ghana: raising awareness among children on mining’s negative impacts
To counter this, Friends of the Earth Ghana developed awareness-raising materials and workshops, to provide students and teachers with information on the draft Mining Policy, in line with the aspirations of local communities and sustainable development.
what happened: FoE Ghana organised target groups, carried out preliminary consultations, and developed awareness-raising materials for schools and workshops. They also formed a team of mining policy experts. The workshops and materials reached more than 3,000 school children in southern Ghana, with students and teachers discussing the issues and engaging in national mining policy debates.
what is changing: Community response to the programmes has been very positive, as gauged by evaluation forms. Students were made aware of the Ghana’s draft Mining Policy, as well as the wider negative impacts of mining on the environment, health, food security, human rights and livelihoods. FoE Ghana received several letters from community leaders asking them to organise similar programmes in their communities, and feedback from school teachers was positive.
This work also strengthened FoE Ghana’s campaigns at the community level, and stimulated wider participation in policy discussions around mining’s impacts in all segments of society. FoE Ghana continues to be a key player in a coalition against destructive mining practices. This coalition, led by Foe Ghana, has made a proposal to amend the mine and minerals law to make it more human-centred.
There is also increased recognition among policy makers about the work of Friends of the Earth International and FoE Ghana, and two foundations have expressed an interest in funding their mining campaign work.
what we learned: The project has strengthened FoE Ghana’s ability to produce reading materials for school children in order to enhance their campaigns.
However, this project faced a significant challenge, given that mining’s contribution to GDP and foreign exchange causes it to be seen as an important sector which generates employment. Countering the mining companies’ well-funded public relations campaigns, which are directed at mining communities, added to this challenge. Furthermore, the limited documentation on human rights abuses forced FoE Ghana to be very careful with its facts in public presentations.
what next: The project has generated a great deal of technical information that will be fed into the Friends of the Earth International mining campaign, as well as the gender and mining programme. FoE Ghana would like to help FoEI develop a brochure on the story of mining and its impacts in Ghana, perhaps to serve as an African case study on mining practices.
with thanks to our funders: the dutch ministry of foreign affairs