The Volta River Authority (VRA) has empowered students of the five senior high schools (SHSs) in the Asuogyaman district of the Eastern Region to become ambassadors of the environment. The objective is to create awareness, protect and advocate for biodiversity.
As part of activities by the organisation to show commitment to the ‘Green Ghana Day’ initiative by government, the VRA partnered with Ghana Education Service (GES), Forestry Commission and Asuogyaman district assembly to establish an environmental club for the students, plant trees in the five schools, and provide resources to maintain and ensure sustainability.
The environmental club will among other things empower students to speak boldly about the environment’s relevance with the wealth of knowledge they will be provided, engage in activities that will safeguard plant and animal life, and protect water-bodies in the district and beyond.
The five schools included Akwamuman, Apeguso, Anum Presby, Boso and Adjena SHS, and were provided guidance to plant a total 3,000 trees on the five campuses and given the task of caring for them; maintaining and ensuring survival of at least 90 percent, if not all.
Chief Executive of the VRA, Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, in a speech read on his behalf by his deputy on the theme of this year’s observation, ‘Our forest, our health’, stated that the country is at a critical point in history – when the forest reserves face unprecedented threats such as deforestation, unsustainable land use practices and climate change, presenting immense challenges to the environment’s integrity and sustainability.
“It is therefore incumbent upon us to preserve the biodiversity and ecological services our forests provide. We are passionate about the ‘Green Ghana Day’ as it underpins our efforts to green the entire catchment area of the Volta Lake, spanning over 60 political districts, to sustain hydro power generation,” he said.
He mentioned further that while the national average tree survival rate over the past two editions stood at 71 percent, that of the over 2,600 seedlings planted by the VRA is 96 percent – showing the pragmatic efforts initiated to ensure survival of the trees this year will not be different.
On his part, the acting Director, Environment and Sustainable Development-VRA, Ulysses Ocran-Hammond, emphasised that that the Green Ghana Day initiative has become an important activity on the VRA’s calendar because of its role in contributing to environmental wellness and protection.
He added that greening Ghana requires a holistic approach, and as such partnerships are relevant; hence the decision to engage the Ghana Education Service, district assemblies and other key stakeholders to protect the forest and environment. “Let’s see the theme as a call to action as our environment is the one thing all of us share,” he concluded.
Forestry Commission representative Faustina Aba Anita commended VRA for consistent afforestation projects in the Asuogyaman district and adjoining areas. She added that students are the leaders of tomorrow, hence seeing many of them committed to the cause of protecting the environment is worthy of commendation.
A representative of the Director of Education in Asuogyaman district, Samuel Boadie Addo, emphasised in his address that anything green in terms of creation is very important for nature.
“It is very important to maintain our natural habitat for future generations. Most of the things we use are from trees or plants – from herbal medicine, building, furniture to tissue paper and books for academic and office use. Therefore, it is important to replenish and protect whatever has been lost and recover the land,” he said.
Beyond the official Green Ghana Day initiative, he urged students and the general public to embark on personal initiatives to plant trees, grow food crops and anything green in their backyards and surroundings.
The colourful opening ceremony was graced with a heartwarming cultural performance by the Anotewaa Cultural Troupe of Akwamuman SHS.