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24.12.2004 Regional News

Ho Catholic Church promotes environmental project in Municipality

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Sokode-Gborgame, (V/R), Dec. 24, GNA - Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church of the Catholic Church at the Ho Diocese has initiated a 74,000 dollars environmental project to promote biodiversity conservation and eco-tourism in the Sokode and Akrofu traditional areas in the Ho Municipal area.

Sponsored by the UNDP under its Small Project Grant of the Global Environment Fund, (UNDP-GEF/SPG), the project would focus on activities to promote the restoration and conservation of about 100 hectares of degraded land in the area, typified by sand winning and annual bus burning.

Launching the project, Right Reverend Francis Lodonu, Bishop of the Ho Diocese of the Church, said the project was in fulfilment of the Diocese's 20- year-old plan of helping the people of the area, to make sustainable use of its natural resources.

Bishop Lodonu said it is the policy of the Diocese to help improve and conserve the environment of its host communities as a social and religious obligation.

He therefore, appealed to landowners to release land for the project, which successful implementation would bring invaluable benefits to the area.

Bishop Lodonu said tree planting, forest and land conservation were vital for human survival and warned that elsewhere people died out of dehydration and excessive heat from the sun due to lack of vegetative cover.

Sister Cecilia Afari, Co-ordinator of the project said it would involve sustained environmental awareness campaigns and development and application of alternative sources of livelihood to all segments, especially the youth and women in the project area. Sister Afari said the project would also seek to build local capacities for the restoration of biodiversity and sustainable management of natural resources, restore degraded lands, improve soil fertility and conservation practices with a view to developing the eco-tourism potentials of the area.

In an address read on his behalf, Mr George Orstin, National Co-ordinator of GEF/SGP observed that, most Non-Governmental (NGOs) and Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) find it difficult to prepare suitable proposals in the GEF/SCG focal areas.

He said for every 10 proposals submitted for financial support "only one may have been well formulated".

Mr Orstin said there was need to improve and strengthen the capacities of NGOs and CBOs in that direction so that the country could draw more assistance from the global fund.

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