Report from RAN Ghana: The Struggle for Gua Koo Forest Reserve & Sunkwa Stream

Written by Debra

Topics: Frontline Communities

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This report comes from John Akwetey with RAN Ghana.

Since the colonial time, the Indigenous people of Pokuase have depended on their Forest reserve, more than any other Indigenous group in Ghana. Everything about the Pokuase, including their cultural, rituals and portable drinking water, had been influenced by the rainforest. However, in the last years since corporate developers first moved to the area, the Indigenous people of Pokuase had suffered from various diseases through the contamination of their stream, forceful repression for trying to protect their forest reserve and lack of support in their struggle.

In the past, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized the unique value of Pokuase culture and the Gua Koo forest reserve by declaring that the Pokuase “have long rich history of their natural environment, as evidenced by their strong tie with the Sunkwa stream.”

RAN Ghana members with Pokuase youth

RAN Ghana members with Pokuase youth

Our visit, in July 2009, came just weeks after some private developers had started clearing and destroying the forest reserve and had threatened to repress any resistance by the Pokuase people. Shortly after our arrival, the representative of the Indigenous people said “We get our drinking water from this forest. The forest was in existence since our ancestral generation. We need to protect it for our children and their fourth generations.”

The survival of the Pokuase hinges on their ability to gain control of and sustainably manage their own traditional territory. To support the Pokuase’s struggle for Gua Koo Forest reserve and Sunkwa stream, RAN Ghana carried out an assessment, met with the traditional authority and the Indigenous people and also educated the community at a forum. RAN Ghana is also strategizing campaigns to organize with the Pokuase to keep encroachers away, build the capacity of the traditional authority and youth to protect the forest, institute environmentally friendly alternative projects and demarcation of the forest reserve.

RAN Ghana members visit a portion of the destroyed and cleared Pokuase forest reserve that the Indigenous people are struggling to protect

RAN Ghana members visit a portion of the destroyed and cleared Pokuase forest reserve that the Indigenous people are struggling to protect

RAN Ghana's John F. Akwetey speaks at the Pokuase forum

RAN Ghana's John F. Akwetey speaks at the Pokuase forum

You can stay in touch with RAN Ghana by joining their Facebook group.

3 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. julia farrell says:

    thank you for caring for the forests and their peoples.i am learning a lot from your website……………very best success to you all,cheers,julia

  2. Nii Kwatei Olemla 1 says:

    The real owners of the Gua Koo the Kpakpatse We Royal family are now wide awake and will do everything possible to preserve their forest which has been a stool Land since the year 1654AD. So encroachers be warned.

  3. Kpakpatsewe Royal Family of Asere, Gua We the sole custodians of the Gua deity and war stool as well as the rightful owners of Gua Koo through their ancestor Nuumo Gua Koi who made his abode in this sacred forest during the reign of Queen Dodi Akabi in the sixteenth century wish to caution all those claiming ownership to this treasure to beware of their actions.

    And as Nii Kwatei Olemla l; the Djaasetse of this noble family have already said we are now wide awake and in view of this, I wish to add that we are on the war path to reclaim our lost heritage from all imposters who have taken possessions of them without any authorization.

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