The World Bank is supporting and sponsoring so many projects in Ghana at the moment with the aim primarily to improve the livelihood of the people, help eradicate poverty and in the end ensure that Ghana achieves middle income status.
One such project is in Apedwa community which falls within the Akim Abuakwa traditional area of the Eastern Region.
The World Bank says it is very pleased and impressed with the people of Apedwa for giving their money a chance to do something good for Ghana with the High Forest Biodiversity Conservation Project.
The President of the bank, Paul Wolfowitz speaking after a visit to Apedwa during his recent country tour said the World Bank is happy with the approach being taken to preserve biodiversity and particularly thanked the women who are mainly involved in the business for their commitment to the project.
He also noted that there is a high demand for mushrooms in the rich nations, a case for the project managers to consider export of their produce to the international market.
The World Bank is supporting the Apedwa community's High Forest Biodiversity Conservation Project with a grant of US$8.7M through the Global Environment Facility under a broader component of the Natural Resources Management Programme of the Ministry of lands and forestry.
The Project has various components including project coordination & administration, site preparation & management and alternative livelihoods investment fund (which is being implemented under the name Community Investment Fund).
According to the WB President what the people of Apedwa have done with the community investment fund in the areas of mushroom cultivation, snail rearing and others, has ended the fears and risk which some of his colleagues had in giving money to support community based developments.
The apprehension he explained is because people in the communities lack the skills in managing money, but on the contrary it has turned out to be a risk with a high reward because they got US$2 for every dollar they gave out.
The community is also involved in business groups otherwise known as village level or rural enterprises in the cultivation of mushroom, piggery, small ruminant production, oil palm production and snail farming.
Minister for lands and forestry Professor Dominic Fobih in his contribution said government would do its part to find a ready market for the Community's products, especially the hotel and other West African countries.
Finance Minister Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu also conveyed his delight that government's policies are working and encouraged the people not to give up and continue to work hard.
The CIF was officially launched in august 2005 with an amount of US$2.53 million with the aim of supporting forest-fringe communities dwelling in the close proximity to Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas to engage in sustainable, eco-friendly business activities through the provision of a micro credit facility.