WA, Aug. 31, GNA - The Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD), a non-governmental organisation has, in collaboration with the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs, initiated a special programme to raise awareness on potentials and challenges of gold mining in the region.
This initiative follows the discovery of large deposits of gold in the region as a result of which some foreign mining firms are prospecting for the mineral in some communities.
Mr. Bernard Guri, Executive Director of CIKOD, said this at a workshop on methodologies for working with traditional institutions, assembly members and staff of NGOs operating in the region.
The workshop aimed to strengthen the capacities of the participants to understand and appreciate indigenous institutions to enable them work with them in executing the nation's development initiatives.
Mr. Guri appealed to the Regional Coordinating Council and all the Municipal and District assemblies in the region to initiate a process that would regulate the activities of illegal gold miners (galamsey) as well as any mining company to ensure maximum benefit to the region with minimal environmental degradation.
"If this is not properly regulated the region stands the risk of suffering the serious environmental degradation that is taking place in mining areas in the south."
"Worse still, there is a lot of ignorance about rights and responsibilities with regard to the mining operations that would be carried out in their communities", he said.
Mr. Isaac Owusu-Mensah, Senior Programme Manager of Konrad Adenauer Foundation, sponsors of the workshop, said traditional rulers were community advocates and sources of political, social and economic legitimacy that should not be marginalized in the development process.
He said if there were still problems in carrying out development projects, one way of aiding the process of development was to involve the chiefs and ensure their complete ownership of the process.
"Chiefs know the needs and aspirations of the communities and aspirations of the communities and the appropriate mechanisms of achieving these needs", he said.