Ecocare Ghana Trains 28 Community Monitors
One major stakeholder that can contribute immensely to monitoring activities at the landscape level are the members of the community. As part of forest and community governance, it is the community members themselves who serve as the grass-root stakeholders who benefit or suffer from policies, commitments, national and international action plans etc.
Over the past year’s community members have been left out of monitoring, policy formulation and governance of the forest due to low capacity and knowledge in forest governance. However, they can be very effective if their capacity is built in forest policies and governance through training and technological knowhow to aid them in detecting forest illegalities and monitoring policies at the landscape level.
EcoCare Ghana through their MoCCPA project seeks to monitor the commitments made by government and the private companies in cocoa and forest initiative (CFI). Government and the private companies made about 8 core commitments under the CFI and in order to properly and effectively monitor the commitments, EcoCare Ghana picked 2 community monitors each from 14 project communities from 2 districts namely Atwema Mponua and Juaboso districts.
The community monitors chosen were housed and trained on how to use a mobile device to monitor and report implementation of CFI commitments in their various communities. The training program lasted 3days in Kumasi at Camp martin hotel.
The training began with a refresher on cocoa and forest initiative (CFI) by the lead campaigner for EcoCare Ghana, Mr Obed Addai. He took them through the CFI commitments to remind them of the main reason for the training and what actually they need to monitor in their various communities. Mr Addai took participants through the main components of Ghana’s CSIFM framework (RTM) which comprise of:
- What they are expected to monitor and report (CFI commitments)
- The collecting device (phone)
- Mobile app – Collector forms (data collection)
- Web platform – ForestLink (data analysis)
Mr Addai educated participants about what exactly they are expected to monitor and collect data on. He spoke about why it is important for community members to actively participate in monitoring the CFI and why they should help make the MoCCPA project a success.
He further went on to talk about the mobile application which will be used to in the data collection process called the collector. This mobile app was developed RF UK to help community members report illegalities in the forest to a platform which helps the forestry commission to also know what’s happening in the forest and also tackle the issues. The collector form gives community monitors the opportunity to monitor commitments on the CFI in their various communities. Each participant received a mobile device which will be used to collect and transfer data. The collector App was installed onto each phone with a sim card inside it. Every data collected and sent by monitors is received on another phone which will be processed and transferred to a platform for further analysis.
On the second day, Mrs Patience Olasu took participants through the reporting training again. Each participant was giving a scenario, and with that scenario the individual showed how he or she will collect and transfer information on the incident. This exercise went on and on till all participants got hold of how to report and what exactly to report. She also spoke at length about the do’s and don’ts of a monitor and responsibilities of a monitor. She also addressed concerns and questions raised by participants.
On the last day of the training, Mr Addai spoke about the security protocols, phone handling and taking responsibility for the phone which is serving as a tool to monitor the commitments. Participants shared some concerns and asked questions about monitoring process. Some of the questions and concerns includes:
- James (Sereso) suggested that the forms should include scale adjustments since it was a major issue
- Isaac (Essakrom) asked if monitors can report or send an alert on happenings in nearby communities community
- Nana Kwesi Bennie suggested safety gears should be given to monitors to aid in the monitoring work.