Ghana has one of the largest artificial lakes called Lake Volta. In addition, there are only some smaller lakes in the country and one natural lake. The only natural lake of Ghana is located in the Ashanti uplands, within an ancient meteorite impact crater and is called Lake Bosomtwe. The Ashanti consider Bosomtwe as a sacred lake. According to traditional belief, the souls of the dead come here to bid farewell to the god Asase Ya. Due to the siltation and farming activities in buffer areas around the lake the spatial expansion of Lake Bosomtwe is shrinking. As a result of this process fish stocks are decreasing rapidly, ecosystem services are changing and villagers near the lake are negatively impacted.
The restoration of Lake Bosomtwe
Based on these findings and the fact that Lake Bosomtwe is seen as a sacred lake the Country Unit in Ghana discussed together with stakeholders and based on a needs assessment an innovative concept which involves the restoration of Lake Bosomtwe. The idea behind the concept “Conservation Factory” is to communicate to stakeholders that conservation is a product which is to be manufactured at different tiers and with different players. To empower this idea it is important to conduct campaigns and raise awareness of local residents and stakeholders to understand and appreciate the ecological and economic value of Lake Bosomtwe, particularly the impact on the people living there. It it’s also important to build community capacities and interact with women, men and youth which are living around the lake in a dialogue and reclaim solutions to create a balance between nature conservation and improved livelihood.
Therefore the Country Unit developed an implementation strategy in which they
- aim to build a pedestran path (board walk) with solar lights at night around the lake;
- create for commercial entities that compliment conservation in communities along the path;
- ensure re-forestation of buffer areas of lake as well as degraded hill sides using fast growing indigenous species that can will serve immediate local needs;
- promote Eco-tourism as a conservation tool.
As summary, an implementation of the concept will promote social cohesion, empower community members to appreciate and feel responsible to maintain the lake and the area around to ensure a sustainable environment. In this context it will also encourage community members to generate wealth via commerce and trade while taking care of their environment and while sustaining the conservation buffer areas around the lake. Thus will not just create jobs and improve economic activities, it will also improve livelihood of villagers and ensure a sustainable living.
To find out more about the projects, click on the flags below.