Restoring forest landscapes through ecotourism in Ghana

The Ghana Dedicated Grant Mechanism is issuing grants to help communities undertake sustainable small-scale initiatives that contribute to landscape restoration, sustainable forest management, and to help the people adapt to the impacts of climate change. In Duasidan, the Ecotourism and Development Committee is using the grant to revamp the monkey sanctuary and restore the forest landscape.

Chief of Duasidan observing a monkey at the sanctuary

Local authorities in Duasidan, a forest-fringe farming community in the Bono East region of Ghana, have enhanced the protection of over 60 acres of forest lands by strictly prohibiting farming, hunting and timber logging to develop its monkey sanctuary into a booming ecotourism site.

Home to hundreds of Campell’s mona, spot-nosed and Olive Colobus monkeys, Duasidan is one of 53 local communities where Solidaridad is implementing the Ghana Dedicated Grant Mechanism (Ghana DGM) project. With an ecotourism potential, Duasidan is receiving small grants from the project to undertake initiatives to help develop the ecotourism potential of the monkey sanctuary and restore degraded forest landscape. 

The Ghana DGM project has equipped the community with knowledge on responsible actions that help to combat and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The project provides a small grant to enable the community to put the knowledge into practice by investing in climate-smart activities. 

Enhancing the ecotourism prospects of the Duasidan Monkey Sanctuary

The Ecotourism and Development Committee, a community-based organization in Duasidan, is one of nine organizations that have received grants under the Ghana DGM project to undertake sustainable small-scale initiatives to contribute to landscape restoration, sustainable forest management, and to help the people adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The Committee is utilising the grant to revamp the community monkey sanctuary. So far the Committee has planted over a thousand ceiba, mansonia, mahogany and frake trees to restore lost vegetative cover in the sanctuary. This aside, the Ghana DGM project is also facilitating the committee’s access to fruit trees, which will serve as food for the monkeys. 

Duasidan Chief and members of the Ecotourism Committee observe monkeys at the sanctuary

“We are very happy that the Ghana DGM project has provided us with different tree species to plant in our sacred sanctuary. Most of the communities around us have lost valuable forests through bush burning and illegal logging. Protecting the forests in Duasidan means safeguarding the monkey sanctuary, from which we can derive long-term economic benefits. And that is why I have dedicated more forest land for this purpose,” says Nana Oppong Kyekyeku Ababio, chief of Duasidan. 

Engaging the whole community to battle climate change

Commending Solidaridad for the training on climate change, the chief says every community member is now aware that when they plant more trees in the forest and on their farms, they can help fight climate change and the harsh weather conditions affecting their crops.

Solidaridad is working closely with the local authorities, traditional rulers and management of the monkey sanctuary to implement an action plan that seeks to enhance the outlook of the site and formalize its operations to increase patronage. There are also plans in place to create a variety of activities to excite patrons, such as hiking trails and walkways. Moreover, tree species of economic and socio-cultural values would be labelled, and an office and a guest reception area will be set up. All of these would be complemented by increased publicity working in partnership with the media.  

The project is facilitating strategic collaborations with the Ghana Tourism Authority, the Game and Wildlife Authority, and other relevant stakeholders.

The monkeys get an afternoon snack.

Highlighting the socio-economic benefits the community stands to gain from a revamped monkey sanctuary, the Chairman of the Ecotourism and Development Committee, Mr Joseph Peprah Marfo, says a functional tourist site will provide multiple income-generating activities for the women and youth in the community. He notes that the support from the project aligns with the community’s long-held dream to become one of the best ecotourist sites within the Bono landscape.

Solidaridad, under the project, has also provided training in group development and cohesion, financial literacy, records keeping, advocacy and lobbying, leadership and alternative livelihoods for members of the committee to enable them to manage the facility and sustain the support received from the project.

Member of Parliament commends Dedicated Grant Mechanism

Mr. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, the Member of Parliament for the area, who is also Ghana’s Minister for Health, has lauded the efforts of the Ghana DGM project towards revamping the Duasidan Monkey Sanctuary.

The revamp will not only unleash the sanctuary’s enormous tourism potential but will help preserve the natural habitat of the monkeys, which is sacred to the people.” – Mr. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, Member of Parliament

He assured the team of his preparedness to provide the needed support to complement the work of Solidaridad in his constituency. 

The Ghana Dedicated Grant Mechanism for Local Communities project, which is funded by Climate Investment Funds through the World Bank, is aligned with Solidaridad’s sustainable landscapes and climate innovations, which are mainstreamed in all programmes to build the capacities of farmers and local communities to adapt to climate impacts. 

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