The Deputy Minister for on Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI) and MP for Asokwa, Mrs. Patricia Appiagyei has commended members of the Gbele community in the Gbele Resource Reserve for their understanding to be relocated to a new place known as New Gbele.

Deputy Minister, ESTI, Mrs Patricia Appiagyei on the viewing platform in the Reserve

She said they have really done well to reason with the plan that we have to resettle them.

Mrs.  Appiagyei made the commendation at New Gbele resettlement camp soon after the inspection of a dugout constructed for the community awaiting their movement of there.

The inspection formed part of communities and site visits of the Sustainable Land and Water Management (SLWM) Project in the Upper West Region.

In write-up, GBC’s Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo says Mrs.  Appiagyei advised that, the people affected by the resettlement should not just look at one aspect of  their livelihood, but to also explore the possibility of  adding on to things that are not in existence in their new community by creating what she termed more opportunities through innovation and creativity in order to have diversified products to live on.

She spoke about governments commitment in respect of the relocation of the Gbele community, saying I see that efforts have been done [made] to ensure that at least, where we are resettling them, the natives of Gbele, area is well secured with a dam where they can have a year-through activities for their animals and also for farming and that is the whole essence of the project that is being undertaken through the Sustainable Water and Land Management Program [Project].

Mrs. Appiagyei pledged that she will visit the project sites in September this year (2019) to see how the projects are shaping up. When I return here, what I want to see is a full grown [vertiva] grass around the dugout wells and dams and I will want to see that we have adequate water that can last the entire community for the year, she averred.

The Deputy Minister described the engagement of communities as one of the high points of the visits the project sites. One other thing that has even emerged is the engagement of the communities for them to realize their own ecosystem and what has to be done to ensure sustainability.

And I think this is something that we need to appreciate and urge people on to uphold sustainability by accepting what they have and live with it and make a living and not just a token living but improve on their lot, she emphasized.

The Park Manager of Gbele Resource Reserve, Nana Owusu-Ansah briefed the visitors, about efforts to resettle the Gbele community outside the Reserve at a location known as New Gbele.

He said the community (Gbele) by virtue of its location has been within the Resource Reserve since its creation in 1975 and attempts have been made to resettle the people.

Nana Owusu-Ansah explaining a point to the visiting officials on the viewing platform in the Reserve

Nana Owusu-Ansah told the parliamentary select committee members, board members of EPA and Mrs. Patricia Appiagyei that 250 thousand Ghana Cedis funding has been secured in respect of the resettlement.

He stated that 27 households have been penciled to move to New Gbele where 120 rooms and a mosque had been built.

The Park Manager was very grateful to Dasima, the  community playing to host to those to be resettled for releasing land to that effect. Nana Owusu-Ansah observed that the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission and its allies are extending the necessary courtesies to the land owners towards securing and finalizing documentation in connection with the land that had been released.

He was hopeful that the eventual movement of the people to New Gbele will take place in first quarter of 2020 as planned.

The members of the delegation were on the viewing platform to check scenery in the Reserve from that elevation.

Three political enclaves, Sissala East Municipality, Sissala West and Daffiama-Bussie-Issa Districts are hosting the Gbele Resource Reserve.

Story by Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo

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