As part of the MoCCPA project implementation process, community engagement is a vital. Selected communities undergoing the MoCCPA project get the opportunity to learn, interact and ask questions concerning the project and CFI as well.
For this reason, all fourteen communities selected from the two (2) Hot Spot Intervention Areas (HIA) were visited. Seven (7) communities in Juaboso and seven Atwima Mponua HIA.
The motive behind the visit was to meet the whole or a great number of the community members, introduce the CFI and the MoCCPA project to them, sensitize the about its importance, necessities, contributions and what should be expected from the community.
Communities within juaboso was first visited and those in Atwima Mponuah followed. The visits were done in the mornings and evenings. This strategic move was adopted because all the communities are farming communities and are always engaged during the day on their farms. We decided to visit some communities very early in the morning before they set off to their various farm and others to visit them late afternoon when they have returned from the farms. This was very helpful in getting the community members to partake in the meetings.
In every community visited, a prior notice was sent by the project officer to inform the community of our coming. Once the team arrives in the community, another announcement is made at the information center to inform the people of our arrival. A courtesy call is made to the chief of the community to inform him about the meeting and to sort his permission before the meeting can take place.
A meeting place is suggested by the elders and opinion leaders in the community for the meeting. The team sets up the place and waits the arrival of community members. Once the number of community members present is encouraging, the meeting then commences.
Videos about deforestation, afforestation, Cocoa and forest initiative (CFI) are shown to member’s present. During the video presentation, an officer from EcoCare speaks to the video and gives more insight, explanation and interpretations to what is been showed. This made it more fun, exiting, educational, interactive and participatory. During the presentation, the video is paused for more education and explanation so community members can better grasp and understand what they are watching and what’s been said.
After the presentation the community members took turns to ask questions, raise concerns and make very valid inputs about the CFI and MoCCPA project. Some of the questions bothered on why their cocoa farms don’t yield like they used to, questions about tree tenure, when the CFI implementation process will begin, etc. Some community members also raised issues about farm equipment’s and fertilizers for farming. Others also spoke about illegal loggers in the forest reserves. Some community members were of the view that if the forestry commission could employ some community members as forest guards, it will go a long way to help protect the forest from illegal loggers since they live in the community and they are very close to the forest reserve. All communities visited showed keen interest in the CFI and MoCCPA project because of the benefits they will derive from it and the benefits the entire community and country will also get.