Grant helps CIKOD to conserve sacred groves in the face of gold mining threats

Source: Peter Lowe

The Centre for Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Organisational Development, CIKOD in Ghana has been awarded a grant from the New England Biolabs Foundation, NEBF, in support of their community conservation efforts of sacred groves in North West Ghana.

CIKOD’s Mission is to strengthen the capacities of communities through traditional authorities (TAs) such as and local institutions to utilize their local and appropriate external resources for their own development and for future generations. This way CIKOD facilitates sustainable grassroots organizational development that gives voice to the poor and vulnerable rural families and in this case especially the Tindansup, the custodians of the sacred groves. See the Tindansup and hear him speak of his role in this video produced by Peter Lowe for CIKOD in partnership with COMPAS.

As part of an on-going collaboration between CIKOD and the Sacred Natural Sites Initiative the project assists the custodians of the sacred groves of Tancharra community with developing a strategy for the conservation and documentation of the biological and cultural heritage of the community.

The custodians and other key community members will hold workshops and make learning visits to other communities where sacred groves are being protected and conserved. They will learn from conservation practitioners and explore the tools and guidance developed by them. Data on biological and cultural diversity will be kept in the community and the project will contribute to the development of free and prior informed consent agreements and a protocol for documenting and storing and use of this information.

Sacred groves are an important part of the spiritual life of the Tancharra community. They are looked after by their custodians Tindansup. The sacred groves also provide medicine and safe harbours for biodiversity in an environment under pressure from development and mining. Source: P. Lowe

The work will form a natural extension of CIKOD’s involvement in the region which initially focussed on human well-being and natural resource management and sustainable use of biodiversity. Later CIKOD focussed on developing Biocultural Community Protocols (BCP) to secure equitable access and benefit sharing of the sacred groves and their biodiversity.  A BCP is a community statement on the traditional and contemporary use of a communities natural resources. It outlines as an approach to affirm the community’s rights and conditions for access and benefit sharing in relation to their traditional knowledge and sacred groves in the face of threats from gold mining.

Bern Guri, CEO of CIKOD states that “After CIKOD’s work on sustainable use and the access and benefit sharing of natural resources it would be logical to explore the conservation options for the regions sacred groves together with the Tindansup”.

The mining company Azuma Resources Limited was granted permission by the Ghanaian government to mine for gold in the region. The consequences of their mining activities jeopardise the community’s sacred groves but also impact on their farm lands and water sources. CIKOD has been building capacity in the affected communities to enable them to defend their lands from these  undesired impacts of mining. Read more about this in CIKOD’s  Site Conservation Experience or follow this link to a news article in COMPAS Endogenous Development Magazine.


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