Fifty-two students of the Junior Division of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College led by the Assistant Commandant and some members of staff embarked on an environmental study tour and research work in the Western Region from Sunday 23 to Friday 28 September 2108. The objective of the environmental tour was to assess some current topical issues and government policies in the Western Region of Ghana with a view to identifying challenges and proffer possible solutions to them.

The group visited 5 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies during the study tour. The Assemblies visited included Sekondi-Takoradi Metro, Shama District, Nzema East Municipality, Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality and the Mpohor District Assemblies.

STUDENTS AT THE SEKONDI TAKORADI METROPOLITAN ASSEMBLY

The four thematic areas which the students researched on were:

  1. In December 2010, Ghana became the latest African nation to join oil-producing nations with a lot of excitement and a promise of job opportunities and economic boost. However, barely a decade after the oil discovery, its negative impact is beginning to be felt on the livelihoods of fishing communities around the oil enclave. Fishermen have been banned from fishing within 270 nautical miles around the oil rigs owned by Tullow-Ghana. As a result, fishermen have to travel far away from the shores into the deep sea for their catch. This situation has increased their expenditure on premix fuel used for powering their fishing boats, leading to reduced income. Suggest measures to be put in place to mitigate the adverse impact of oil production on fishing and fisher folks who are among the poor around the oil enclave.
  2. The discovery of oil in the Western Region of Ghana was greeted with great optimism. Due to the great optimism associated with the discovery, exploration, and production of oil, there is the continuous movement of people into the region. This has led to some consequences on the socio-economic lives of the people. The consequences may have affected employment, income, cultural practices, housing, education, environment, health and well-being, individual rights as well as property rights among others. Examine the likely positive and negative implications as a result of the oil find, and enumerate measures to mitigate or address these effects in the Region.
  3. Around one-third of Ghana’s gold is mined in artisanal and small-scale mines locally called galamsey, and exported at a trade value well above US$1 billion per year. It is assumed that thousands of children work in Ghana’s artisanal and small-scale gold mines in hazardous conditions, despite both Ghanaian and international laws prohibiting hazardous child labor. Children suffer numerous health consequences from mining work among others. The issue of artisanal and small-scale mines is a complex problem that requires action from all stakeholders. Critically assess the impact of small-scale mining on children in the Western Region and the way forward.
  4. The quest for a fair and/or equal representation of both male and female in decision-making processes in governance for sustainable development has been trumpeted for years. However, the results in the Ghanaian context have not been encouraging. The records indicate that female representation at the District level appears to be unacceptably low. Examine the nature of women’s representation and participation in the District Assemblies in the Western Region and recommend ways of improving the situation.

On the 1st day of the tour, the Team paid courtesy calls on the Garrison Commander at the Sekondi Naval Base and Nana Kobina Nketsia V, the Omanhene of the Essikado Traditional Area.

On Days 2 & 3 the students were divided into 2 sub-groups with each group visiting 2 different Assemblies.  Team A visited Nzema East Municipal and Mpohor District Assemblies while Team B visited Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipal and Shama District Assemblies.

Students were briefed at the Assemblies visited and also had the opportunity to interact with some locals to ascertain at first-hand how government policies are impacting on them.

STUDENTS AND STAFF OF TEAM B AT THE NZEMA EAST MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY

TEAM B WITH MCE AND MEMBERS OF THE NZEMA EAST MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY

TEAM B ON THE RIVER ANKOBRAH BRIDGE NEAR NZELEZU

ASSISTANT COMMANDANT WITH THE MPOHOR DISTRICT ASSEMBLY DCE AND STAFF

STUDENTS OF TEAM A AT THE MPOHOR DISTRICT ASSEMBLY

STUDENTS INTERACTING WITH SOME LOCALS IN MPOHOR

On Day 4, the whole team visited the Takoradi Harbour, 2 Infantry Battalion and after that debriefed the Regional Minister at the Regional Coordinating Council.

AT THE TAKORADI PORT

ASSISTANT COMMANDANT INSPECTS QUARTER GUARD AT 2 INFANTRY BATTALION

STUDENTS AT 2BN OPERATIONS ROOM

TEAM AT 2BN HEADQUARTERS

On the whole the Junior Division Course 70’s Regional Environmental Study Tour was a big success. The students will do an oral presentation of their findings and later submit a final report for onward submission to the General Headquarters for the necessary action.