), Sunyani based Association led by Mr. Kyeremeh Evans – Leader,embarked on vigorous awareness and environmental sensitization campaign in the mining affected communities within Tano North Municipality in the Ahafo Region of Ghana. The said area is affected by Newmont Ghana Gold Limited,Ahafo North gold mining project.
The campaign touched on the deprivation of communities and communities’ farmlands, loss of livelihood, pollution of water bodies, dust and noise pollution, high cost of living, increase in unemployment, hardships, loss of indigenous plants and animals and other forms of social-vices.
The campaign took place in Yamfo and Afrisipa, two of the major mining affected communities in the area and adopted the use of community fora and community information center as an appropriate strategic to reach all the relevant stakeholders and opinion leaders in the area. The people were sensitized about the need to document every decision and agreement they reached with the company, engage in regular monitoring of the company’s activities and frequent consultation of experts’ opinion.
Over three thousand (3000) community people within the mining affected areas benefited from the program with about 65% of them being women. Women are the most dependence of the environment: food, water, firewood and other natural resources and so when the environment is affected by activities such as mining their vulnerability and shocks get augmented.
Environmental Youth Ambassadors (EYA), is a Sunyani based Association comprising youth in the various universities who live Sunyanin (male and female) who have come together to promote community rights and environmental justice. The project was financed by the Global Greengrants Fund in USA.